Colombo National Museum
Circled by lawns, the Colombo National Museum is fronted by a statue of Sir William Gregory, the museum’s founder and island governor from 1872 to 1877. Inside, visitors are greeted by one of the museum’s standouts—a large 5th-century statue of the seated Buddha. Spread over two stories, displays chart Sri Lanka’s ancient, medieval, and colonial past with everything from Bronze Age artifacts to coins, weapons, and art and include a library and natural history collections. Highlights include prehistoric cave paintings and the ornate golden throne and crown jewels of Kandy’s last kings.
Most Colombo city tours include the museum, with half-day tours giving time to view the must-sees and longer tours allowing you to explore in more depth. The museum also features on Colombo Jeep and afternoon tea tours for an added dose of fun and local culture.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Colombo National Museum is a must-visit for history fans and anyone interested in Sri Lankan culture.
History buffs should choose a tour that provides two hours at the museum: There’s more than enough to fill the time.
The museum has restrooms, a café, and a gift shop.
How to Get There
The museum stands on Albert Crescent in central Colombo, with its back to Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park). The easiest way to get there is by cab or tuk-tuk—most drivers will know the way. If you’re going by bus, the nearest stop is the Glass House bus stop on Albert Crescent, just a short walk from the main entrance.
When to Get There
The Colombo National Museum is open from 9am to 5pm daily, but closed on public holidays such as full-moon days and Christmas Day. Be aware that many of the exhibition halls are shut around 30 minutes before closing time and last entry is an hour before full closure.
Get the Most from Your Colombo National Museum Visit
If your schedule is flexible, make time to enjoy the museum’s lovely café and gift shop after exploring. Also, take a stroll in the gardens to see their huge banyan trees—their shade will be welcome after touring the non-air-conditioned museum.
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