Lockdown, quarantine, self isolation.... We've lost count of the amount of times we've caught ourselves staring out the window, dreaming of yesteryear (not 2020 but anything before that). Chances are, we aren't the only ones. But just because we can't physically go out and about doesn't mean we have to miss the things we love. There are an abundance of virtual tours of museums, art galleries and palaces that you can dive into. We’ve put our research caps on and collated a list of what we think are the best virtual tours of London's most iconic landmarks. So, buckle up, you're about to get a much needed dose of culture.
The home of Shakespeare's plays, the Globe Theatre and the story behind it are Shakespearean themselves, with extensive roots in English history, a tragic backstory, and representing the mixed bag that is London in the early 17th century. Fast forward a few centuries and the city’s radiant street life, diverse international cultures, and its delight in the play and interplay of languages and what do you get? The setting for a Shakespeare play. The reconstructed theatre on the banks of the Thames offers a virtual tour which includes the theatre itself and also archived theatrical performances.
Instantly recognisable thanks to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament are possibly London's most iconic landmark. Whilst this tour doesn’t include Big Ben, you can still explore some of the most famous rooms and walk around the halls of power in the UK. Discover more about the building's fascinating history as you wander through the Commons, the House of Lords and the lobbies, halls and galleries that make up the Houses of Parliament.
Built by Alfred Waterhouse in 1881, the Natural History Museum is at the heart of London’s Museum Mile in South Kensington. Home for over 100 years to Dippy the Diplodocus, this temple of teaching displays skeletons and fossils alongside temporary exhibitions and expert talks at the Darwin Centre. During the day the museum will be packed to the rafters with school trips; arrive nearer to closing time for a quieter experience. Late night programmes bring the museum alive for adults with silent discos mixed with light learning. The Natural History Museum offers 14 different virtual tours, ranging from their Fantastic Beasts collection to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards to a guided tour by everyone's favourite, Sir David Attenborough!
One of the world’s finest collections of classical and contemporary art, the National Gallery is a Mecca for art lovers. Like so many on this list, a real life visit can be overwhelming, with so much to see and do. With over 2600 paintings to view, the virtual tour of the National Gallery is perfect for those who know the type of art they want to see or genres to explore.
Iconic. Quintessential. Symbolic. It's easy to throw around superlatives these days but those three sum up the Royal Albert Hall perfectly. Celebrating it's 150th birthday in 2021 (happy birthday to you...), it is probably London's most revered and distinguished concert venue, playing host to some of the biggest names in entertainment including Adele, Sir Elton John and the BBC Proms. Step inside the hall, from the comfort of your home, and marvel at the splendour of one of London's truly breathtaking landmarks.
Housed in Parliament Square, visitors can explore this incredible building and some of its most famous features without leaving their home. Westminster Abbey offers up a variety of tours including the history of the monarchy and how the abbey itself was built. You can also do a walk-through tour where you will see the Coronation Chair, the tomb of Edward the Confessor and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You’ll also find podcasts featuring religious services on the site too.
Now this is one tour you can only do online, with the residence of the UK’s Prime Minister off limits to visitors. And before anyone asks... we've checked, we've double checked, we've triple checked but unfortunately we can confirm that you aren't able to meet Larry the Cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.
With this tour you can get a great look inside one of the most famous homes in the world. Look around and discover interesting facts in the Prime Minister’s office, the Cabinet Room and you can even see the Union flag that was taken to the moon aboard Apollo 11!
It's really no exaggeration to say that the Tower of London is one of the most visited landmarks in the UK, let alone the city itself. Rich in history and tradition, the Tower of London is a fascinating place with so much to see. Home to the crown jewels, beefeaters and THOSE ravens, there are plenty of mesmerising stories to be told.
Now, one of the most popular things to do in London as a tourist is a walking tour. There are literally hundreds of options, as you'll discover in these Virtual Walking Tours. Footprints of London are renowned for hosting walking tours, normally in person but in 2020 they took the streets of London to the homes of millions around the world. Well worth a look.
Forget the White House, this really is the most famous home in the world. Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s London residence and is among London’s best known landmarks. Okay, so you won't get to experience the spectacle of the Changing of the Guard, but you can survey the richness of the Palace with this great virtual tour.
We know that no virtual tour will ever fully replicate, or replace, the true feeling of visiting these iconic cultural institutions in person, but that doesn't mean that they can't give you a taste or a sense of what they are like. At Stay Campus London we regularly organise tours for groups of students around these various destinations and if you'd like to know more about one in particular or even how you can attend the school, then feel free to drop us a line.
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