How to be a tourist in the capital from the comfort of your couch.
People from around the world have always flocked to London. Bursting at its seams with history and culture, the UK’s capital is crammed with all sorts of wonderful attractions.
Although visiting is off the cards for the time being, a virtual day out is open to everyone – and you’ll be surprised by how much sightseeing you can do from your living room.
Beginning at the break of day through to the wee hours, we’ve gathered together online experiences for some of London’s most unmissable destinations. From towering skyscrapers to magnificent palaces, beautiful botanical gardens to eye-popping exhibitions, world-class zoos to giant observation wheels… it’s all here.
Rise and shine with the view from The Shard
Get up early and start your day by taking a 360-degree gander at this stunning city from Western Europe’s tallest building. Standing 95 storeys high, there’s nothing like the view from The Shard as the 24-hour time lapse video below demonstrates.
Say good morning to the animals at the ZSL London Zoo
Sitting down for breakfast? It’s also feeding time for the residents of the ZSL London Zoo – including the wild boar piglets shown below. Housed at Regents Park, this is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and home to over 700 species of animals.
Although currently closed, the staff have been posting live streams and videos of animal antics. For example, each morning the goats have still been lining up by their gates in anticipation of visitors, and you can meet Ginny, an adorable baby yak. Plus if you’d like a moment of zen before your busy day of virtual sightseeing gets underway, meander through ZSL London Zoo’s butterfly house and aquarium.
Explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace
Every trip to London should include a stop at a palace – it’s a requirement. With over 400 years of history, Kensington Palace is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Home to royals for centuries, it was the birthplace of Queen Victoria. You can walk in her footsteps through the rooms she grew up in as well as get all the details about young princess’ first morning as Queen below from one of Kensington Palace’s curators.
Spend lunch with TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures Of The Golden Pharaoh
The 150 artefacts from King Tutankhamun’s tomb on display at London’s Saatchi Gallery are a treasure trove of shiny, gold objects – including jewellery and the coffinette that was part of the boy king’s mummification process. Although TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures Of The Golden Pharaoh is currently closed, you can still explore this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition through the taster video below.
Go on a stroll through Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
After being inside a museum there’s nothing better than roaming around outdoors. Explore an arboretum nursery, visit an urban rainforest and wander along an American prairie via Kew Gardens’ virtual hub. The video below will even transport you from desert to tropics and then mountains as you journey through ten climate zones in the Princess of Wales Conservatory – home to every kind of flower, grass, cactus and plant imaginable.
Enjoy afternoon tea at The Savoy
What could be more delightful than sipping a cup of tea from fine china while nibbling on a selection of daintily-filled finger sandwiches, pastries and hot-from-the-oven scones. Right now, of course, you’ll have to settle for making your own sandwiches and buying scones and clotted cream at the supermarket, but after you’ve prepped yourself a luscious little feast sit down and take a peek at what it’s like to be served a traditional afternoon tea at an iconic hotel like The Savoy.
Check out some London Eye candy
Take a spin on one of the city’s most popular attractions before the sun begins to set. The Lastminute.com London Eye is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Discover what it feels like to be in a capsule 440 feet above the River Thames. This giant cantilevered observation wheel revolves slowly, giving you about 30 minutes to appreciate the London skyline from every direction while spying iconic landmarks like Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
See a play at Shakespeare’s Globe
Since you’re already on the River Thames, why not treat yourself to an evening at a world-renowned theatre? A cultural landmark, Shakespeare’s Globe is a modern reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre which was built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, reconstructed in 1614 and then demolished in 1644. After taking a virtual tour of the theatre below, sit back on your sofa and select a recording of a performance of one of The Bard’s plays to stream here.
Chill with a nightcap at The Ritz London
Cap off your day out with a drink from one of the capital’s most glamorous nightspots. The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London hotel is like something from a bygone era. Have a look as head bartender Daniel Stepien whips up one of their signature cocktails (complete with hand-cracked ice and an elaborate garnish), and then try making one for yourself – as it’s time to raise a toast to one of the world’s greatest cities!
Discover more inspiration for enjoying attractions at home as well as planning future days out in our Days In guide.