Best virtual tours of attractions from the UK and around the world
Are your children needing a break from the four walls of your front room? Well how about taking them on a little field trip. But we’re not talking about your usual field trip. We’re talking about virtual field trips.
With many of the world’s major attractions offering wonderful and fantastic virtual tours. These are ranging from taking a sneak peek of Buckingham Palace to the breath-taking views of the Lake District to historical sites to zoo’s and museums.
We have compiled a list of attractions that can be viewed and experienced virtually.
The Louvre: You don't have to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world's largest art museum. The Louvre has free online tours of three famous exhibits, including Egyptian Antiquities.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: The works of Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Jeff Koons, and Franz Marc are just some of the 625 artists whose work are a part of the Guggenheim's Collection Online.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Move at your own pace through the 360-degree room-by-room tour of every exhibit in the museum.
Van Gogh Museum: You can get up close and personal with the impressionist painter's most famous work thanks to Google Arts & Culture.
Getty Museum: Los Angeles's premiere gallery has two virtual tours, including "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry," which is a closer look at food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The Vatican Museum: The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and Raphael's Room, are just some of the sites you can see on the Vatican's virtual tour.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: Madrid's must-see art museum has the works of some of the continent's most celebrated artists like Rembrandt and Dali available online.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Six virtual exhibits are available online from this museum named for the "Mother of American modernism."
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City: Dive into the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico with 23 exhibit rooms full of Mayan artifacts.
British Museum, London: The Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies are just a couple of things that you're able to see on a virtual tour of the museum.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Though the Met Gala was cancelled this year, you can still have a peak at the The Costume Institute Conversation Lab, which is one of the institution's 26 online exhibits.
High Museum of Art, Atlanta: This museum's popular online exhibits include "Civil Rights Photography" — photos that capture moments of social protest like the Freedom Rides and Rosa Park's arrest.
Detroit Institute of Arts: Mexican art icon Frida Kahlo is the focal point of two of the four available online exhibits.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: The Golden Age of Dutch art is highlighted in this museum which includes the work of Vermeer and Rembrandt.
National Museum of the United States Air Force: You can't take a ride in Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential airplane, but you can check it out, in addition to other military weapons and aircraft, online in the Air Force's official museum.
MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art): New York's extensive collection is available for view online.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: The 16 virtual exhibits include a special section on 21st Century Designer Fashion.
Guggenheim Museum, New York An iconic art museum based in the heart of New York. Take the kids on a trip to the Big Apple without leaving Wharfedale & Craven courtesy of Google – click here to enjoy a virtual tour of this amazing institution without stepping foot on a flight!!
Boston Children’s Museum One for the younger kids – great for those as young as 3, this museum is dedicated to the education of children. Take a walk around thanks to Google – click here.
Stonehenge: Virtual tour that offer’s 360 degree views www.english-hertiage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/
Buckingham Palace: 360 degree tours of iconic rooms www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace
Lake District: Various webcams overlooking some of the prettiest scenery www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/webcams-videos-and -photos/webcams/
The Roman Baths: A virtual ‘walk-through’ of the iconic Roman Baths www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthrough
Giant’s Causeway: 360degree panoramic virtual tour www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/features/take-a-virtual-tour-of-the-giants-causeway
The National Gallery: Virtual tour of the rooms and wings https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/virtual-tours
The Cincinnati Zoo: Check in around 3 p.m., because that's the time the Zoo holds a daily Home Safari on its Facebook Live Feed.
Atlanta Zoo: The Georgia zoo keeps a "Panda Cam" livestream on its website.
Georgia Aquarium: Sea-dwellers like African penguins and Beluga Whales are the stars of this aquarium's live cam.
Houston Zoo: There are plenty of different animals you can check in on with this zoo's live cam, but we highly recommend watching the playful elephants.
The Shedd Aquarium: This Chicago aquarium shares some pretty adorable behind-the-scenes footage of their residents on Facebook.
San Diego Zoo: With what may be the most live cam options, this zoo lets you switch between koalas, polar bears, and tigers in one sitting.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: It can be Shark Week every week thanks to live online footage of Monterey Bay's Habitat exhibit.
National Aquarium: Walk through tropical waters to the icy tundra in this floor-by-floor tour of the famous, Baltimore-based aquarium.
Chester Zoo Learning Resources: Bring Chester Zoo straight to your kitchen table thanks to these fun learning resources. Filterable by educational stage, subject and topic, there’s something for every age to be getting along with if you're all stuck inside. On top of lots of live videos already on Chester Zoo's Facebook page, they'll be hosting all-day live virtual tours featuring the kids' favourite animals, so they can enjoy a whole day of animal antics from the comfort of your sofa.
Edinburgh Zoo Cam incredible 24-hour live view of the Zoo! Pick the animal you want to see here
Great Wall of China Visit China’s most famous attraction, considered a wonder of the world, without leaving home! The wall has a 2,000-year history and is over 3,000 miles long – a real spectacle to behold. Click here to take the virtual tour.
West End Musicals The Wind in the Willows West End production is available to stream online for free In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the producers of the West End production of The Wind in the Willows will stream the show online for free, though ask for a small donation that will be given to theatre charities. Based on the classic children’s story by Kenneth Grahame, the musical has a book by Julian Fellowes, music and lyrics by Stiles and Drewe and direction by Rachel Kavanaugh. The piece follows the various characters of the book including Mr Toad, Ratty and Mole, as they follow Toad’s insatiable need for speed. The musical, which opened in June 2017, starred Rufus Hound as Toad, Simon Lipkin as Ratty, Craig Mather as Mole, Neil McDermott as Chief Weisel, Denise Welch as Mrs Otter and Gary Wilmot as Badger.
Icehotel, Swedish Lapland Aurora photography company Lights over Lapland has created experiences for those suffering wanderlust to virtually travel to the Icehotel in Swedish Lapland. The 360-degree videos allow viewers to visit the local Arctic wilderness, meet local huskies and reindeer, go dogsledding and reindeer sledding and even join a Northern Lights hunt.
Jerusalem, Israel Israel is promoting a whole series of virtual tours for armchair travellers, including one that takes you around Jerusalem's most famous sights. Videos have a voiceover tour guide giving more information on the city's holiest places, while 360-degree functionailty makes it feel more like you're exploring. samsungvr.com/view/Wv_0tcndBOG
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland Fancy watching the sun set over these picturesque peaks? You can take a virtual tour of the famous Irish geological landmark, which captures 360-degree views and even has virtual reality headset capability for a fully immersive experience. cliffsofmoher.ie/virtual-visit-tour
Central Park, New York NYC’s green centrepiece is available to tour online. Not only does it show you the sites, it also comes with a guide who talks you through significant events in Central Park’s history as you “travel” from the West 72nd entrance. youvisit.com/tour/centralpark
Ibiza, Spain Ushuaïa Ibiza, an open-air club on the hard-partying Balearic Island, has launched #StayAtHomeSessions – a re-stream of some of 2019’s best DJ sets from Hï Ibiza and Ushuaïa Ibiza, to bring the party atmosphere to the homes of ravers around the world. The first session was launched on 21 March, featuring Solardo, Davide Squillace, Camelphat, Nic Fanciulli and Andrea Oliva. The streaming sessions allow users to invite friends to join them online. More virtual events are also in the works. facebook.com/ushuaiaibiza
Grand Canyon, Arizona There are plenty of pictures of the famed canyon online, but get a little deeper with a VR archaeological tour. This allows armchair travellers to explore and learn more about the history behind the canyon’s formation by clicking on different geological features. nps.gov/features/grca/001/archeology
Yosemite National Park, California Experience this natural wonder in real time by clicking through to its webcams. The views include Yosemite Falls, the view of the Half Dome from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and vistas from the High Sierra captured at 8,000 feet. nps.gov/yose
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado One of the best things about being in the great outdoors is the way you experience it with all your senses. Rocky Mountain National Park has allowed virtual visitors to use their ears rather than their eyes, with an online “sound library” that features an array of birds and wildlife found in the park. nps.gov/romo
Longleat Safari Park, UK Longleat has launched a virtual safari narrated by BBC Animal Park presenter Kate Humble. The guided tour went live on the Wiltshire wildlife attraction’s Facebook page at 10am on Saturday but is still free to view on the Longleat website and across its digital platforms. Utilising a mix of audio commentary with video footage and photos, the virtual tour also includes a newly-recorded introduction by Kate Humble. longleat.co.uk
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Fancy climbing a mountain? You can try out an e-climb with Grand Teton National Park, navigating your way to the 13,770-ft summit (minus the effort). Viewers can also discover the geology and history of the Grand Teton massif along the way, and learn more about the native plants and wildlife. nps.gov/grte
Machu Picchu, Peru Many details of how the Inca site was constructed are still a mystery. Built in the Andes at 2,430 metres above sea level around AD1450, Machu Picchu was created without wheels or animals to transport the huge stones up the mountainside. A series of 360-degree images on YouVisit’s virtual tour explore various areas of the site. The tour also includes a voiceover guide with information on the architecture, history and resident alpacas. For a bird’s-eye view, head to Air Pano for stunning interactive images, including from the summit of Machu Picchu mountain.
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro Standing 30 metres tall on the summit of the 710-metre Corcovado mountain and visible from all over Rio, Christ the Redeemer is the world’s largest art deco statue. As with some other entries on this list, this tour on Google Arts and Culture uses the Street View technology to allow visitors to “walk around” the site. As the sun sets behind misty clouds, the view from the end of the platform walkway looks out across the city, including Ipanema and Copacabana beaches and Sugarloaf Mountain, which is dwarfed from this great height. Or check it out at different times of day, with these 360-degree shots from above.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt On the edge of the desert where the sand ends and modern Cairo begins, the pyramids of Giza were constructed around 4,500 years ago as grand tombs for the pharaohs. With walking routes around the site, this virtual tour shows the magnificent structures from near and far. This includes two of the largest pyramids ever built – the Great Pyramid (147 metres) and the Pyramid of Khafre (136 metres) – plus the Great Sphinx to the east.
Eiffel Tower, Paris See one of the world’s most visited monuments on this interactive tour, which takes travellers up to the viewing platform of the 324-metre tower – give or take 18cm, which is how much the iron contracts and expands by – depending on the ambient temperature. Additional immersive digital exhibitions explore its construction, from 1887-89, with photos of the first glamorous Parisian visitors. There are also 360-degree shots showing a helicopter’s view of the tower against the city skyline.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia Angkor Wat, “the city of temples”, is the largest religious monument in the world, originally built as a Hindu temple complex dedicated to the god Vishnu in the first half of the 12th century, but gradually transformed into the centre of worship for Buddhism in the latter part of the same century. This virtual tour explores several of the magical temples, including the five towers of Angkor Wat itself; the pink sandstone Banteay Srei; and Ta Prohm (as seen in the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), where nature has reclaimed the ruins. For a glimpse of the living city as it would have been in the 13th century, the Virtual Angkor project includes 360-degree video simulations created collaboratively by archaeologists, historians and CGI artists.
Taj Mahal, India Built as the resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, this symbol of eternal love is considered one of the most beautiful buildings ever created. The 17th-century white marble “crown of palaces” in Agra, north India, combines Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural styles and took 22 years to complete. The interactive digital pathways include routes around the mausoleum itself, reflecting pool, paradise gardens and ornate red sandstone mosque. Aerial 360-degree images soar above the lotus-topped dome and minarets for a view over the Yamuna River.
Petra, Jordan One of the oldest cities in the world, Petra was occupied thousands of years BC, though it is believed the spectacular sandstone city was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabatean Arabs. It’s rose-coloured buildings have been viewed by the world in films such as The Mummy Returns and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, though around 85% of the city remains underground, yet to be excavated. This online tour includes a guide narrating the interactive walk around some of Petra’s most iconic monuments. It heads through a narrow gorge called the Siq, passing tombs, temple ruins, an enormous monastery and Al Khaznah, the famous building whose elaborate facade is carved into the gorge wall.
Colosseum, Rome Once seating between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators who came through 80 entrances, the Colosseum was the world’s largest amphitheatre when it was built between AD70 and AD80 for sporting events and gladiatorial combat. Around two-thirds of the structure has been destroyed in the 2,000 years since but the remaining ruins are one of Italy’s most popular attractions. Take a walk inside, around the various levels, or fly overhead in these 360-degree images.
Chichén Itzá, Mexico There are many strange and wonderful architectural features within the ancient city of Chichén Itzá on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. El Castillo pyramid (also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, a serpent deity) at the centre has a combined 365 steps ascending its four sides. Twice a year, on the equinox, the steps cast a shadow in the shape of a serpent on the north section, which connects to a snake head sculpture at its base, meant to depict Kukulkan. The 360- aerial images explore several of the Mayan ruins, including the pyramid, the Temple of Warriors, the observatory and the nunnery.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – Hawaii, USA One of Hawai’i’s most famous national parks is also accessible online. Their virtual tour lets you fly over an active volcano, enjoy the stunning view from the volcanic coastal cliffs, and see the effects of a volcanic eruption from 1959. You can also explore the Nahuku Lava Tube, which is a cave formed by flowing lava and is used to drain the lava during an eruption.
The Statue of Liberty – New York, New York, USA This virtual tour will give you unprecedented access to one of the world’s best known, beloved, and inspiring symbols; The statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Learn about the Statue of Liberty through 360-degree tours, videos, and photographs.
The White House – Washington, DC, USA Thanks to Google Maps Street View, we get to see the interiors of the most famous address in the United States; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, or The White House. Walk the public spaces, see the artwork and portraits of past presidents, enter the red room, green room, and more.
The Catacombs – Paris, France The Catacombes De Paris is the final resting place of millions of souls since the late 18th century when major public health problems tied to the city’s cemeteries led to the exhumation and transfer of the bodies to an underground site. The first evacuations were made from 1785 to 1787, transferring the remnants from Paris’ largest cemetery, the Saints-Innocents cemetery. Back then, the catacombs were located outside the capital city, in the former Tombe-Issoire quarries under the Plain of Montrouge. On April 7, 1786, the site was consecrated as the “Paris Municipal Ossuary,” and from that time forward, took on the popular name of “Catacombs,” in reference to the Roman catacombs. Since 1809, people have been able to visit the Catacombs, but now, thanks to technology, you can do a virtual tour!
Mount Everest – Nepal and China Explore the tallest mountain in the world through this interactive 3D map of Mount Everest. The map includes the two most-traveled routes to the summit of Everest, all historical routes, and the most famous trekking routes in the Khumbu region.
You could take a virtual tour around some of the best theme parks in the world.
Walt Disney World: Set aside some time, because there's plenty to see here. Virtual tours you can take include Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot, just to name a few. There are also unofficial YouTube videos that feel just like you're on famous rides like the Frozen Ever After ride, It's a Small World, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, and Pirates of the Caribbean. YouTube is filled with rollercoaster ride recordings that let users envision themselves on attractions at Disney resorts, from the Incredicoaster at Disney's California Adventure park to the "Frozen" Ever After ride at Walt Disney World.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort: The Great Lego Race and Miniland USA are just two of the attractions you can check out in a virtual tour of the park.
SeaWorld Orlando: The virtual tour of Seaworld includes a tour of Discovery Cove and the option to"ride" the steel roller coaster Mako.
Maybe you’d like to explore historic sites
Housesteads Fort - Take a 3D virtual tour around this reconstruction
Viking Age Farm at Ribblehead Virtual Tour - Take a 3D virtual tour of this fascinating site British History
'Endeavour' Virtual Tour - A 3D virtual tour of Captain Cook's ship 'Endeavour'
Elizabethan Room Virtual Tour - A recreation of an Elizabethan period room
Georgian Room Virtual Tour - A recreation of a Georgian period room
Iron Bridge Virtual Tour - A 3D tour of one of the Industrial Revolution's earliest landmarks
London Bridge Virtual Tour - Explore London Bridge, as it would have looked in 1540
Mary Rose Virtual Tour - Explore Henry VIII's flagship, as it would have looked in 1545
Victorian Room Virtual Tour - Recreation of a Victorian period room
Windsor Castle Virtual Tour - A view of Windsor Castle
Dogfight Over the Trenches Virtual Tour - Reconstruction of an attack by German aircraft
Dug-out Entrance Vitual Tour - Reconstruction showing dug-out positioning in a trench
Dug-out Interior Virtual Tour - Reconstruction of the inside of a dug-out
Front Line Trench Virtual Tour - Reconstruction of a fighting trench
Life in The Trenches Virtual Tour - Reconstruction of a typical day in the trenches
Thiepval War Memorial Virtual Tour - A view of the memorial to 72,000 British dead
World War One Trench Virtual Tour - Experience conditions for the soldiers of World War One
* These links have been gathered together from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/virtual_tours/
Maybe you have football mad children, why not take them on a virtual tour of some of the stadiums from around the UK and the world
Manchester United – Old Trafford**
Aston Villa – Villa Park**
West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns**
Australia – ANZ Sydney Olympic Stadium**
Croatia – Stadion Poljud -Hajduk Split**
Germany – Olympiastadion Munich**
Holland – PSV Eindhoven – Philips Stadion**
Switzerland – St. Jakob Park – FC Basel**
** Please note that all of the football stadium tours are 360 degree views of the stadium from the football pitch.
Or how about taking a trip that’s out of this world
Interactive Mars Virtual Tour – NASA has teamed up with Google to create an interactive Mars virtual tour using the data collected from the Mars Curiosity Rover launched in 2011. Learn about the Curiosity mission, click around the terrain to move the Rover across the surface, and travel to different mission sites.
International Space Station – NASA – NASA has provided videos that allow you to tour the ISS with the astronauts on board.
International Space Station – ESA – The European Space Agency has also provided a guided 3D tour of the International Space Station.
3D Mekanlar Virtual Sites in Space – 3D interactive tours of several our space destinations including Saturn, Jupiter, the International Space Station, Neptune and Triton, and more
US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL – Take a look at the Saturn 5 Rocket and more on this virtual field trip at the US Space and Rocket Center.