Enjoying London from home

Published: 11 Apr 2020 Updated: 03 Oct 2020
One way to enjoy what London offers is to use one of the many virtual London experiences. These include things like theatre or opera performances and virtual tours in museums and galleries. While none of these gives the same experience as visiting the places in real life, it's the best one can get at the moment while planning for the next trip.


Some theatres offer live versions of their performances. These performances were recorded earlier and are now available online. Some of these performances are free, while others are not.

National Theatre

National Theatre offers some of their plays on Youtube. There’s a new premiere each week Thursdays. The schedule is currently the following:

  • One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden 2.4 - 9.4
  • Jane Eyre, 9.4 - 16.4
  • Treasure Island, 16.4 - 23.4
  • Twelfth Night, 23.4 - 30.4
  • Frankenstein, 30.4 - 8.5

Marquee TV

Marquee TV is a service that offers theatre, opera and ballet performances from theatres around the world. Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company are offering some of their performances on the service.

The service has a monthly cost of £8.99 with a 30-day free trial. The service is currently available in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on iOS, Android, Apple TV, AndroidTV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps.

Globe Player

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre also offers recordings of the theatre’s performances online. There’s a catalogue of 73 plays available for rent or for purchase including plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and King Lear. Renting costs around £5 and buying around £12.


Many of the museums offer virtual tours showing some part of the collection or the building. We have listed some of our favourite museums, which we also feature on our website.

British Museum

British Museum has several types of online experiences available. You can visit many of the galleries as well as the world-famous Great Court with its beautiful ceiling on Google Street View. There are also separate virtual galleries for specific topics, such as Oceania and Prints and drawings galleries. You can also explore the museum collection using a timeline view, filtering items by geographical region and era.

Google Arts and Culture, which is a service provided in collaboration with over 2000 museums worldwide, has many online exhibitions and stories about British Museum collections showing many of the items.

Another way to access British Museum content is by subscribing to the British Museum Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud. Finally, there’s also an audio tour available on Apple Music and on Google Play.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum offers several types of content that can be enjoyed from the safety of your home. Sir David Attenborough is your guide around Hintze Hall in a series of audio guides available here. There’s also a virtual tour available in the form of Google Arts & Culture collection showing over 300 000 items from the museum’s collection.

For other options, see the list on the museums website.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The museum has an extensive collection of items available online in many categories. There are collections in the following categories:

  • Spaces
  • Periods and Styles
  • People
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Places

Another location to check out is again the Google Arts and Culture service, which has over 5000 items from the V&A collection on display as well as 11 online exhibitions. Some of our favourite include the “Balenciaga: Master Craftsman” and “Schiaparelli and Surrealism”.

National Gallery

The National Gallery offers three types of virtual tours.

A Google Street View virtual tour of the museum is available covering seven rooms and the Central Hall. It’s an excellent way to get acquainted with museum offerings before going. The most immersive of the virtual offerings is the Sainsbury Wing VR tour, which works on a computer with or without a VR headset. The tour shows over 270 Early Renaissance paintings from 1200-1500. There’s also a virtual tour from 2011 including 18 gallery rooms and hundreds of paintings.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern has Online displays for many of the exhibitions on their website, see the section Explore our Galleries Online of the main page. The virtual gallery pages show items related to a topic in the order they would appear when touring the museum.

One of the most anticipated exhibitions this year is the Andy Warhol exhibition, which started on 12th March and is due to end on 6th September. The exhibition had to be closed only five days after is started but Tate Modern offers a virtual exhibition tour on Youtube:

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery has virtual tours that can be browsed in several ways. The collections can be viewed based on the period, the theme or by recent acquisitions. The artworks can be filtered and browsed by selecting one of the topics and then explored in further detail, perhaps in more detail than possible when visiting the museum. An example detail page for the self-portrait of Angelica Kauffman.

The Courtauld at Somerset House

Somerset House is the home to one of the two locations of The Courtauld Institute of Art. The gallery houses a collection of paintings ranging from early Renaissance to Post-Impressionism including Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin and Rubens. It also contains the most extensive collection of Cézannes in the UK.

They have an excellent virtual tour available on their website allowing moving around in the rooms and zooming in on the paintings.

Royal Academy of Arts

RA in Burlington House has some of their exhibitions available to enjoy from home. There is a video tour available of the current Picasso and Paper exhibition. The pages for the exhibitions show some of the paintings. As an example, this page about the Gauguin and the Impressionists exhibition has images, some video and also related reading material.


Buckingham Palace

Also Buckingham Palace has a virtual tour available. It covers the Grand Staircase and three rooms, the White Drawing Room, the Throne Room and the Blue Drawing Room in great detail.

Westminster Abbey

There is also a virtual tour of Westminster Abbey available showing the abbey from inside and out. To mention a few places, the Coronation Chair, the Lady Chapel and Poets’ Corner are featured.

Houses of Parliament

The virtual tour of the Houses of Parliament covers 14 sections/areas of the building. The tour includes places such as House of Commons and Lords Chambers as seen on heated TV debates.