Virtual tours of London’s best buildings | How to explore during the Covid-19 lockdown

Visit some of London’s most iconic buildings without leaving your sofa.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Head to Somerset House… virtually

Most Londoners would agree they often take the city for granted normally, let alone now. As our ongoing lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic continues, many of us are looking lustfully over #throwback photos on social media wondering when we’ll be able to explore the capital again. Or perhaps, you’re a would-be tourist whose trip to London was postponed or cancelled.

During the current Coronavirus crisis, I’ve put a lot of my usual events and ‘what’s on’ content on hiatus and have instead been focusing on London history and architecture. While researching the background of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find how many of their websites provide virtual tours.

So if you’re feeling bored and missing walking around the capital, why not enjoy a virtual stroll around some of these iconic London sights.

Check out Metro Girl’s round-up of 10 art and museum exhibitions you can view online.

Ten virtual tours of London buildings

  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Foreign Office © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Explore the striking Victorian government offices of Whitehall, which were built in the 1860s. Gaze at George Gilbert Scott’s designs, such as the Grand Staircase, the Locarno Suite and Durbar Court. Although usually off-limits to the public, you can usually get a peek during Open House London in September.

– For a virtual tour, visit the FCO website. Read about the history of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office building.

  • Middle Temple Hall

The public rarely gets to step inside the 16th century hall in the Temple legal district. This historic building has an impressive hammerbeam roof and is said to have hosted the first ever performance of William Shakespeare‘s Twelfth Night in front of Queen Elizabeth I.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Middle Temple Venue website. Read about the history of Middle Temple Hall.

  • Sky Garden

The ‘Walkie Talkie’ is the nickname for the City of London skyscraper 20 Fenchurch Street. Its top floors are home to a garden, bar, restaurants and viewing platform, giving wonderful views of the capital.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Sky Garden 360 website. Read a review of a visit to the Sky Garden.

  • Somerset House

The multi-space arts and entertainment venue has a contrasting mix of old and new architectural features inside the 18th century riverside building.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Somerset House website. Read about the history of Somerset House.

Royal Hospital Chelsea

  • Royal Hospital Chelsea

Known as the home to the Chelsea Pensioners and the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Hospital is a unique retirement home for Army veterans. Many of the 17th century buildings were designed by celebrated architect Sir Christopher Wren.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Chelsea Pensioners’ website. Read about the history of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

  • Wilton’s Music Hall

Still entertaining Londoners decades later, Wilton’s Music Hall is an original Victorian, East End music hall. Today, it is primarily an entertainment venue for concerts, plays, musicals and more. It’s very atmospheric and is fairly close to its original state with charming, creaky floorboards and peeling wallpaper.

– For a virtual tour, visit Google Arts & Culture.

  • Emery Walker House & William Morris Society

Head to Hammersmith (virtually of course) to explore the Emery Walker house (a time capsule for the arts and crafts movement), as well as the William Morris Society. You can gaze upon original furniture and homewares by Morris himself and his contemporaries.

– For virtual tours of both buildings, visit the Arts & Craft Hammersmith website. Read a review of a visit to the Emery Walker House.

  • Charles Dickens Museum

Follow in the Victorian author’s footsteps at his former Bloomsbury home, which is now a museum celebrating his life and works. Charles Dickens, his wife and their young family lived at Doughty Street for two and a half years in the 1830s.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Museum website. Read a review of a visit to the Charles Dickens Museum.

  • Roman Amphitheatre

Underneath Guildhall in the City of London are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. The venue was built in the 2nd century AD to entertain the Roman occupiers with gladiatorial battles, animal fights and public executions. Usually, the ruins can be accessed by visiting Guildhall Art Gallery.

– For a virtual tour, visit Google Arts & Culture.

  • Benjamin Franklin House

One of the United States’ founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, spent a lot of time in London in the 18th century. During his stays in the capital, he lived at Craven Street in Westminster for nearly 16 years. Today, the Georgian terrace is a museum.

– For a virtual tour, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.

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About Metro Girl

Media professional who was born, brought up and works in London. My blog is a guide to London - what's on, festivals, history, reviews and attractions. All images on my blog are © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl, unless otherwise specified. Do not use without seeking permission first.

Posted on 2 Apr 2020, in Architecture, History, London, Tourist Attractions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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