If you hear London calling, but you can’t travel right now, take a virtual tour of London from home. You can peruse The British Museum, walk the grand halls of Buckingham Palace, and watch a performance in Shakespeare’s Globe. All you need is an internet connection. We’ve even curated a list of books and movies set in the city and a playlist of some of London’s greatest musicians. Until you next find yourself in a British pub, here is your virtual travel guide to London.
Virtual Museum Tours in London
London’s vast museums are legendary, and now you can explore them from the comfort of home. See antiquities from around the world like the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, and the Parthenon Marbles on a virtual tour of the British Museum. Also, be sure to check out the curator corner for fascinating videos about specific objects in the collection.
To get your art fix at the National Gallery, try exploring its collection of masterpieces online. The Courtland Institute of Art provides a high-resolution virtual tour of how the gallery appeared in 2018 before its recent renovation. You can zoom in close enough to see the texture of Van Gough’s brushstrokes on his self-portrait with a bandaged ear and read the plaques describing each piece in the collection.
London’s Natural History Museum gives you 9 ways to explore its collection from home. You can even listen to Sir David Attenborough guide you through Hintze Hall’s specimens including a blue whale skeleton, fossil trees, and a meteorite as old as the solar system.
Virtual Tours of London Landmarks
No trip to London, virtual or otherwise, is complete without checking out some of England’s most iconic sights. Take a virtual tour of the Houses of Parliament, which sit beneath the Big Ben clock tower. At Buckingham Palace, move through the royal residence and click information bubbles to learn more about the furniture, paintings, and history of each room.
You can step further back in time with a narrated 360-degree virtual tour of the Tower of London. Learn about the castle’s bloody history and ogle at the crown jewels housed within. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre also provides a 360-degree experience of its stage. You can also watch free recordings showcasing a rotating series of performances such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Or you can rent from a huge catalog of The Bard’s plays.
Explore more of the United Kingdom’s famous landmarks on Expedia’s Things to Do From Home page. Take virtual tours of The National Museum of Computing, Stonehenge, and more.
Books Set in London
If you need a break from screen time, you can take a virtual tour of London old school—with a book. London’s rich literary history gives you plenty of reading material to choose from. Here are a few recommendations:
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (fiction, fantasy) – An average Londoner businessman stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. When he stops to help, he falls through the cracks of reality into a murky under realm called Neverwhere.
- Londoners by Craig Taylor (non-fiction) – A collection of personal interviews with ordinary people. The full title says it all: Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now – As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It and Long for It.
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (fiction) – A high-society woman prepares to host a party during post World War I London and reflects on how her past has shaped her present.
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens (fiction) – Considered by many to be Dickens’ best, this Victorian novel follows the intertwining stories of both rich and poor in London society.
- London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd (non-fiction, biography) – A history of London from the time of the Druids to the beginning of the 21 century. Ackroyd provides insight on how the past echos in the present.
- Brick Lane by Monica Ali (fiction) – An immigrant’s view of London as told by the young Nazneen who leaves her home in Bangladesh for an arranged marriage to an older man.
Movies Set in London
From James Bond to Harry Potter, many blockbuster movies have been filmed in and around London. But if you truly want to experience London in all its grit and glory, check out these movies where the city takes centre stage.
- 28 Days Later (2002) – A man wakes up from a coma to find London besieged by a zombie apocalypse.
- Love Actually (2003) – This popular Christmas movie classic features a star-studded cast (Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney) and 8 intertwined stories about love.
- The King’s Speech (2010) – An Academy Award-winning historical drama about King George VI’s impromptu ascension to the British throne and his struggles to overcome a speech impediment.
- Shaun of the Dead (2005) – Shaun works a dead-end job, has a rocky relationship with his girlfriend, and his flat-mate is a slob. Then, zombies suddenly appear in London. A witty satire that both pays homage to and pokes fun at horror movies.
- Attack the Block (2011) – A street gang of London teens defend their block from an invasion of hostile space aliens.
- A Hard Day’s Night (1964) – The Beatles were from Liverpool, but they filmed this light-hearted musical in London. Follow the famous British band as they evade mobs of fans and live it up in the UK’s capital.
Music from London
To engage more of your senses, why not take a virtual tour of London through the music? We’ve curated a playlist of some of London’s most popular bands of all-time. Listen to artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to The Spice Girls to Adele. Turn up the volume, or plug in your headphones to check out Expedia’s London playlist on Spotify. If classical music is more your style, stream concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra.