11 Best Virtual Tours to Take During Lockdown
6 Jan 2021
With the UK government recently placing the country under its third lockdown, travel is once again bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, technology is still allowing us to visit almost any location on the planet, with just the few clicks of a button.
We’ve compiled a list of 11 of the best virtual tours both in the UK and globally, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
What Is A Virtual Tour?
In a general sense, a virtual tour is a realistic recreation of a physical place or location. Usually, these are created for inaccessible areas - or in this case, during a lockdown - and provide an excellent alternative solution to travel issues.
This digital simulation is put together with sequential videos, images, and floor plans. The use of music, sound effects, and other multimedia can be used to enhance the user experience, making it as authentic as possible.
What Virtual Tours Are Available?
Hundreds of companies across the globe are once again offering virtual tours of their premises to entertain viewers during lockdown. We’ve put together a list of 11 of the most impressive virtual tours for kids and adults for you to enjoy from the comfort of home.
Virtual Tours of Museums
1. The Louvre, France
Have you ever eagerly arrived in beautiful Paris only to discover the ticket lines at the Louvre are almost 2-hours long? Even on its quieter days, keen tourists can find themselves queuing for at least half an hour to gain entry to this world-famous museum.
Fortunately, you don’t need to battle crowds right now to get a close-up of the iconic Mona Lisa painting. The Louvre museum is currently sharing detailed virtual tours over on their website, so you can dig into its archives which holds everything from the Louvre’s ancient Moat and Egyptian Antiquities, to modern artistry and the birth of Darth Vader.
2. Vatican Museums, Italy
Listed as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rome, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel attract over 5 million tourists each year. With its soaring vaulted ceilings, complex tapestries, and long, winding hallways, this early 16th century museum is home to some of the world’s greatest art collections and exhibits.
You can take a virtual tour of its impressive collections, which span an area of 42,000 metres. There are over 70,000 exhibits on display in the museum, including a suite of rooms frescoed by Raphale, as well as a classic collection of statutory in the Museo Pio-Celmentino, and of course, not forgetting the famous Michelangelo-painted Sistine Chapel.
3. Natural History Museum, UK
The Natural History Museum is a world-leading visitor attraction and scientific research centre. Each year, millions of British and international tourists flock to its South Kensington location to catch a glimpse of its vast collections, which hold everything from giant crystals and specimens, to insects, mammals, and even the prehistoric diplodocus named Dippy.
Voiced by Museum researchers and curators, immerse yourself in a guided virtual tour of London’s Natural History Museum to explore its vast collection of 80 million specimens, including the iconic blue whale skeleton which is suspended from the ceiling of the Hintze Hall.
Virtual Tours of Zoos & Aquariums
4. San Diego Zoo, USA
Established in 1916 and located in Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered species, including the platypus - with them being the only zoo in the US to house this magnificent mammal. They are committed to preserving animals in the wild and were pioneers in the concept of creating open-air, cageless exhibits that re-creae natural animal habitats.
Now, the San Diego Zoo is live-streaming many of its popular animal areas, allowing viewers to see what their favourite furry friends are up to any time of the day or night. From penguins and polar bears to elephants, giraffes, and even the rare giant panda - there are so many animals to visit virtually. Your children will be entertained for hours!
5. Sea Life Aquarium, Australia
Ideally located on the Yarra waterfront, Sea Life Melbourne is one of Victoria’s leading visitor attractions and research centres, with entertainment for the whole family. Inside, the aquarium is home to an array of different animals and exhibits, including sharks, seahorses, rays, sawfish, as well as a penguin playground, and even Pinjarra - where you can come face to face with Melbourne’s mega crocodile!
Check out the impressive collection species that live at Melbourne Aquaium, with live stream videos and walk-throughs. There’s something for everyone, with a range of activities and free downloadable resources for kids, as well as a relaxing ‘Marine Mindfulness’ section for those who are looking to switch off for a little while.
6. Chester Zoo, UK
Sitting at 130 acres in size, Chester Zoo is one of the UK’s largest animal charities, relying on zero government funding. It is also one of the most-visited wilfllife attractions in the UK, drawing in around 2 million visitors each year. In 2017, it was named as the best zoo in the UK, with Forbes naming it one of the top fifteen zoos in the world.
Chester Zoo had been filming live events on their Facebook and YouTube pages across the two previous lockdowns, and are back to entertain us again for this one. Packed full of fantastic facts and endearing animals, their live streams are the perfect way to get up close and learn more about the incredible animals of our world.
Virtual Tours of World Heritage Sites
7. Great Wall of China, China
As one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is recognised as both the longest wall and largest example of ancient architecture in the world. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to its winding paths to take in views of rugged countryside, steep mountains and glossy beaches in the region of Qinhuangdao.
Today, you can jet off from your sofa to take a virtual tour of the Great Wall of China and glean some insight into the rich 2,000 year history of this amazing feat of architecture from the insiders who know it best.
8. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Nearly 5,000 years ago, Egyptians constructed pyramids as tombs for their kings. Located just outside the ancient city of Memphis, these monuments still stand today. Today, the Pyramids of Giza are considered some of the most fascinating structures on Earth, standing as a testament to the impressive engineering feats of the past.
Take a virtual, self-guided tour through the must-see sites of the Giza Necropolis and explore one of the most famous archaelogical sites on Earth - all from the comfort of home. This Google tour enables you to walk right up to the stonework, as well as many other impressive Egyptians sites, including the Citadel of Qaitbay, the Hanging Church, and the remains of Abu Mena.
9. Eiffel Tower, France
Constructed between the years of 1887 - 1889 by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, the impressive tower in Paris has stood as a distinctive symbol of the city of Paris, and by extension, of France for 130 years.
Rising to a height of 324 metres, the Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris and beyond, from day until 1am at night - thanks to its regularly timed twinkly illuminations.
It’s hardly surprising that around 5 million international visitors flock to its site each year, eager to climb its staggering 674 steps. Today, you can skip the queues and the cramped elevator ride and head to the top of the Eiffel Tower and take in beautiful panoramic views of the city.
Virtual Tours of Theme Parks
10. Universal Studios Orlando, USA
For over 30 years, the Universal Studios resort has been bringing the magic of some of the biggest characters in movies, TV and pop culture to life at their enchanting parks. The impressive Universal Orlando Resort is a dream family vacation, being home to 3 incredible theme parks, entertainment, shopping and dining. Filled with unforgettable adventures, families can soar over Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing through city streets with Spider Man, and rally around the premises with other household names.
Go behind the scenes at Hollywood’s glamorous Universal Studios or enjoy the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Universal Orlando’s virtual offerings. There’s so many exciting attractions to choose from, making these the perfect virtual tours for kids.
11. Walt Disney World, USA
With 6 Disney Parks, 2 exciting night-time entertainment districts, over 20 hotels and countless recreational and relaxing activities, it’s easy to see why Walt Disney World is the holiday of dreams for so many families. From thrill seekers to poolside sunbathers, the park offers something for the whole family, while the ever-sunny climate of Orlando make it an appealing destination the whole year round.
If you’ve never had the chance to explore this incredible resort, you can now bring the magic of Mickey and his gang right to your home, with everything from 360-degree panoramas of the grounds to virtual rides on the theme park’s rides.
Still need to travel this lockdown?
Although many of us are unable to travel right now, our local bus services continue to run throughout the local area for essential travel, with a full timetable available to view.
If you have any queries or concerns about travelling during this time, feel free to contact our friendly customer liaison team, who will be happy to help answer any questions you may have.