Although lockdown has stopped us travelling far, the good news is that there are plenty of places in London that you can still visit online.
If you enjoy days out at museums, exploring tourist attractions, or just wandering about the Capital with the children and discovering what's on, you can do this from your own home. If London is a long train journey away for you, this is a great way to discover all that it can offer from your own front room.
We've found lots of virtual tours in the Capital, as well as some other ways to recreate the London experience at home.
Pay a visit to the Queen's official residence on this virtual tour. Tens of thousands of tourists pay to visit Buckingham Palace each year, but while it is closed you can explore the Grand Staircase, the White Drawing Room, the regal Throne Room, and the Blue Drawing Room without spending anything! If this whets your appetite for Royal residences, pop along to Windsor Castle too - we especially loved seeing the grand table laid out for a State Banquet. Little ones who love their Disney princesses will probably enjoy some of the grand rooms.
Houses of Parliament
A real-life visit to the Houses of Parliament is fascinating - especially when you get to go inside the chamber where the MPs sit - it looks far smaller than it does on the telly! Find out some fascinating facts on this online tour - like why women used to have to watch the proceedings via a ventilation shaft in the ceiling! Lucky that times have changed. If your children have learned about Guy Fawkes at school, they will probably be interested in seeing what it was he was trying to blow up. Otherwise probably more of interest to older primary and secondary students.
10 Downing Street
Once you've seen his place of work, follow it up with a chance to explore the Prime Minister's home. Children will probably have seen that famous door quite a few times on the News over the past week, so let them have a look behind it. We think they'll be surprised at how big it is inside. Look out for the Union Flag, which was carried to the moon and back by Apollo 11, and discover why the bricks are black on the outside of the building.
Young sports fans will enjoy this tour, which was shot during an England v Wales Six Nations game. If you are lucky enough to get a chance to go to the Stadium in the future, this tour can show you what the view is like from various areas around the stadium, so will help you choose which seats to book. To feel like you are really there, there is a VR facility. You just need a mobile device set up for VR or a VR headset. Great for kids of any age who love rugby.
Royal Albert Hall
Lovers of music and theatre can explore inside the Royal Albert Hall. The host of the Proms concerts since 1914, its opulent interior has to be seen to be believed. If you have budding performers, head under the organ pipes and turn around for a taste of what it must feel like to be on the stage at this iconic venue. Suitable for any age, but especially any kids who love music. To get an idea of what the Hall feels like when it's full, watch this video of the Last Night of the Proms.
Tower of London
Enjoy a 360-degree tour of the Tower of London with a Beefeater and TV historian Dan Snow. Hear tales of prisoners, ghosts and bloody history, which probably make it more suitable for over 8's.
The British Museum - home to Egyptian mummies, the Elgin Marbles (no, not the sort you play with) and many more treasures from ancient worlds - is the largest indoor space in the world that you can visit via Google Street View. There are 60 galleries to explore online and it is possible to choose a one, two or three-hour tour - we guess that for most children, an hour will be plenty! The museum also has podcasts. a YouTube channel and a number of learning resources for homeschooling.
Virtual walking tours
Blue Badge guides are professional tourist guides, who conduct walking tours in many UK tourist areas. This lovely lady can guide you all around London via her virtual tours. In Mayfair, for instance, you will discover a hidden oasis near Oxford Street, an Egyptian oddity and an elephant.
See the sights
This is like taking an open-top bus tour around London, Visit London's map allows you to travel around the capital, stopping off at various tourist attractions such as Big Ben and the London Eye.
Lunch at Borough Market
Borough Market, with its fabulous food stalls, cafes and restaurants, is the best place to pick up a quick lunch. Pop along to Instagram each day at 1 pm, when one of the area's producers or chefs will show you how to create a dish. Get some ideas for dessert with Chelsea's Bread Ahead Bakery's bakery courses on Instagram Live at 2 pm.
Watch a show at the Globe
It's a short walk from Borough Market to Shakespeare's Globe, so next stop has to be one of its shows, which are being broadcast for free during lockdown. Upcoming performances include Macbeth (which most kids study for GCSE) and The Merry Wives of Windsor, where we meet the entertaining character Falstaff.
Natural History Museum
There is so much to discover in the online tours provided by South Kensington's finest. We love that Sir David Attenborough can guide you around the Hintze Hall where you can walk under the largest animal on Earth. Also find dinosaurs, butterflies and plenty more.
On a visit to London's Postal Museum, you can hitch a ride on a forgotten railway under the city. Climb aboard for a virtual ride and a trip through the museum itself. This is far more lively than some of the virtual tours, and the 10-minute video should entertain most children of school age.
If you weren't lucky enough to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, follow this virtual tour. The tour includes description and details about many of the objects, some of which had never been outside Egypt before. Perfect for any KS2 kids learning about the Ancient Egyptians. Hussein Abdel Rasoul, the young water boy who discovered the steps to the tomb, made a living for the rest of his life by charging tourists to see a photo of him wearing a necklace from the tomb.
There are three ways to tour this enormous art gallery. The Google Street View tour allows you to walk through and browse paintings. There is a VR virtual tour of the Sainsbury Wing, with its early Renaissance paintings. But we especially like the virtual tour of 18 rooms - click on each painting to find out more about it. Perfect for anyone studying a specific artist or working on an art project. Something should appeal to most kids of school age.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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