Traveling across the pond for a visit to the English capital is often considered a dream trip for Americans, but it can stretch the holiday budget and might be an adventure out of reach for many. If the dollars in your pocket can’t stretch to the transatlantic flights or the costly hotel prices, at least the internet can provide you with the next best thing.
The huge growth in technology and software has taken the web by storm in recent years, making the world a much smaller place. These days, via the engaging technology offered by our computers and smartphones, we can virtually travel to any destination in the world, allowing us to see the most famous tourist attractions and hotspot destinations, almost as if we were there ourselves, and all without having to leave the comfort of our own homes. Let’s take a look at five of the very best…
Google Street View
“Streets of London” was a smash hit in the UK charts during the early 1970s for folk singer Ralph McTell, who has re-released the track in December 2017 in a duet with Annie Lennox. More than 200 artists have apparently covered the song, so if you fancy whistling along to this iconic tune as you take a virtual tour of London, there’s no better way to get right into the heart of the city than using Google Street View, which is available in both Google Maps and Google Earth, and also available as a standalone Android and iOS mobile app. It allows you to explore practically every street and corner of the UK capital, and all without the need for an umbrella to protect you from the frequently wet English weather!
Buckingham Palace Virtual Tour
Christmas is coming and while Santa Claus might not bring you flight tickets or an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, at least you can take a look around her luxurious Buckingham Palace home from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the royal.uk virtual tour of the stunning royal residence. You won’t need to queue to get in, and you can take all the time you want, as you take in the sumptuous décor of the White Drawing Room and the Blue Drawing Room, or meander down the Grand Staircase and then virtually doth your cap, stepping into the Throne Room. This official site of The Royal Family also provides a wealth of information and news about Her Royal Majesty, with behind the scenes videos of events and official visits.
The Hippodrome Casino
Considered to be one of the most established and stylish cornerstones of the West End, The Hippodrome Casino is one of London’s most popular entertainment venues, welcoming over 7 million visitors since the revamped hotspot opened its doors in 2012. Don’t worry if you can’t get there in person, because they’re just as keen to share a virtual experience with web visitors via the Hippodrome Online casino. No matter where you are in the world, you can join in games such as roulette and blackjack online, allowing you to interact directly with games beamed online by the Hippodrome staff through their live casino options.
River Thames Tour
If you fancy something a little different from rowing or paddling around the Sarasota Bay and waterways, then a virtual trip along London’s River Thames might be just what you’re looking for. Thanks to the spectacular 360 panoramic images panoptics.co.uk offer on their site, you can take in some of the most famous and historic sites along the banks of the Thames. Shout “off with his head” in a Cockney accent as you cruise past the Tower of London, appreciate the fine architecture of democracy as you pass the Palace of Westminster, or virtually duck your head as you float beneath the iconic Tower Bridge.
The National Gallery
If art is your thing, then a closer look at some of the most breathtaking collections at The National Gallery in London through the National Gallery Virtual Tour is an unmissable treat. The virtual tour offered at their official website is quite simply outstanding, allowing instant access to 18 rooms within the National Gallery, and enabling you to get up close and personal with some of the finest masterpieces, thanks to their fully interactive guides. Recognize a painting but can’t quite place the artist? Not a problem in the slightest, as you can even click on the paintings themselves for even more information. To view the whole collection in person would take countless visits, but via the phenomenal virtual tour, you can visit as often as you like, whenever you like.
There you have it: the wonders of technology ensure there’s a multitude of ways to make that trip to Great Britain from your own home, without having to get on a flight or take any time off work. Enjoy!
photo credits- #1- Deposit Photos, #2- Google Maps on Twitter, #3- Royal Family via Twitter, #4- Tower of London via Twitter