Couch Culture: London Museum Virtual Tours

Got the Lockdown Blues?  Need a culture fix? Let me take you on a tour of London Museums with Virtual Tours. You don’t need to leave your home to see some the world’s greatest art objects.

London Museum Virtual Tours

Just because the museums are shut there is no reason not to visit a museum. Social distancing is not a problem when you explore with a laptop. No need to let quarantine keep you mentally cooped up. Let’s go on a virtual visit.

Couch Culture Museums with Virtual tours ornate golden model Tudor ship in Rijksmuseum

British Museum

Pop along to the British Museum website to explore their vast collection.  You can either search for objects or be guided by their excellent guides.  At some point you will find yourself on the Google Arts and Culture British Museum website that enable you to virtually walk through the galleries.  I would recommend starting on the the British Museum website itself as it guides you a little whilst the Google one just dumps you at the front door and expects you to find your own way.

Courtauld Gallery

London’s Courtauld Gallery is closed for complete renovation. If, like me, you miss the calm beauty of the collection or want to discover what will be back on show when the gallery reopens, then you can go on a 3D gallery tour of what the Courtauld looked like before the builders moved in.

National Gallery

London’s National Gallery has two free virtual tours that lets you wander round the Renaissance and early Renaissance works. You can can gaze at the gallery or dive in deep to individual works.  If you haven’t been able to see the incredible Artemisia exhibition there is a paid for curator tour of the show which is worth every penny.  

Natural History Museum

One of the hottest tickets in London museums at the moment is Fantastic Beasts: the Wonder of Nature at the Natural History museum, if your slot has been postponed due to lockdown then don’t fret as you can explore the exhibition virtually.  It is just one of fourteen ways that the Natural History Museum has to explore its collections online, if you’ve ever fancied having a David Attenborough take you round the Hintze Hall now is your chance.

Royal Academy

I confess that I’ve never really understood why so much fuss is made about Picasso until I saw Picasso and Paper at the Royal Academy.  He just created incredibly images all the time with whatever was to hand and was constantly thinking of new ways to do things.  You can explore Picasso and Paper in a virtual tour on the Royal Academy website.  If you fancy buying some art then take a look at the Summer Exhibition online where most exhibits were up for sale and there are still some left to buy.

Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection is one of my favourite museums in the whole wide world.  On the Wallace Collection website you can browse the collection clicking on individual works for a closer look.  There are also micro sites that offer deep dives into paintings like Frans Hals Laughing Cavalier and Fragonard’s Swing.

Worldwide Museum Virtual Tours

I may not have ventured far from my home this year but I have visited some of the world’s greatest cultural sites virtually. If you ever have a spare half hour can I commend spending it on the Google Arts and Culture website creating your own opera with Blob Opera.

Google Arts and Culture

Google has teamed up with 2,500 museums, galleries and places all over the world to create Google Arts and Culture.  You can go on Street View style tours of museums.  Swoop over Machu Picchu or stroll through the Uffitzi Gallery without having to queue or explore Scott’s hut in Antartica.  All those books that I intended to read whilst the museums are shut?  I can see that I will be spending hours visiting all the galleries I really, really want to travel to but don’t have enough time or money to get to.  

Hermitage, St Petersburg

I visited the Hermitage just after the fall of the Soviet Union and was blown away by its scale and magnificence. It is on my very long list of places I want to go back to, now I can without leaving my sofa. With a piece of fortuitous timing, Apple has just released a 5 hour continuous shot tour of the Hermitage in St Petersburg to promote the new iPhone 11 Pro.

Which Museums with Virtual Tours are your favourite? Do you have any favourite online cultural museums that I have missed?

London Museums with Virtual Tours don't let lockdown put culture on hold explore London Museums from the comfort of your own home


  1. March 21, 2020 / 9:25 am

    Such a good idea. It is great to keep ourselves and our minds occupied during this social physical distancing time.

    • March 23, 2020 / 2:06 pm

      Enjoy, there is so much to be seen out there

  2. Jo Guyott
    March 24, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    Catherine this is such a good idea. As you know history of art is my passion!

    • March 24, 2020 / 6:11 pm

      Thank you enjoy your virtual visiting

  3. March 30, 2020 / 8:15 pm

    Ah what an amazing list! I have been to a few of these but not all! Think it is great that museums are offering virtual experiences during this lockdown.

    • March 30, 2020 / 8:16 pm

      I agree they are doing fabulous stuff on social media too

  4. April 1, 2020 / 8:00 am

    This is a great idea. It could be a fun idea for parents to incorporate into home schooling too!

    • April 1, 2020 / 8:31 am

      Virtual museums would be an excellent inclusion to home schooling

  5. April 6, 2020 / 12:05 pm

    Thanks for putting this collection together. I definitely plan to use some of these links as part of our home schooling journey. #culturedkids

    • April 6, 2020 / 1:21 pm

      Home schooling certainly makes you appreciate teachers!

  6. April 6, 2020 / 3:57 pm

    Isn’t it wonderful that so many of the great museums and art galleries have opened themselves on the internet this way. I hadn’t heard of that museum of the world, do thanks for sharing this great list #CulturedKids

    • April 6, 2020 / 3:58 pm

      It is incredible what you can see from the comfort of your armchair

  7. April 6, 2020 / 9:08 pm

    I’ve been to quite a few of those. I might revisit without the crowds 😉 #Culturedkids

    • April 6, 2020 / 9:10 pm

      It feels like a private curator tour

  8. April 7, 2020 / 10:31 pm

    Love the collection, thank you so much Catherine! The Hermitage is on my wishlist for the Easter week-end and I bet on the Egyptian collection from Louvre for the boys! Great #CulturedKids inspiration as always, stay safe and well! X

  9. Shelley Whittaker
    April 8, 2020 / 1:59 pm

    How fabulous that all of these are available from the comfort of your sofa? I hope to check a few of them out over the coming weeks. I hope you are keeping well x #CulturedKids

    • April 9, 2020 / 1:43 pm

      We are all well and culturally occupied!

  10. April 14, 2020 / 12:00 pm

    I’m really enjoying these virtual tours, I spent a good hour or two on Google Arts exploring places all over the world. Great list, Catherine #culturedkids

    • April 21, 2020 / 11:12 am

      Really impressive, some have them have really embraced the virtual museum thing

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