It’s the Christmas holidays. The country is largely straddling between Tiers 2 and 3. School trips have been put on hold for almost a year. Hurrah for the virtual world! From the warmth of our living rooms, we can still explore museums, zoos and castles. What’s more, we can discover the best the whole world has to offer: not just those attractions that are within a tolerable school bus ride away. And we get to immerse ourselves in a completely new and exciting way. The virtual universe is offering children exciting ways to learn about history, nature, art and culture from across the globe. From getting up close and personal to a blue whale, to peeking into secret rooms in the Houses of Parliament which are ordinarily out-of-bounds.
GoodtoKnow has compiled a great list of the best free virtual tours for kids. We’ve weaved together some of their recommendations with own below.
The Natural History Museum, London, UK. Take their virtual venture into the life of the blue whale while exploring the deep oceans; flick through the awe-inspiring, and often comical photos from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition; or simply take a trip through the museum itself with their virtual tour.
The British Museum, London, UK. Explore the museum through its virtual tour, or alternatively, browse the totally impressive Museum of the World online tour, where you’re presented with large selections of the museum. You can search through the exhibits by date, continent and category (art and design, trade and conflict etc). Each one comes with accompanying audio, offering a truly fascinating backstory to each piece.
San Diego Zoo, USA. This world famous zoo attracts more than 3.2 million visitors a year. To make up for their closure during the pandemic, they’ve installed live cams through their website.
London Zoo, UK. Another fabulous world-famous zoo with webcams and live streams, but also zoo keeper diary updates and behind-the-scenes footage, allowing you to get up close and personal with the animal world in an entirely new way. Check out the London Zoo YouTube channel too. This brings you footage of baby animals in action and you can learn more about the conservation work carried out by the Zoo.
Woburn Safari Park, UK. Take a virtual visit to this awe-inspiring safari park created by the award-winning Circus team. Choose the Road or Foot Safari and navigate your way through the different lands to meet the animals through beautiful imagery. You can even stand in the enclosures with the predators if you’re feeling brave!
The Houses of Parliament, London, UK. Visit this historical institution through its first ever 360 walkthrough. Step into the shoes of the Prime Minister, Speaker, Opposition Leader. Wander corridors and rooms which are steeped in history. Even get to see areas normally off-limits to the public. The VR experience has made learning fun, and you get to discover a whole spectrum of key features, from the despatch boxes to the voting lobbies, at your own pace.
The Royal Opera House, London, UK. The 360 virtual tour of the stunning Royal Opera House showcases the venue’s most prestigious performance spaces. It invites children and adults alike to enter and explore, to absorb its cultural heritage, to sit in its cafes, and experience night time on its famous Terrace. You can even choose your own music in the Linbury Theatre!
Supreme Court, London, UK. The place where the most important legal decisions in the land are made. This virtual tour aims to open this all-important venue to the public, allowing you to explore the rooms where everything happens, and to learn about the history of this all-important building.
The World of Harry Potter, UK. Enter the wizarding world by exploring the places J.K. Rowling’s magic cosmos was based on. Your kids may be budding writers or just major HP fans. Either way, this is wonderful for the imagination. Discover the real Diagon Alley, the cozy cafe in Edinburgh where the stories were first imagined, and Platform 9¾ that took the budding witches and wizards to Hogwarts.
Goodrich Castle, UK. Step into England’s history through this stunning virtual tour, another by the Circus team. One of English Heritage’s top attractions, explore the historic fort and take a pole-top 360 view from above the main turret.
Windsor Castle, UK. One more great experience for children that are fascinated by history. This is the largest occupied castle in the world – used by the Queen both privately at weekends and for formal duties such as State Visits. The Tour is set up for a state banquet no less. You can zoom in, out and around and learn more about each room through the “i” icons.
Buckingham Palace, London, UK. Peek inside the Queen’s royal residence. For kids interested in fashion, this tour brings the works. Originally commissioned in honour of London Fashion Week 2018, extravagant clothes are found on display in the rooms.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. If your little one has an interest in painting or even an upcoming school project on Van Gogh, this is a fabulous opportunity to see his incredible work close up. “Sunflowers”, “Irises” and many of his paintings hang here. Take a trip through the galleries and explore the world of this astonishing artist, through this virtual tour.
The National Gallery, London, UK. Take a walk through the Renaissance era and discover over 300 of their paintings in their virtual tour. What’s more, the National Gallery’s Instagram page offers tutorials with creative activities to keep your kids entertained. Like how to create your very own Van Gogh’s Sunflowers piece using flowers from your local walk!
Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA. Take a look at the museum’s most impressive art works through its online collection. You can explore the worlds of artists including Piet Mondrian, Jeff Koons and Pablo Picasso.
We hope this helps to keep your kids informed, entertained, and most important of all – happy – during these Christmas holidays!
And if you’d like to explore what Circus can do for you in the virtual world, please contact our award-winning team today.