Feeling trapped in your own home?
That doesn’t mean you’re not free to explore the very best of art and culture. The world’s top museums, galleries and websites have come up with some creative solutions to the problem of access.
Here’s a list of the most interesting online experiences around.
Walking tours of London
London is one of the oldest cities in the world. And with a dark and bloody history, it’s an endlessly fascinating place to explore.
(Image: Lookup London Live)
Having lived there for many years, my advice to visiting friends is to make time for a walking tour. Not only is it tremendous fun, you also learn some surprising insights into the history of the city.
Local tour guides Look Up London are hosting virtual walking tours of London’s most fascinating districts.
Guide Katie shares stories from the long histories of places like Bethnal Green, Trafalgar Square and Mayfair. I highly recommend taking a look.
Explore the British Museum
My favourite thing about the British Museum isn’t the ever-changing exhibits. It's not the huge array of artefacts from all over the world. It’s not even the famous mummies.
(Image: British Museum)
It’s the fact that it is totally free to visit.
One of the great joys of visitng London is stepping off the tube at Holborn knowing you have a full day of discovery ahead of you – and it won’t cost you a penny.
The museum is of course closed for now. But you can explore some of its exhibits using an interactive app developed with Google Arts and Culture. Jump back and forward through time, across different continents and discover the history of the museum’s remarkable archive.
Tour the Rijksmuseum
Take an interactive tour of Amsterdam’s celebrated Rijksmuseum, home to some of the most celebrated works of the Dutch Golden Age.
Along the way a guide will explain the history of the works on display and the story of the building itself.
I’m all for silver linings in these troubled times. If nothing else, getting to gaze at Rembrandt’s The Night Watch without a crowd in front of you is pretty special.
Stroll round the Guggenheim
The Guggenheim is New York’s premiere contemporary art gallery.
This singular institution boasts one of the most spectacular spaces for viewing contemporary art anywhere in the world. Take a virtual stroll along its iconic spiralling corridor, taking in works from top tier artists like Catherine Navarro and Jonas Wood.
Take in Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology
Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology is filled with artefacts from Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage.
(Image: Museo Nacional de Antropología)
Through Google Arts and Culture you can take in sights that, in the past would have cost you at least a pricey plane ride – such as the remarkable Aztec Sun Stone.
Visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
The sheer breadth of exhibits in the Smithsonian Museum complex is quite breathtaking.
(Image: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
There’s no other place I can think of where you can see Moon rockets, dinosaurs and the red shoes Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz. The National Museum of Natural History is hosting a virtual tour, where you can experience some of its most famous exhibits. This is well worth a look.
Ride London's Mail Rail
London’s Postal Museum is a must-visit for numismatists.
(Image: Postal Museum)
One of the city’s most unique attractions is the subterannean Mail Rail, which carried post across London from 1927 until 2003. You can take a unique tour of London's other "Underground" network on the museum’s site.
Hear the Museum of Portable sound
The Museum of Portable Sound is the creation of artist John Kannenberg.
(Image: Museum of Portable Sound)
The collection is housed on an iPhone and includes an eclectic selection of sounds from a huge variety of sources. These include the sound of the toilet in Sigmund Freud’s home in Vienna, the first ever recording of a human voice and the noise of the escalator in the Shard.
Meet the Dogs of Chernobyl
For those with a love of both history and animals, Airbnb’s Dogs of Chernobyl tour provides a virtual live exploration of the infamous reactor site with the bonus of meeting the dogs who call Pripyat home.
After taking in a local animal sanctuary, the tour moves to the site of the disaster - now covered by a vast dome. It’s a glimpse into a hidden world and an experience that would likely not exist without the present situation.
See the Louvre
The Louvre is one of the world’s most celebrated museums, with a seriously impressive collection of historic art.
On the museum’s site you can take four tours that explore different aspects of the collection as well as the architecture of the building itself. If you’ve visited before you’ll know the queues, particularly in the Mona Lisa room, are out of control. Take this opportunity to experience the world’s most celebrated painting in perfect silence.
PS. Did I miss your favourite off the list? Let me know at email@example.com