Virtually London: things to do at home

You might not be able to visit London just yet, but that shouldn’t stop you enjoying the city’s culture – find the best things to do at home in London, from live streams and webcams to virtual experiences.
Four people on stage during a performance: one playing a guitar, another with a foot on a crate, one doing a back-flip, and the other crouched in the background.
Some Like it Hip Hop by Zoonation: The Kate Prince Company. Photo by Johan Persson. Image courtesy of Sadler's Wells.

Many venues in London are reopening with social distancing and safety measures in place, but some remain closed due to coronavirus. If you're not in London and are missing everything it has to offer, don’t worry...

London venues are streaming live events and performances, and there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the capital from your sofa: watch live webcams, take virtual tours in museums and galleries, and join online classes.

Live London concerts, streamed shows and recorded performances

Online concerts and music festivals

  • Expand your mind with Somerset House’s contemporary electronic and experimental music festival Assembly, which moves online in 2020. Until 11 Oct
  • Get your jazz hands ready for some top acts, as the EFG London Jazz Festival hosts Living in Two Worlds, a mix of on stage and online events, interviews, recordings and more. 13-22 Nov
  • Join the London Philharmonic Orchestra's free-to-view In the Stream of Life concerts, filmed live from its Southbank Centre home. Until 30 Dec
  • Be transported to "the Deep South", during Facebook Live Nashville Nights concerts from Under the Bridge, based at Chelsea FC’s home Stamford Bridge. Various dates
  • Help support London's smaller independent music venues with the Save Our Venues initiative. Concerts are free to stream but donations are encouraged. Various dates
  • Catch up on Glitterbox Virtual Festivals, events and DJ sets from London-based label Defected Records.
  • Learn more about musicians and other notable people from Brent, the Mayor's London Borough of Culture 2020, in a video series and reggae map, as part of Brent 2020 Unlocked.

Streamed shows and London theatre

  • Head over to Official London Theatre's YouTube channel for your fix of theatre, behind-the-scenes videos and interviews...
  • ...Including a series of videos from top shows such as Wicked to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Available on Sky VIP in September, before being hosted on the Official London Theatre YouTube channel. Until 23 Oct
  • Enjoy more than 40 online events as part of Southbank Centre's Inside Out series, mixing top names in comedy, literature and music. Many events are free, with others available for as little as £5. Until 30 Dec
  • Hear a global cast read complete Shakespearean works every week with The Show Must Go Online. Wednesdays at 7pm
  • Catch ballet or opera from Royal Opera House broadcast on BBC radio and television (UK only). Various dates
  • View full-length dance films and get to know dance companies with Digital Stage in Focus activities on Sadler’s Wells' Digital Stage.
  • Make use of free content on Globe Player, Shakespeare’s Globe’s online platform, which also offers recordings of its productions for a small fee.

Paid-for live streamed performances

  • Tonight at the London Coliseum streams live acoustic gigs and a new musical straight from the London Coliseum's well-trodden stage (£15). Until 23 Oct
  • Be transported, virtually, to the Barbican's stage with 12 Live from the Barbican performances from the likes of Sir Bryn Terfel, The Divine Comedy and Shabaka Hutchings (from £12.50). 4 Oct-13 Dec
  • Stream Royal Opera House shows such as Carmen and Macbeth as part of its #OurHouseToYourHouse series (from £2.50). Various dates

Online classes and workshops

Recipes and online cooking classes

Online art and craft workshops

  • Enjoy the best of King’s Cross’ creatives from the comfort of your home, with live masterclasses, webinars and competitions as part of its #KX2U series.
  • Feeling creative? Follow the V&A’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for weekly #LetsMakeWednesdays challenges.
  • From costume making, to hosting your own show or getting crafty with puppets, the Barbican’s Read, Watch, Learn activities are perfect for adults and bored kids.
  • Embrace your inner fashionista while brushing up on new techniques, as well as hearing from top designers, makers and curators, on the Fashion and Textile Museum’s blog.

Gardening tips and tricks

  • Keep your green fingers active with top tips from Covent Garden's Head Gardener and horticulture expert Kenny Raybould.

Keeping fit and mindful

  • Train like Anthony Joshua with Instagram sessions from his Chiltern Street boxing gym BXR London.  
  • Get the sweat flowing with Cirq’s 15-minute HIIT sessions. 
  • Take your pick from classes by Third Space's personal trainers and yoga teachers on IGTV. 
  • Catch up on JAB Boxing's boxing classes or punch your way to fitness with workouts from Kobox, on Instagram. 
  • No kit, no problem! Psycle is doing live workouts, including yoga and barre classes. 
  • Take time out to try free yoga and barre with FLY LDN
  • Find some inner calm during online meditation classes with daily sessions from Inner Space.
  • Join a five-minute meditation with National Gallery, based on artist Odilon Redon’s painting Ophelia Among the Flowers.
  • Soothe your soul with uplifting poetry from the National Poetry Library.

Live webcams of London

Keep watch on some of London’s top attractions with these webcams of London.

London virtual tours

Museum and gallery virtual tours

  • Visit the National Gallery without leaving the house – there are hundreds of paintings to explore, so put the kettle on and get ready for hours of exploration.
  • Step inside the beating heart of the UK government as you go behind the scenes on a virtual tour of the Houses of Parliament, including the famous House of Commons Chamber. 
  • Travel through time as you learn more about the objects that shaped history with the British Museum’s virtual tour.
  • Get expert takes on exhibits and delve into the stories hidden within the Royal Museums Greenwich through videos, talks and archived material. Or tune in to live Facebook talks with curators and special guests every Thursday.
  • Ride the underground Mail Rail, virtually, with The Postal Museum’s narrated 10-minute video.
  • Experience a mix of digital content from various art forms, regularly shared by the Barbican's Read, Watch & Listen programme.
  • See animal exhibits, Hope the whale and many other natural wonders of the Natural History Museum using the Google Arts & Culture tour.
  • Take a virtual tour of "Britain’s Sistine Chapel" and marvel at the Baroque interiors of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College.

Sightseeing in London

Online tour guides

  • Keep an eye out for London Walks' donation-only virtual tours. Other virtual tours are available for a small fee.
  • Delve into the history of some of London's much-loved areas with Alex Lacey's daily #GlobalTeaBreak on Instagram Live.
  • Follow Dani the Guide for quirky London history, its people and lesser-known stories.
  • Find out more about London areas, sights and its notable people with Guide Emily.
  • Join The Association Of Professional Tour Guides (APTG) for regular London-themed broadcasts on YouTube.

More things to do at home

Virtual events in London 

  • Step back in time with virtual talks from the likes of photographer Sir Don McCullin and Chelsea Pensioners, as part of the Chelsea History Festival. Until 27 Sep
  • Venture behind the scenes of iconic and lesser-known London buildings, as the annual Open House London festival includes films and podcasts to enjoy from home.  19-27 Oct
  • Celebrate London's river! Totally Thames has plenty of river-themed online activities to enjoy throughout September. Until 30 Sep
  • Go potty for photos, as Photo London moves online this year with exhibitions and events from contemporary galleries. 7-18 Oct
  • The BFI London Film Festival also takes to the digital stage in 2020, with free talks, exhibitions and more film-themed fun. 7-18 Oct
  • Join inspiring online talks and events that celebrate black culture and history during Black History Month. 1-31 Oct
  • Are you a bit of a foodie? Join chef Q&As and brush up your skills with online masterclasses as part of the month-long London Restaurant Festival. 1-31 Oct
  • Experience the Royal Docks' festival of culture and creativity, Join the Docks, in a new way this year. Its autumn programme promises to be full of online and socially distanced events and activities from artists and groups in the local area. Until 15 Dec

Find more virtual events with our guide to what's on each weekend in London.

London virtual exhibitions

Find more free art exhibitions and museum exhibitions to enjoy from home.

Free online quizzes and challenges

  • Assemble a team for a quiz about Tower Bridge, put together by a team of expert guides and historians.
  • Don your thinking caps as quizmasters including Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Lenny Henry host the National Theatre at Home Quiz.
  • Enjoy a quiz with a difference, as Sink the Pink’s outlandish LGBT+ quiz night moves to IGTV with its usual mix of cabaret, drag and cocktails.
  • Know your Mozart from your Monteverdi? Test your classical music knowledge each Tuesday with the London Symphony Orchestra’s quiz on Instagram Stories. Tuesdays
  • Create a new masterpiece to share each day with the #RADailyDoodle on Twitter, set by the Royal Academy.

London podcasts and talks

  • Go behind the scenes and explore the British Museum during its regular podcast.
  • Learn fun facts about the some of London's favourite parks and their inhabitants, from the St James’s Park pelicans and tiny bugs to Trooping the Colour, with the Royal Parks Podcast.
  • Enjoy a fresh perspective on identity from young Londoners in the VENT Weekly podcast as part of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture, in collaboration with VICE UK.
  • Delve into lesser-known stories of art icons and movements with Tate's regular Walks of Art podcasts.
  • Learn about the history of one of London's most famous landmarks with Tower Bridge podcasts.
  • Or join more City of London attractions for podcasts, talks and weekly round-ups as part of the Our City Together season of cultural activities.
  • Mingle with thinkers, artists and performers with Southbank Centre’s regular podcasts.
  • Gain insight from the world’s top playwrights in regular Royal Court Playwright’s Podcasts, including the co-writer of hit BBC3 series Normal People, Alice Birch.
  • Join Stephen Fry and the Barbican for a look at music, art, mental health and a combination of all three with regular The Art of Change podcasts.
  • Hear from world leaders and thinkers in the fields of science, engineering, health and business with Imperial College London's monthly podcast.
  • Learn more about the centre of government, from its furniture to sculptures, with free online talks from the Houses of Parliament.
  • Explore further into the British Library’s collections with talks and discussions on its YouTube channel.
  • Work through the history of the British Army, its conflicts and little-known stories with the National Army Museum’s live talks. Fridays at 12pm

London TV and movie nights

  • Join online watch parties, talks and workshops as Leytonstone Loves Film returns for 2020. Until 4 Oct
  • Snuggle up to free short films from BFI Player.
  • Relive classic London films from your collection, whether rom-coms Notting Hill and Love Actually, thrill-a-minute James Bond, or family favourites Paddington and Mary Poppins. 

Things to do at home with kids

Creative kids activities from home

  • Fancy bringing a touch of magic to your home? Have a go at film-making, costume design and more with Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
  • Experience the magic of Disney's West End shows with a range of fun crafts for kids, from mask-making for the Lion King to creating Mary Poppins storyboards.
  • Step into the Georgian era or the 1960s with fun tasks based around George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London.
  • Keep the kids' art skills as sharp as ever while at home with Tate's range of activities, from games to online and offline resources.
  • Get creative with book-themed fun with the British Library, from drawing The Gruffalo to making a tiny book.
  • Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage is hosting regular dance workshops for children and over-60s.

Fun learning ideas

  • Enjoy visiting the City of London from home, with everything from virtual exhibitions to activities for all ages.
  • Be transported to another world with learning resources created by scientists and astronomers from the Royal Observatory.
  • Mix art, science, coding and more with Royal Museums Greenwich's Cabin Fever: Maritime Home Learning.
  • Make the most of transport-inspired activities, quizzes, games and learning resources for children from the London Transport Museum.
  • Welcome to the Museum of Fundon... Take part in the Museum of London's family activities, from a Great Fire of London game and Roundhouse quiz, to puppetry.
  • Stage a royal coronation, make your own secret sign language and play navigation games online with Westminster Abbey.
  • Delve into history with the Imperial War Museums' new digital programme, Adventures in History, including virtual tours, collections and stories online. Or join the Family Mission every Friday at 11am on the museums' Twitter and Facebook channels, for challenges and fun activities.

Behind the scenes at London attractions

If you're chatting to friends and family online, you can experience London from home with stunning Zoom virtual backgrounds showing the best of the city.

Looking for more inspiration?

Make sure to head to Visit London’s IGTV to discover our London Stories video series, which shines a light on the people who make up the very fabric of the capital.

Plan ahead for things to do in London if you're not currently in the capital – from attractions, to key events and ideas for each month. We’ll see you again soon!