Virtually London: things to do at home

Six members of BalletBoyz gather in a dark space beneath a neon purple square light on stage.
BalletBoyz Deluxe streamed on Sadler's Wells Digital Stage. Credit: George Piper. Image courtesy of Sadler's Wells.
We may all be isolating at home but that shouldn’t stop us enjoying London’s culture – find the best things to do at home in London, from live streams and webcams to virtual experiences.

Attractions, theatres and other venues are currently closed due to coronavirus, but if you’re missing London, don’t worry...

Many London venues are now 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 streams

Live stream top performances, learn something new and find out how to keep fit and well during your time at home.

Streamed shows and online theatre in London

  • See the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes and Gillian Anderson in National Theatre at Home's performances, for free, every Thursday. Each show is also free to stream for a week afterwards. Thursdays at 7pm
  • Sing along to some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's biggest West End musicals with The Shows Must Go On, including The Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera. Fridays at 7pm
  • 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.
  • Catch the National Youth Theatre's live Sunday Sessions from young musicians on its YouTube channel. Sundays
  • Head over to Official London Theatre's YouTube channel for your fix of theatre, behind-the-scenes videos and interviews. 
  • Hear a global cast read complete Shakespearean works every week with The Show Must Go Online. Wednesdays at 7pm
  • Explore 100 years of gay history with LGBT+ theatre company Homos Promos' short operatic plays on Zoom. Email for an invite: email Tuesdays at 8pm and 9pm, until 23 Jun
  • Watch the world online premiere of The Beast Will Rise, a collection of monologues by Philip Ridley each week. Saturdays at 7pm
  • Fight against the threat of climate change during fast-paced theatre game experience The House Never Wins, as it arrives at Camden People’s Theatre. Until 23 May
  • Watch David Ireland’s hard-hitting black comedy Cyprus Avenue at the Royal Court Theatre, for free. Until 31 May
  • Download a free audiobook of play My Name is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney, as performed at The Bridge Theatre in 2018.

Live online concerts and recorded performances

  • Join the London Symphony Orchestra for full-length concerts from its archives, as part of its Always Playing series of streamed performances, playlists and interviews. Thursdays and Sundays
  • Tune in to the London Philharmonic Orchestra's online series of performances and playlists on LPOnline. Various dates
  • Settle down for a night of entertainment as the Royal Albert Hall launches #RoyalAlbertHome, with nightly streamed shows, direct from the homes of top artists. Various dates
  • Listen to The Prince of Egypt songs as Ghostlight Records releases its original cast recording on digital and streaming formats at @PrinceOfEgyptUK.
  • Have 20 minutes to spare? Join one of the Coffee Break Concerts delivered by performers from London-based opera company OperaUpClose. Every other Wednesday

Virtual dance, opera and comedy

  • Catch ballet or opera every Friday, streamed live on the Royal Opera House’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Options include The Magic Flute and Il Trittico. Fridays at 7pm
  • Enjoy free English National Ballet performances from home, including weekly Wednesday Watch Parties (Wednesdays at 7pm). Various dates
  • Watch full-length dance performances from Sadler’s Wells using its Digital Stage.
  • The likes of Jo Brand, Russell Kane and Professor Brian Cox are putting on live comedy and podcasts during The Stay at Home Festival – the shows are free but tips are welcome! Various dates

Online classes and workshops

  • Follow top tips from Seven Dials shops with free online tutorials, from hair and beauty to cooking and jewellery, as part of Seven Dials @ HomeVarious dates
  • From cooking to crafting, Carnaby's shops and restaurants are on hand to give your inspiration at home.
  • 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 seriesVarious dates
  • Keep your green fingers active with top tips from Covent Garden's Head Gardener and horticulture expert Kenny Raybould. Weekly
  • Be transported (albeit virtually) to iconic Battersea Power Station, where Battersea at Home bundles up recipes, fitness tips and Boredom Busters. Various dates
  • Join the Saatchi Gallery as selected artists and art educators host #SaatchiArtClub workshops and discussions on Instagram Live. Mondays to Fridays at 2pm
  • Find out about Japanese culture and its delicious food by logging on to the Japan Centre’s blog pageDaily
  • Get creative, as the Wellcome Collection's Zine Club moves to Instagram Live. Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm
  • Recreate your favourite Chinatown dishes at home with #BringingChinatownHome.
  • Go behind the scenes of iconic Regent Street shops and restaurants, including tasty recipes from The Langham and Sakagura, and Untold Stories from retailers.
  • Tune in to Cahoots London's Instagram for a cocktail making masterclass.
  • Enjoy Leake Street Arches from home, as you watch exclusive music performances and join graffiti tutorials via #LeakeStreetLive. Thursdays
  • Sing along to pop hits with London-wide choir Some Voices. Its free virtual singing sessions take place each Wednesday on YouTube. Wednesdays at 7pm 

Have fun and gain new skills while staying at home with more online learning experiences.

Keeping fit and mindful

  • Lose yourself in a yoga class. Hotpod and Digme are among many studios streaming live workouts.
  • Find some inner calm during online meditation classes with daily sessions from Inner Space.
  • Keep in shape with free classes from Carnaby’s fitness studios, including Sweaty Betty and Heatcore, or listen to triyoga’s podcasts for workout tips.
  • Keep those muscles toned with live streamed classes across the capital, including Barry’s Bootcamp and Third Space.
  • Get a pump on with Matt Roberts Evolution's free 20-minute at-home workout videos.
  • Join in with JAB Boxing's daily boxing classes via its Instagram channel.
  • Check out Sport England's hub for helping you to keep active at home and join the #StayInWorkOut movement.
  • Keep an eye out for morning meditation and motivation sessions with #LeakeStreetLive. Various dates
  • Join a five-minute meditation with National Gallery, based on artist Odilon Redon’s painting Ophelia Among the Flowers.
  • Stay book smart and make use of online content and a range of services from The British Library.
  • Soothe your soul with uplifting poetry from the National Poetry Library, which has released 12 poems relating to life in lockdown.

Discover more online fitness classes in London and stay active with virtual dance classes.

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.
  • Explore the London Transport Museum's collection without moving from your armchair, including iconic transport-themed posters with Poster Power.
  • 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.
  • Find out how Winston Churchill masterminded victory from his secret wartime bunker, on an interactive virtual tour of Churchill War Rooms.
  • Browse more than 200,000 works in the National Portrait Gallery's online collection.
  • Virtually take a look at the Wellcome Collection's eclectic exhibits spanning art, medicine and science, with its online collection.

Check out more #virtualmuseum tours and #museumsfromhome on Twitter.

Sightseeing in London

Online tour guides

  • Tour London areas alongside Blue Badge guides Katie Wignall on #LookUpLondonLive tours.
  • Delve into the history of some of London's much-loved areas with Alex Lacey's daily #GlobalTeaBreak on Instagram Live. Mondays to Fridays at 3pm
  • Join London guide Pepe Martinez on Instagram for regular London "chit chats" and fascinating facts.
  • Follow Dani the Guide for quirky London history, its people and lesser-known stories.
  • Join Miss Magpie Tours for a musical take on London sightseeing in regular Instagram videos.
  • 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. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm

More things to do at home 

Explore London’s cultural hotspots and take to the streets without moving an inch using these virtual tours.

Virtual events in London

  • Missed going to the market? Shop with more than 80 market traders during Greenwich Market's virtual experience. Various dates
  • Join Thrive Wellness Festival’s yoga, workout and cook-along sessions during two weeks of activities. Until 22 May
  • Gaze into the viewing rooms of the online London Original Print Fair, with an interactive map of its 51 exhibitors. Until 31 May
  • World-famous Chelsea Flower Show has moved online this year: peek into designers' own gardens, find top tips and join Q&As. 18-23 May
  • Celebrate Amici Dance Company’s 40th Anniversary with streams of some of its best performances by disabled and non-disabled performers. 18-23 May
  • You may not be able to run the Hackney Half-Marathon this year, but you can register to run a 5k or half-marathon in your local area for Hackney Moves for Heroes. By 5 Jun 
  • Love London's buildings? Don't miss a whole month of online activities, as the annual London Festival of Architecture switches online. 1-30 June
  • Check out the latest trends and talks in fashion, as London Fashion Week goes virtual – bringing together its womenswear and menswear shows. 12-14 June
  • Get involved in online music lessons, virtual choirs and the Live from Home Challenge as part of Make Music Day21 Jun
  • Veg out from home as you enjoy all things vegan, with performances, live streams and cooking demos at VegfestUK Summerfest Online. 15-16 Aug

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 every Friday, put together by a team of expert guides and historians. Fridays
  • Don your thinking caps as quizmasters including Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Lenny Henry host the National Theatre at Home Quiz. Various dates
  • Enjoy a Thursday night in with a difference, as Sink the Pink’s outlandish LGBT+ quiz night moves to IGTV with its usual mix of cabaret, drag and cocktails. Thursdays at 7pm
  • Test your knowledge of Soho in the Spirit of Soho quiz, for a chance to win vouchers to spend in Soho shops and restaurants after the lockdown. Daily
  • 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.
  • Take on Thames Clippers’ Thames Teasers challenges, from designing your own boat to sharing memories. Ongoing
  • Sing, dance, and laugh through lockdown, with theatre and dance-themed #EveryHomeATheatre challenges from Mousetrap Theatre Projects.

London podcasts

  • Go behind the scenes and explore the British Museum during its regular podcast.
  • 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.
  • Explore film from a female perspective with BFI’s podcast Girls on Film, featuring interviews with top film actors. 26 May and 23 June at 6.30pm
  • 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.
  • Explore London with Jo Good and her bulldog Matilda in Dogs and the City on BBC Sounds (BBC account required).
  • Hear from world leaders and thinkers in the fields of science, engineering, health and business with Imperial College London's monthly podcast.

Online festivals and music

  • Get the weekend off to the perfect start with daytime Glitterbox Virtual Festival and Defected Virtual Festival DJ sets, from London-based label Defected Records. Various Fridays
  • Missing your festival fix? Junction 2 has moved online with three stages and six hours of exclusive DJ sets from some of the world’s top house and techno artists. 6 Jun from 4pm to 10pm
  • 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.

London TV and movie nights

  • Snuggle up to free short films from BFI Player.
  • Binge on London-themed box sets on BBC iPlayer, such as Fleabag, Luther, Spooks and Sherlock. (UK only)
  • Find a comfy position and join a virtual in-home screening of Secret Cinema’s most celebrated films with Secret Sofa every Friday. Fridays at 7.30pm
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Watch as the zookeepers at London Zoo reveal behind-the-scenes footage in their London Lockdown Diaries series.
  • Or see how hungry pelicans snap up their lunch during feeding time in St James's Park.
  • In addition to shows, Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage is hosting regular dance workshops for children and over-60s.
  • Enjoy visiting the City of London from home, with everything from virtual exhibitions to activities for all ages.
  • 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.
  • Look out for South Westminster BIDs' Virtual Event Series, including yoga and storytelling for the kids, and meditation and cooking classes for mums and dads.
  • 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.

Discover more fun and educational things to do with bored kids. And 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.

Check back later for even more ideas for things to do at home in London during the coronavirus pandemic. And make sure to plan ahead for things to do in London later in the year – from attractions, to key events and ideas for each month. We’ll see you again soon!