Travel Plans gone bust?Take a virtual tour of these top UK tourist attractions.

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A worldwide lockdown doesn’t have to bring back the fear of missing out on your dream  holiday you had planned months back.

Why not make the most of your stay -at- home time and enjoying your day as best as possible?

From Buckingham Palace to the Lake District National Park: Take a virtual tour to these top UK tourist attractions from the comfort of your own home – thanks to amazing interactive virtual tours and webcams.

Featured below are UK’s top online tours for royal residences, museums and galleries, national parks and more thanks to the incredible webcams and virtual tours on their websites.

 

The National Gallery

The National Gallery, in collaboration with Google Street View, has an online tour of its fascinating paintings across seven of its rooms and its central hall.

According to the gallery, those logging on can look at ‘Renaissance masterpieces from Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, including works by Titian, Veronese, and Holbein’.

To take an online tour, visit www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/virtual-tours.

 

The Beatles Abbey Road 360

An incredible interactive panoramic image by britishtours.com allows you to explore the instantly recognisable graffitied sign and zebra crossing outside London’s Abbey Road Studios – made famous by The Beatles.

By zooming around, you can see the leafy streets of North London and a family trying to recreate the famous Abbey Road album cover.

To check out the image, visit www.britishtours.com/360/beatles-abbey-road.

 

Victoria & Albert Museum

London’s V&A Museum doesn’t offer an interactive virtual tour, but you can browse static images of some of the stunning artefacts that it has showcased via its website.

The museum says: ‘From ancient Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses, take an incredible journey through 5,000 years of human creativity with our online collections.’

To peruse the V&A collections, visit https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections?type=featured.

 

The Royal Academy of Arts’ online drawing class

If you want to brush up on your art skills, The Royal Academy of Arts’ website has an online life drawing tutorial.

The anatomy class was originally broadcast in February 2019 and features a male model as well as a miniature horse.

To have a go at the class, visit www.royalacademy.org.uk/article/watch-life-drawing-live-anatomy-class. And have some paper and a pencil to hand.

 

Tate Britain

The works on display at the Tate Britain can be explored thanks to the gallery’s collaboration with Google Street View.

There are also more than 270 items in its collection that can be viewed on the site.

To meander past the Tate Britain’s works, visit artsandculture.google.com/partner/tate-britain.

 

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo might be off-limits for now, but you can still keep an eye on the antics of some of the animals there thanks to a series of live webcams.

The cams have been placed in the enclosures of the pandas, penguins, tigers and koalas. Don’t worry if you can’t see the animals at first – they may just be lurking out of shot.

To keep up to date with the creatures, log on to www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/webcams.

 

British Museum

The British Museum’s collection spans over two million years of human history – and it can be explored online.

Thanks to Google Street View, history buffs can view artefacts including the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies.

To step inside a digital version of the museum visit artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-british-museum.

 

Hidcote Manor Gardens

Located in the Gloucestershire village of Hidcote Bartrim, Hidcote Manor Gardens is a series of outdoor spaces brimming with colourful plants and flowers.

And thanks to a bloomin’ marvellous 360-degree interactive feature on the National Trust website, you can wander amongst them from the comfort of your own lockdown HQ. Turn on the sound effects to hear birds chirping.

To gaze upon the wonders of nature visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote/features/hidcote-virtual-tours.

 

Lake District National Park

The stunning Lake District National Park has a series of webcams placed at its most beautiful sights.

By logging on, you can see live scenes from Windermere, Conniston Water, Derwentwater, Ullswater, Keswick and Skiddaw.

To check them out, visit www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/webcams-videos-and-photos/webcams.

 

Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle, in Kent, has a stunning array of gardens and is best known for its blooms of white roses in the summer.

And on the National Trust website, keen gardeners can explore both the rose garden and courtyard as well as the library in the castle’s stable.

To see more, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden/features/sissinghurst-castle-virtual-tours.

 

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey is a Jacobean-style house with gardens and a working mill in Cambridgeshire.

Online, you can take a tour of the original dining room, formal garden and tapestry hall.

To start exploring, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey-gardens-and-lode-mill/features/anglesey-abbey-virtual-tours.

 

Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens

Two of London’s most famous parks, Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens, can be explored via Google Street View.

You can tour Hyde Park’s education centre as well as meander around its footpaths and see Kensington Palace, the official home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

To get exploring, visit www.royalparks.org.uk/learn/learn-in-hyde-park-and-kensington-gardens/planning-your-visit/our-facilities/virtual-tour.

 

A la Ronde

A La Ronde is an 18th-century, 16-sided house located in Lympstone, Devon, that is owned by the National Trust.

Online there is a virtual tour of its ornate shell gallery and cosy drawing room as well as a panoramic view across the River Exe from its gantry.

To take a peek, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/a-la-ronde/features/a-la-ronde-virtual-tours.

 

Giant’s Causeway

The rugged landscape of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is a sight to behold – in real life and online.

On the National Trust website you can take a virtual tour of the landmark from four different angles – the Grand Causeway, Aird Snout, Giant’s Port and Port Noffer.

To check it out, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/features/take-a-virtual-tour-of-the-giants-causeway and remember it comes complete with the sounds of crashing waves and birds.

 

Buckingham Palace

Royal fans can venture inside Buckingham Palace and explore three of the rooms – from their own home.

They can discover the Throne Room, the White Drawing Room and the Grand Staircase. Users can click on the icons to learn more about the rooms and the objects in them.

To catch a sneak peek, visit www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace.

 

Palace of Holyroodhouse

It’s not just the Queen’s official residence you can tour virtually.

You can also discover three of the rooms at her official Scottish home, the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The rooms you can explore are the Grand Stair, the Morning Drawing Room and the Royal Dining Room.

To see the rooms, visit www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-palace-holyroodhouse.

 

Houses of Parliament

No area of the Houses of Parliament is off-limits in this 360-degree virtual tour.

Online you can discover parts of the grand, historic building, including the Central Lobby, the Peers’ Corridor, the Robing Room, the Royal Gallery and both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

To step inside, visit www.parliament.uk/visiting/virtualtour/.

 

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Brighton’s Royal Pavilion has a virtual tour of four of its rooms, with each providing a 360-degree angle.

Not only will those logging on get to see inside the banqueting room, great kitchen, music room and the usually off-limits red drawing room, you can also listen to an audio guide.

To find out more, visit brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/whattosee/virtual-tour/.

 

Canterbury Cathedral

There are several areas of Canterbury Cathedral that the public can enjoy online.

These are the crypt, the quire, the nave and Trinity Chapel.

To start a tour, visit www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/information/tour/.

 

RAF Museum

The RAF Museum in London has virtual tours of several of its collections and exhibitions.

These include the Grahame White Watch Office, the historic hangars and Bomber Hall.

To fly in, log on to www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/things-to-see-and-do/virtual-tours.aspx.

 

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum has a collaboration with Google Street View so naturalists can explore the venue from home.

Large parts of the museum can be discovered, although some of the exhibits in the pictures may have changed since the tour was generated.

To virtually visit the museum, visit artsandculture.google.com/partner/natural-history-museum.

 

Stonehenge

Bring the mysteries of Stonehenge in Wiltshire onto your computer screen thanks to the English Heritage website 360-degree tour.

It puts you inside the monument – with clickable white circles revealing more about the unfathomable structure.

To explore, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/stonehenge360/.

 

 

Stay home-stay Safe. This too shall pass.

-Madhavi

 

 

 

OS-DailyMail.co.uk

 

 

Family friendly holidays

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Summer is just a few months away. It’s about time to plan that vacay with the family. Travelling with your wee ones need not just be mainly resorted to theme parks. Some ccities make great getaways—short or long—for families. They are hubs for direct flights, ample accommodations, top-notch restaurants and iconic, innovative attractions as well as some of them provide a touch of history, making them both educational and fun and appealing to all ages.

So let’s dust off your passport and pack up your kids for adventures in these family-friendly world cities.

Orlando

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Why it’s great for kids: Orlando’s an absolute paradise for kids of all ages, with home to not one but four action-packed Disney theme parks.

Put it on your itinerary: The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve explored Disney World, as the Kennedy Space Center is just a short drive from Orlando. The kid-friendly museum displays America’s space rockets and even lets you touch a piece of moon rock! The museum’s located on Florida’s Space Coast, which boasts tons of gorgeous beaches. However, when it comes to nature, it’s not just sandy shores that impress children and parents alike. Florida’s famous for its marshlands, and the whole family can glide through the swamps on an air boat. Be sure to keep an eye out for gators!

London

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Why it’s great for kids: With a host of historical attractions and many contemporary exhibits, the British capital city just screams ‘kid-friendly’.  There’s no language barrier, the food is kid-friendly (those chips!), and there’s lots to do around one of the major characters of modern childhood—Harry Potter.

Put it on your itinerary: Many of London’s main attractions, like the Tower of London and the British Museum, are geared to be family-friendly, so they’re incredibly interesting for both you and your little ones. Your kids will love spotting red telephone boxes, exploring Tower Bridge and following the River Thames as it meanders across the capital. If any of you are Harry Potter fans, you’ll all be in your element at the Warner Bros Studio Tour; and just outside of the city are theme parks like Lego land and Chessington World of Adventures which are easily accessible by public transport. There are also plenty of whimsically themed high tea experiences (try the Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Sanderson) and endless free museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.

Cancun

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Why it’s great for kids: You’ll get the best of both worlds — a bustling city culture and a beach vacation.

Put it on your itinerary: Parque de Palapas, the city’s central park, offers food carts, performances, and the kiddo essential, playgrounds. Mercado 28 is a bustling marketplace where you and the kids can bargain for local treasures to bring home. Isla de Mujeres lets you get away from the city’s hustle and bustle with a trip out to this laid-back island just off the coast — the Garrafon Reef Park there lets you swim with dolphins or stingrays or take a ride on a zip line. When you’re not busy lazing on the beach, make sure you head out to tour Chichén Itzá, the Mayan Ruins nearby.

Copenhagen

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Why it’s great for kids: Denmark’s capital is literally a fairy-tale city — it’s where Hans Christian Andersen wove his classics, like The Little Mermaid. And if your kids are even mildly Lego-obsessed, they’ll probably be thrilled at a chance to visit the country where the blocks were first created.

Put it on your itinerary: Copenhagen is home to the Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park that is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s amusement parks. With gorgeous gardens and architecture and one of the world’s oldest still-in-use wooden roller coasters the Tivoli gardens, with rides and games, is an awesome place to take kids of all ages, and adults that want to indulge the kid in them! There are roller coasters for older children and kiddie rides for wee ones. And if your children don’t like rides, there are musical performances and pantomimes to enjoy. When it’s lit up at night, the park is a joy to stroll through.

Other than Tivoli Gardens, children will enjoy viewing the statue of the Little Mermaid from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and posing for a photo with her. Watching the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace is wonderful. And if you and your family are looking for a green space to enjoy, the King’s Garden is the ideal place to go. You can picnic on the grounds and enjoy some chill time here. Copenhagen is a fun destination and very family-friendly.

Dubai

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Why it’s great for kids: Full of architectural superlatives, the Emirate with the tallest building (Burj Khalifa), vastest sand desert, and largest mall, is great for adventure, relaxation, and even good old-fashion theme park fun.

Put it on your itinerary: The city isn’t all fancy cars and glittering skyscrapers (although there are plenty of both). It’s also home to adventures your kids (and you!) will love, from feeding a three-foot-wide turtle at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project to catching a free show at Dubai’s massive musical fountains. Once you venture outside the city limits, there are camel rides, sand skiing (think of it as hot-weather sledding!), and dune-bashing (where your Jeep guns it over sand hills, so you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster) through the Arabian Desert. Check in at Atlantis The Palm for loads more family-friendly activities: There’s the Middle East’s largest water park, an aquarium holding more than 65,000 creatures, and evening programming for kids age 3-12  You can also explore the souks of Old Dubai where you can shop for textiles, spices, and even gold on the streets alongside the Dubai Creek.

Sydney

Sydney

Why it’s great for kids: Sydney is one of the most family friendly cities in Australia. The city has plenty of things to do for all the ages. For the smaller kids, there are extraordinary zoos, great aquariums, wildlife parks, plenty of playgrounds and there is even a Luna Park as well.

Put it on your itinerary: Admit it: You’ve always wanted to visit Australia. If your kids are old enough to make it through the long plane ride out there, now’s the time: There’s plenty to make you feel like a giddy little kid, from being blown away by the Scienceworks Museum to checking out the march of the penguins at Phillip Island to seeing the forest and fern gullies from the century-old Puffing Billy Steam Railway. There is a ferry trip on the Sydney Harbour, iconic Sydney Opera House to explore, Darling Harbour, tonnes of museums, Blue Mountains, beautiful beaches and even a Haunted Sydney walking tour to check out. Sydney Aquarium is home to more than 12,000 marine animals, including dugongs (sea cows). And there are a ton of ways to see Sydney’s sights, whether you and your family venture up to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or Skywalk on a glass-floored platform above the city.

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The fact is that kids — even young ones — love traveling for the same reasons we do: They get to have a new routine, spend time with the people they love, and eat fun snacks. Plus the parents get to experience places that can make them feel like a child again, which is gratifying.

 

-M

 

 

PC:Pinterest;WaltDisney;VisitLondon;LonelyPlanet

 

A New York state of mind !

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This isn’t my first time in New York but still whenever someone asks me what they should see and do in New York, I’m almost always stumped for an answer.

I mean besides the obvious touristy places /things, how can I sum up my answer? New York isn’t just any other big city. It’s an experience.

New York emits a mixed response from people. The crowds that throng this city is unbelievable. Some just love the crazy vibe the city has, and others hate it.

There are a million things that you can do in New York City that if I start talking, I wouldn’t know when to stop. After all, it is known as the city that never sleeps.

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But let me begin by saying that you better be prepared for walking a lot! A lot, a lot, a lot!! I mean you definitely can hail a yellow cab, just like in the movies and all, but who wants to see NY from a cab window, come on !

New York traffic can really leave you exhausted; not to mention the cab fare which can add up and get expensive in the long run.

Subway is your best bet and the 7 Day Metro Pass card will give you the best bang for your buck. And sometimes, Uber and Lyft are better options since most of the time, they are cheaper than regular cabs.

Speaking of traveling by Subway, be prepared to spend a little time figuring out which train goes where. Although I have traveled by Subway several times, it does get a little confusing for me. Figuring out the direction I need to take rattles me but then I figured out that doing a recee first on the google maps helps in taking the best possible route. Also downloading the NY Subway app on your phone can be really helpful.

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While there are the definite,’Things to do in NY’ such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building , Rockefeller center- the Top of the Rocks a 3-tiered observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza, that offers a great view of Manhattan, Chinatown, SOHO, the numerous Museums , the list is endless, but most of these attractions are chargeable . But surprisingly there are also so many things that you can do for free.

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Some Museums have free entry on certain days/ times. Or you can catch The Staten Island Ferry which is a Free commuter ferry that travels back and forth from the Whitehall Terminal at the tip of Manhattan to the St. George Terminal on Staten Island. You can catch a stunning view of the city as well as the Statue of Liberty while on the Ferry. This is such a great alternative especially if you do not wish to buy tickets and go to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty or have already done that in your previous trips.

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Apart from this, popular places like Central Park, Bryant Park, Battery Park, Grand Terminal station ( an Icon) the 9/11 Memorial and Museum , Wall Street and its cobbled streets,  taking a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge , or DUMBO (The neighborhood of Dumbo is a beautiful place to visit. It has cobbled streets, vintage brick buildings, sits under the Brooklyn bridge and sports some sweet street art. Just walking around this area is a real treat). The HighLine which passes through Chelsea market and the nearby honeycomb structure  ‘The Vessel’ are all free activities.

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Stretching out underneath the Highline you’ll find a plethora of art galleries. These galleries are funky and weird as hell. They’re free to enter and some are big. This may be one of the most underrated things to do in New York City.

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Other than the tourist spots there are numerous other places of interest such as the ‘house from FRIENDS‘ in West village, or the the fact that Macy’s the trendsetter store covers an entire block with 11 levels of fashion for you and your home.

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NY has some of the hippest restaurants and rooftop bars that exude the vibe of this vibrant city.

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Of course there are many more sights that I haven’t included in this post, as I feel there will always be something I may leave behind.

You can somewhat relate to the quote from the movie Forrest Gump – “Life is a box full of chocolates, you never know which one you get”

Such is New York- Always a little mysterious, a little sweet and a whole lot saucy!!

 

Madhavi

 

 

PC:Lonelyplanet;NYTimes,Personal