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10 virtual tours you can take right now

Whether you’re missing out on a much-anticipated trip, or you just want to quench your travel thirst from your home, these 10 virtual tours collated by Lottie Gross offer the escapism we all need right now.

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Run with sheep in the Faroe Islands

Forget Google Street View, it’s all about Sheep View in the Faroe Islands. This remote archipelago was collectively upset when Google decided not to extend their Street View service to their long, lonely roads.

And so, in 2018, the clever marketing people on the Faroe Islands set up Sheep View instead, which involved strapping cameras to a bunch of free-roaming sheep for 360-degree views of its pristine countryside. The result is equal parts amusing and inspiring, with bumpy rides across green fields, over hilltops and along the stunning coastline. Google eventually cottoned on, though, and Street View is now also available for a smoother journey.

2

Take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Save yourself the €7 entry fee to the Eiffel Tower – and the 600-odd steps – and take a tour of this landmark for free, thanks to Google Arts and Culture. Not only can you soak in the view from the top on Street View, but you can also explore a collection of online exhibits that chart the building’s construction in the late 1800s, and see historical photographs of the 1900 Paris World Fair, which the landmark was built for.

3

Meet the Incas at Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is, by far, Peru’s most famous attraction. The ruins tell the story of a 15th-century Incan civilisation, and it has some of the most spectacular views of the precipitous Andes mountain range in all the country. No need to travel 6,000 miles to get there, though, as yourvisit.com has its own guided tour online. A narrator will regale you with the history while you can use your mouse to drag the camera for 360-degree views.

4

Explore Japan in VR

Tokyo’s Summer Olympics might be postponed to 2021, but this city is going nowhere, so take a virtual tour of Japan’s capital and beyond via YouTube. This 360-degree video is a brilliant showcase of the country’s highlights, from the bright red Tokyo Tower to the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine. Stand right in the middle of one of the busiest road crossings in the world, and hop on stage with some Kabuki theatre actors to become part of the play. This video is even more exciting if you’ve got a VR headset. 

5

Go on a safari in South Africa

Warning: you might well lose hours of your day with this one. There’s something truly special about seeing animals live and in the wild – even from your computer. On Explore.org, hundreds of live webcams from around the world are visible for anyone with a good enough internet connection. The highlight is South Africa, prime safari destination and home to some of the world’s most exciting wildlife. With 10 cameras to choose from, we’ve watched elephants rolling about at a watering hole in Tembe Elephant Park, and seen a baby antelope drink milk from its mother in Madikwe Game Reserve.

6

Walk around Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This world-famous temple in Cambodia draws huge crowds under normal circumstances. But today, it’s an eerie shadow of its former self, with very few tourists braving the complex. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, though, and with Google’s Arts and Culture section you can take a stroll around the 12th-century ruins. You’ll navigate along the main walkway that leads to the biggest temple, climb up its steps to see the intriguing carvings on the temple walls, and get 360-degree views of the leafy grounds.

7

Visit a virtual museum in Europe

Why limit your digital escapades to actual, physical destinations? Museument.com has launched its own virtual gallery dedicated to the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael. The Virtual Museum has a huge collection of his works, sorted by location from the stunning pieces in The Vatican to the paintings that can be found in the National Gallery or V&A in London. Click on each painting to reveal its name and key information.

8

Get cultured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The largest museum in the United States is currently closed, but that shouldn’t stop you exploring some of its most impressive spaces. The Met 360° Project has captured its grandeur from all angles so you can enjoy a stroll around the Great Hall, or see the ancient Egyptian artefacts in the Temple of Dendur. They’ve documented other fascinating locations too, such as The Met Cloisters in Fort Tyron Park and the Met Breuer in the Upper East Side.

9

Stop in at Buckingham Palace for tea, London

On most days, hordes of tourists gather outside the gates of Buckingham Palace hoping to get a glimpse of Her Majesty, or any member of the royal family. Very few people in the world can say they’ve actually been inside – until now. The Royal Collection Trust has created 360-degree photographs of various ornate and important rooms throughout the building, including the sumptuously red Throne Room and the grand, elegant Ballroom with its impressive chandeliers.

10

Become a cowboy in Bryce Canyon, Utah

Live out all your childhood cowboy or cowgirl dreams thanks to Bryce Canyon National Park, where rangers have created a 360-degree video of their horseback ride through the dramatic, rocky terrain. The video begins in a tight canyon as they trot over the orange-yellow rocks, and then the landscape opens out to reveal a valley of jutting rocks and lush green foliage. Use your mouse or finger to move the camera around – just don’t look down unless you’ve a head for heights!

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