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The best 360-degree UK museum tours you can take at home 2

a mosaic of screenshots of museum virtual tours

We reckon we’ve got enough virtual-360-degree-panorama-museum-tours in this round up to keep you going until Christmas…

Let’s be honest, virtual 360-degree tours or panoramas can be a bit weird sometimes, but we are in very weird times and a 360 visit is one of the best ways to get inside a museum right now.

With a few nifty mouse skills you may even discover things you have never seen before – including the museum fire escape and corner of the stair well, both of which seem to be popular destinations whenever we try to navigate these things.

But navigation aside, there’s lots to enjoy in the 360 museum panorama visit – and here’s a big bunch of them, including some lesser known museums we have been enjoying in lockdown land. Go for the full screen option and explore…

The Pitt Rivers Museum Oxford

pitt rivers museum display cases

Let’s start in one of the most museumy of museums and this virtual wander round the myriad cases of the Pitt Rivers. It makes for a surprisingly rich adventure – and just like a real visit, you’ll probably want to come back and explore this virtual museum again and again. Make sure you make it upstairs, too. Even more cases of amazing stuff to be had up there…

v21artspace.com/pitt-rivers-museum

 

The Old Royal Naval College Greenwich

screenshot of a tour showing ceiling of old royal naval college

The painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is one of those wondrous places, and this classy 360 allows you to really revel in the Sistine Chapel-like wonder of it all – or at least properly whet your appetite for a real world visit.

virtualtour.ornc.org/

 

Westminster Abbey

view of poets corner in westminster abbey

A little less smooth but still very interesting, Westminster Abbey’s virtual tour shows highlights including the Coronation Chair, the Grave of the Unknown Warrior and the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor. There are also themed versions for schools (or home schoolers) exploring worship at the Abbey, its links with the monarchy, the building of the Abbey, and the Abbey as a place of memorial.

www.westminster-abbey.org/learning/virtual-tours

 

STEAM Museum Swindon

screenshot of nameplate of city of truro locomotive

This new interactive virtual tour of Brunel’s famous STEAM Museum explores the galleries of the museum, gets close to iconic GWR locomotives and memorabilia, and even accesses home-schooling resources and interactive games.

www.steam-museum.org.uk/

 

Black Country Living Museum

image of a mannequin in a recreated mine shaft

A neat little tour down the Black Country Living Museum’s Victorian Mine, which is great – and not just for the slightly unnerving encounter with their mining museum mannequins – but also for the brilliant Black Country dialect narration and the sound effects that accompany it.

www.360imagery.co.uk/portfolio/black-country-living-museum/

 

Cabinet War Rooms

a photo of a mannequin in the interior of the cabinet war rooms

This access all areas excursion through the labyrinthine wartime HQ of Winston Churchill beneath the streets of Whitehall is brilliant and includes dead ends, fire escapes, mannequins, siren suits and every nook and cranny of one of the most atmospheric museum spaces in London. What more could you ask for?

my.matterport.com/show/?m=xJJGeY51FeQ

 

York Cold War Bunker

a photo of a phone on a wall and a no smoking sign

And while we’re on the subject of war bunkers – Britain’s second most famous heritage bunker is the York Cold War bunker – an eerie nuclear command centre that is well explored and explained in this virtual visit on Google Arts and Culture.

artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/preparing-for-nuclear-war-1961-1991/fgKCtxvYQmQ9Jg

 

The Courtauld Art Gallery

still of paintings on a gallery wall

A great virtual reminder of one of the capital’s most unique public art spaces holding an equally impressive collection comes courtesy of this comprehensive and absorbing tour of the Courtauld Gallery. Be amazed and then resolve to visit.

courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/about/3d-gallery-virtual-tour

 

National Museum Liverpool

photo of a gallery with dino skeletons

National Museum Liverpool’s virtual tour offers some very interesting takes on the city’s history and museum offer by guiding you through a thoughtful selection of galleries and exhibits of the International Slavery Museum and the World Museum.

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/

 

The Lightbox in Woking

a photo of a corner of a gallery with display case

In Woking the Lightbox has this 360 tour that enters through the giftshop and lets you take in the Scottish Colourists and the wonders of a local collection that travels through social history and archaeology. Tip: Head up the stairs and turn left (half way up).

www.thelightbox.org.uk/the-lightbox-360-virtual-tour

 

HMS Belfast

photo of a maaneqin dressed as a sailor

Another great one from Imperial War Museums, this one lets you take a good old roam around the highlights of the brilliant floating museum that is HMS Belfast. Mess rooms, gun turrets and mannequins. Did we mention we like museum mannequins…?

www.pan3sixty.co.uk/portfolio/iwm-museum-virtual-tour/

 

The National Gallery

gallery wall hung with paintings
Also in London the National Gallery has been dabbling with virtual tours for quite a few years and this nifty Sainsbury Wing shufty allows you to stop in front of many a masterpiece – and read the labels. There’s also a separate Google tour and a VR outing on offer – if you happen to have a VR headset to hand.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/virtual-tours/sainsbury-wing-vr-tour

 

Windsor Guildhall and Museum

photo of an ornate room with royal portraiture

Something a little different in this solitary wander round a patently English provincial museum and council chambers with its quintessential collection of civic and royal portraiture.

www.pan3sixty.co.uk/virtual_tours/windsor-guildhall/museum-virtual-tour.html

 

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

gallery view with central winged figure sculpture

Why do we love this one so much? Partly because of BMAG’s brilliantly bonkers and vast Victorian interior that takes you through vaulted rooms past neo classical sculptures, Ruskin pots and loads of Victorian and Pre-Rapaelite paintings. A great pre-amble and research excursion (with some really nice labelling) prior to a real-world trip.

my.matterport.com/show/?m=HRt5gSBGXa9

 

Three more from Birmingham Museums

interior photo of a jewellers workshop

Stay with the Birmingham Museums website for this trio of great 360s which were captured in-house at Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall and wonderful Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (above) – all of which boast fascinating period interiors with lots of weird and wonderful things, and nooks and crannies to explore.

birminghammuseums.org.uk/aston/see-inside/the-ground-floor
birminghammuseums.org.uk/blakesley/see-inside/see-inside-blakesley-hall
birminghammuseums.org.uk/jewellery/see-inside/the-factory-and-offices

 

Constraint Restraint at the National Justice Museum

screenshot showing display case with locks

This one is an exhibition but it’s worth exploring in 360. The Constraint Restraint exhibition features multiple examples of handcuffs, keys, locks and prison cell doors from the museum collection alongside powerful drawings by international artist Liz Atkin. There’s a similar experience to be had of the Washing, Dancing, Singing: Women Living and Working in Prison exhibition, too.

www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk/event/constraint-restraint-exhibition/
www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk/event/washing-singing-dancing-women-living-and-working-in-prison/

 

The Museum of Methodism and John Wesley’s House

interior view of a chapel

This one is a great saunter round the Wesleyan chapel that was John Wesley’s first purpose-built chapel in London and his period Georgian house. Make sure you take a mosey round the surprisingly modern museum in the refurbished crypt.

www.wesleysheritage.org.uk/your-visit/virtual-tour/

 

York Army Museum

interior view of York Army Museum with display cases

The award-winning York Army Museum is a modern museum experience with clean displays telling a 300-year-old story. This slick 360 does a pretty good job of giving you a taster – and an insight into the depth of collections of the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire.

my.matterport.com/show/?m=e4iDBehZbzZ

 

The Devil’s Porridge Museum

interior view of a gallery with bed and wardrobe clothes

If you hit the full screen function on this one it’s really good and definitely worth a virtual visit to get an idea of the wonderful Devil’s Porridge Museum in Dumfries and Galloway. The Museum tells the story of the world’s biggest-ever munitions factory and the many women who worked there. A definite bucket list visit for museum geeks.

www.devilsporridge.org.uk/whats-inside

 

The British Museum

shot of a roman sculpture of a reclining woman in a display case

Before we’re done we had better give this little one a mention. The British Museum has an impressive series of rooms on offer in these panoramas on Google Arts and Culture that take a closer look at everything from famous mummies to the Lewis chessmen.

artsandculture.google.com/streetview/british-museum/

 

Stonehenge

photo of the stones at stonehenge

This one lets you explore the inner circle of sarsen stones like a pagan whose got the keys prior to the summer solstice party. In truth, you will probably feel more like a fascinated amateur archaeologist (no bad thing), as English Heritage packs this brilliant 360 with a load of cool films explaining everything from the Great Trilithon to an insight into conservation.

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

 

Kettle’s Yard

photo of a house with paintings on the wall

These panoramas are slightly hidden in the Kettle’s Yard online house tour but they offer a brilliantly understated yet smooth view of the interior of the Ede’s domestic Tardis of mid-century art.

tour.kettlesyard.co.uk/house/

shot of plants and chair next to a window

And a final mention for the Kettle’s Yard webcam. Not really a 360 – and not a lot goes on to be honest – but after all of that mouse wrangling it’s a calming experience to just sit and gaze towards the conservatory windows and watch the sun’s rays play across the plants, the pots and the old wooden chair…

www.kettlesyard.co.uk/kettles-yard-webcam/

Did we miss one? Use the comments below to let us know. 

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