London: The UK’s most famous tourist attractions, ranging from palaces and castles to galleries and zoos, have started virtual tours to millions of people who were currently under a lockdown in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a report on Thursday, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said that millions of people were discovering the breadth, depth and diversity of Britain’s visitor attractions through websites and digital galleries, science podcasts, virtual tours of the Houses of Parliament, web-cams of zoos and safari parks, as well as being able to take part in church and Cathedral services and also watching the opera and theatre, reports Xinhua news agency.
The UK, which is currently under a lockdown, has reported 11,658 confirmed coronavirus cases and 115 deaths.
ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue said: “In the last week or so there has been an explosion in the number of people, here in Britain and around the world, virtually visiting the UK’s top visitor attractions.”
The Association said in the report that the British Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A, Science Museum and National Gallery have all seen a substantial increase in visitors to their websites.
The number of visitors to the British Museum’s website has doubled in the past two and a half weeks, while visits to the National Gallery’s virtual tour pages are up almost 800 per cent compared to last week, and 1,144 per cent up over last year.
The V&A’s blog is up 147 per cent week on week, while the Science Museum has seen a threefold increase in views for its games section.
Britain’s best-known cathedrals, from Durham to Canterbury were streaming church services.
Zoo cams have also become popular sites for virtual visitors.
Even William Shakespeare is proving to be a website hit more than 400 years after his death.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering a video tour of the five Shakespeare family homes.
Visitors can travel even further back in time to the early days of the Roman occupation of Britain around 2,000 years ago, by paying a virtual visit to the Roman Baths in the City of Bath.
Emma Martin, senior curator at National Museum Liverpool’s World Museum said: “Staying at home doesn’t mean you miss out on visiting our museum. Thanks to public feedback on what people would like to see while our doors are temporarily closed, we’ve created a virtual tour of the World Cultures gallery with our friends at John Moores University.”
Science Director Roger Highfield from the Science Museum in London has even published an in-depth look at the science of the coronavirus, exploring what we know and don’t know about the virus and examining its ongoing impact.
His work brings into sharp focus the biggest ever shutdown since World War II of Britain’s famous tourist sites.