An app lets you visit some of the best tourist locations and attractions from home during lockdown – here’s how it works
The coronavirus crisis has grounded flights, shut venues and forced hotels to close to guests as the world battles to curb the disease's spread.
With society on lockdown, many people will be wondering when they will be able to travel or enjoy a cultural experience again.
While it can’t replace the real thing, a free app has stepped into the breach allowing anyone with a smartphone to see top exhibitions and go on virtual reality tours of renowned sites in 360-degree imagery.
The Google Arts & Culture app has attracted the likes of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The National Gallery in London.
The British Museum in London, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence feature, along with two of the Tate galleries – Tate Modern and Tate Britain.
Users can beat the travel restrictions by exploring historic sites in a Street View format - in Italy alone, these include the ruins of Pompeii, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Venice canals and The Colosseum in Rome.
Socially-distanced individuals can also take a virtual trip to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru, see Robert Falcon Scott's hut in Antarctica and wander around Sydney Opera House in Australia. The Palace of Versailles, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay are included too.
Paris's Eiffel Tower, Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum and the Taj Mahal are free to survey with Google's technology – as are Prince Charles’ Clarence House home and the gardens of his Highgrove country retreat.
Institutions in the North of England have signed up, such as The Lowry in Salford, The Hepworth in Wakefield and the Leeds University Library Galleries.
Google Arts & Culture began in 2011 and collaborates with museums and other places to bring heritage and artwork to an online audience.
The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. People can go to https://artsandculture.google.com/ using a desktop or laptop computer.