With the lockdown in London still in place, the ways in which we can appreciate our beloved capital have changed dramatically. Whereas we are well versed in suggesting the top things to do or the best places to visit as the summer approaches, with the majority of attractions closed for the foreseeable future, it’s difficult to know exactly what to do in this sleeping metropolis – particularly when it is so important that we practice social distancing. As many in our team have been coming to terms with isolated life in the city, we have pooled our experiences to bring you the very best ways to appreciate London in lockdown over the coming weeks.
1. Admire the Scenery
London boasts some of the most remarkable architecture in the world. Filled with prominent structures, statues and landmarks, London sees millions walk its streets every year simply enjoying its impressive surroundings. With the pavements and passageways now much quieter, there is ample opportunity to make the most of your daily jog or walk and engage in some amateur photography. Whether you are a complete beginner or a passionate hobbyist, photography allows us all to be creative, even when using a simple smartphone camera. Admire the twinkling Thames in the morning light, free from the usual traffic and jostling crowds on the bank. Find the perfect angle to capture the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral against a cloud peppered blue sky. You can even engage in some evening time photography – read our article detailing London’s instagrammable night time hot spots for inspiration. The possibilities are endless – and depending on your interest, you may develop a new passion to photograph the most beautiful scenes of London in lockdown.
Tip – For ideas of where to visit on your walks, read our selection of places in London to watch the world go by.
2. Visit the Virtual Museum and Gallery
Having admired and photographed the beautiful terracotta exterior of the Natural History Museum, you will likely find yourself eager to view the multitudinous exhibits inside. Fortunately, the NHM has provided the perfect solution; their website hosting a variety of videos, in-depth displays, and a complete virtual tour of the museum. With such an extensive online repertoire for all to access, you can keep yourself and your family (especially children) busy for days discovering all that the museum can offer. Enjoying this virtual tour also makes for a good promise to keep for the future – to visit the museum together when it is once again safe to do so.
If you are fonder of art than artefacts, fear not, for the National Gallery has also devised an excellent online experience. With virtual tours of multiple rooms and entire gallery wings, you can enjoy some of the greatest works of art ever created from the comfort and safety of your arm chair. Using an innovative 3D rendering model, you can turn and move throughout the galleries with ease on your computer, laptop, or even your phone. There really is no better way to practice social distancing that from your sitting room.
3. Get your Coffee Kicks
London in lockdown seems especially strange when working from home. Our capital is coffee mad: cafes are constantly alive with thronging queues of consumers eager to get their caffeine fix, and so, to many, life without artisan coffee doesn’t seem quite right. Ensuring that the people of London don’t have to resort to the dreaded instant cup, a host of coffee shops have introduced home delivery – bringing their finest fresh blends direct to your doorstep. From packs of roasted beans to pre-made concoctions ready to be simply warmed up, there is a variety of ways to enjoy your regular favourites at home. It’s not quite the same as enjoying a coffee and cake at your usual establishment of choice, but you can certainly make an occasion of drinking coffee once more – whether at your kitchen table or in your sunny garden before heading inside to work.
4. Enjoy Park Life
With summer rapidly approaching, it is a relief to know that our parks can once more be safely enjoyed. Whether you choose to explore the vast Hyde Park or the nature lover’s Richmond Park, there are countless parks across the city to be visited, including many smaller parks and gardens in the suburbs. With the advisory that all should continue to practice social distancing, enjoying the parks after months of restrictions offers a breath of fresh air for those who have felt claustrophobic with London in lockdown. The perfect opportunity to get back in touch with nature, London’s parks also offer many ways to stay healthy, such as cycling, running, walking and even using your own outdoor gym set. Pet owners will be doubly pleased, being able to take their dogs for much needed long walks across the fields and woodlands that had previously been inaccessible for some time. Seeing others respectfully using these outdoor spaces is a positive sign in these trying times, as the sense of community London is famous for gradually returns to its streets and green spaces.