Explore Britain from home with these modern TV classics

Gas Street Basin at the heart of the city centre, the meeting point of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the Birmingham Canal Main Line. Historic buildings. Passenger boats moored.
Explore Britain from home with these modern TV classics

Explore Britain from home with these modern TV classics

Gas Street Basin at the heart of the city centre, the meeting point of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the Birmingham Canal Main Line. Historic buildings. Passenger boats moored.

April 2020 saw the announcement that smash-hit British crime drama Life on Mars will be returning for a final series, 13 years after the last series aired. Co-creator Matthew Graham has revealed the new episodes are to be set in the 1970s, 80s and modern-day Manchester and London.

While fans eagerly await the release, they can dive into a host of other modern British TV classics, from gripping crime shows to side-splitting comedies and rich period dramas - all ready and waiting to be binged.

 

Crime Dramas

Life on Mars

A British crime drama gem, Life on Mars follows the case-busting journeys of Manchester police officer Sam Tyler (John Simm), who wakes up in 1973 following a road accident in then present-day 2006. Combining gripping story lines, nostalgic British scenes and an epic soundtrack, the show saw two hugely successful series, filmed in 2006 and 2007, and gained a cult following. Ashes to Ashes, the sequel to Life on Mars, quickly followed, as did remakes in America, Spain, South Korea and Russia.

A key filming location is the Brutalist Stopford House, a short distance from Manchester central in Stockport. Built in 1975, this council building was used as the setting for the Manchester and Salford Police station in the series, giving audiences an authentic look into Britain’s past.

 

Broadchurch

Once audiences have exhausted all episodes of Life on Mars they can fill the crime series-shaped void with the thrilling Broadchurch. Staring Scottish Dr Who actor David Tennant and The Crown’s Olivia Coleman, three exhilarating series of the show were filmed between 2013 and 2017. Based in a fictional town in Dorset, the series' location was partially inspired by the home of writer Chris Chibnall, who lives on the picturesque Jurassic Coast. The vast coastal views of West Bay played a starring role in the show, as did the town of Clevedon, near Bristol. Broadchurch tips its hat to the Dorset-born poet and novelist Thomas Hardy throughout the series, with the surname used for one of the main characters being Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.

 

Sherlock

A modern day adaptation of the seminal Arthur Conan Doyle detective novels, the BBC created four seasons of Sherlock, filmed from 2010 and 2017. Watched by audiences in over 200 countries, the show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and is set in contemporary London, with filming split between the British capital and Cardiff. The location shots for the fictitious detective’s famous home, 221b Baker Street, were filmed at 187 North Gower Street in Bloomsbury. Fans will no doubt recognise Speedy’s Café which is located next door, an eatery that has added a special ‘Sherlock’ breakfast to its menu. 221b Baker Street, the address made famous by Conan Doyle in 1887, has been recreated in the shape of the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

 

Vera

Still keen to to dive into a much-adored British crime series? One of the most established is Vera, which ran over 10 series from 2011 to 2020 and was enjoyed by more than twenty counties across the world. Based on novels by Ann Cleeves, this British drama followed the eternally frumpy and slightly unorthodox Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, played by Brenda Blethyn, and her work with the Northumberland & City Police (a fictional police force). Set in north-east England, many stunning corners of Newcastle and Northumberland were used as filming locations including Whitley Bay, the stunning Farne Islands and St Cuthbert’s Cave.

 

Period Dramas

Call the Midwife

Viewers with a penchant for period dramas will not want to miss Call the Midwife, which returned for an incredible ninth season in early 2020. Based on former nurse Jennifer Worth’s trilogy of memoirs, created by Heidi Thomas and starring British comedy heroine Miranda Hart, the show follows a team of midwives who confront everyday life in London’s East End in the 1950s and 1960s, a backdrop of vast social challenge and change. The series has been sold to more than 100 countries, so international fans might recognise the 2019 festive special, which saw the midwives change their usual scenery as they headed to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, a string of idyllic islands that are renowned for bird watching and wildlife, in addition to striking coastlines.

 

Downton Abbey

A chance to peer into the life of Britain’s high society and their loyal staff, Downton Abbey follows the twists and turns of the Crawley family, from post-war into the roaring 20s. Having run from 2010 to 2015, the glamourous six-series classic was a rip-roaring success, with more than 100 countries showing the British drama, cementing its place as a modern British classic.

Although filled with breathtaking scenes of Britain, the most iconic of all the filming locations has to be the family’s expansive estate, shot in Hampshire’s Highclere Castle. Set in 1,000 acres of parkland, the Victorian-built manor house remains home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, whose family have lived on the site since 1679. Julian Fellowes, the author of Downton Abbey, is a long-standing family friend and actually had Highclere in mind while penning the series. The picturesque village of Bampton in the Cotswolds was also used for many of the exterior scenes of Downton Village, including the church, post office and pubs.

 

Peaky Blinders

Now shown in an astonishing 183 countries worldwide, why not join the Shelby fan club and dive into the world of 20th-century British gangsters in the award-winning Peaky Blinders? With five gasp-inducing series (and a sixth series reportedly on the way), this Birmingham-based phenomenon has gone from strength to strength since first being aired in 2013, with the last series gathering an audience of 6.2 million for the first two episodes. Set in the once industrial hub of the UK Midlands, anglophiles can follow the story of gang leader Tommy Shelby, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, as he and his family rise to become the top dogs of the city, shortly after the First World War. Expect scenes of smoke-filled pubs, mist-covered canals and hours of dramatic suspense. Many of the gritty scenes from the seasons were filmed in the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, a firm favourite with creator and writer Steven Knight, as scenes from all seasons to date have been shot there.

 

Mr Selfridge

Peering into the mind of Harry Gordon Selfridge, Mr Selfridge tells the story behind London’s famous department store Selfridges & Co., which was built in the early 1900s. This opulent British drama follows the life and times of the man himself, Mr Selfridge, played by Jeremy Piven, who was determined to import the American idea of shopping being a leisure activity as opposed to a chore. The high-end department store still stands on London’s Oxford Street, a testament to how much it shaped modern culture. Televised in the UK between 2013 and 2016, Mr Selfridge was comprised of four series and was also shown in the USA, Australia, Israel, Netherlands and Sweden.

 

Outlander

Based on the novels of the same name by Diana Gabaldon, this historical drama sees former Second World War nurse Claire Randall, played by Irish actor Caitriona Balfe, transported back to 18th-century Scotland, in a story that has captivated international audiences for five engrossing series. Filming took place in various beautiful locations across Scotland, including Abercairny Estates, in the town of Crieff, which has been the home of the Moray family since the 13th century. The series transformed the estate into an American plantation house, also known as Aunt Jocasta’s plantation, River Run. Another of the series’ filming locations is St Andrew’s in the Square, in the heart of Glasgow. This former parish church served as a filming location in the fourth series and is now home to Glasgow’s Centre for Scottish Culture. What’s more, there’s a sixth season on the way!

 

Comedies

The IT Crowd

Four series of The IT Crowd was enough to secure its status as a classic British comedy.  Starring Richard Oyoade, Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson, the hit show aired from 2006 until 2013 and boasts additional performances from kings of comedy Chris Morris, Matt Berry and Noel Fielding. Taking place in a fictional office, which Irish writer Graham Linehan described as ‘a geek’s Shangri-La’; The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge even loaned the show a collection of computers and manuals from the 1970s and 1980, in order to give the set a true air of authenticity.

 

Fleabag

Based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show of the same name, Fleabag first hit screens and won hearts in 2016. Since its premiere and the subsequent second and final series in 2019, the show has risen to cult comedy status, ranking in the top ten of The Guardian's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.

Featuring writer Waller-Bridge as the main character, as well as Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott, filming was done almost entirely in the borough of Camden, with a cluster of other recognisable locations nestled in the Dartmouth Park area. This includes the guinea pig-themed café, a key filming location on York Rise in Camden that is now a Turkish restaurant.

 

The Inbetweeners

A hysterical coming-of-age comedy, The Inbetweeners follows four boys as they clumsily fight their way through the highs and lows of adolescent awkwardness. Starring British actors Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison and James Buckley, it spanned three series and won the British Comedy Academy Outstanding Achievement award in 2011.

Mostly filmed in north-west London, areas such as Uxbridge and Watford were used as the backdrop to the series, as well Ruislip, which was the location of the boys’ high school. Fans will no doubt remember the theme park episode, which was filmed at Thorpe Park in Surrey.

Celebrate literature with these classic tales for all ages

Man reading a book, leaning against a tree at the Hay Festival, Wales.
Celebrate literature with these classic tales for all ages

Celebrate literature with these classic tales for all ages

The world of literature provides a welcome retreat for many, giving readers the chance to explore dreamt-of lands, take a trip into the future, or step back in time with a much-loved childhood favourite. Britain’s rolling hills, golden sandy beaches and quaint country villages have provided inspiration for hundreds of authors over the centuries, with many locations often reflected in their works and celebrated at renowned events such as the Hay Festival, a regular on the literary calendar since 1988. While the spectacular backdrop of the Brecon Beacons, and Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Wales, is usually the setting for the celebrated event, this year the Hay Festival is going digital.

 

Hay Festival Digital

Bringing writers and readers together from 22-31 May, Hay Festival Digital will feature a packed programme of free interactive sessions and live broadcasts. Famous literary figures and actors, including Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith, Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch are among those set to share their insights and discuss some of the world’s key issues. More than 100 sessions will be streamed via Crowdcast, with individuals able to register to confirm their free virtual seat by browsing the programme of events.

A five-day Hay Festival Programme for Schools will also run from 18-22 May, including an array of creative reading activities and films for primary and secondary school children to access with their parents. But the event isn’t the only means of discovering a slice of literary Britain, as these classic tales reveal…

 

J.K Rowling – Harry Potter

Born in Gloucestershire, renowned Harry Potter author J.K Rowling penned her wizarding works after moving to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997 sparked a global phenomenon that has seen her tales published in 80 different languages. Rowling wrote much of her early works about the boy wizard in The Elephant House café, overlooking Edinburgh Castle, as well as a number of other coffee houses around the city. Delve into her wizarding world for a journey that has enthralled the imaginations of millions around the globe.

 

Roald Dahl – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Famed for his humorous yet distinctive style of writing, Welsh writer Roald Dahl’s works have captivated children for generations. Born in Cardiff, Wales, to Norwegian parents, he wrote many of his classic novels from the confines of a small writing hut in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire. From the exploits of Mr Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the adventures of James and Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox or the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), his works are packed with thought-provoking adjectives, sounds and poems, as well as striking illustrations from Quentin Blake that help to bring the stories to life.

 

Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island

Born and educated in Edinburgh, Robert Louis Stevenson travelled widely during the 19th century, journeys that influenced several of his works. The Scot helped transform modern perceptions of pirates with his Treasure Island adventure novel, a tale of buccaneers and the search for buried gold that has been transformed into film and television spin-offs. He also penned the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a gripping gothic novel that delves into the dual nature of humankind.

 

C.S Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia

Having been born in Belfast, the life of Clive Staples Lewis took him from the trenches in the First World War to literary positions at Oxford University, alongside fellow author J.R.R Tolkien, and at Cambridge University. The Chronicles of Narnia, one of his most famous works, is a series of fantasy novels, set in the fictional realm of Narnia and packed with magical happenings, talking animals and mythical beasts. A hit with children and adults alike, it has appeared in at least 47 languages and has since been adapted for radio, television, theatre and film.

 

Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, penned the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass in the mid-to-late 19th century. It follows Alice, a pre-teen girl who discovers an underground land packed with mysterious characters – including the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts – after she falls down a rabbit hole. The vicarage in Cheshire where he was born, All Saints’ Vicarage in Daresbury, is home to several stained glass windows depicting characters from the novels, while the adjacent Lewis Carroll Centre explores his life and that of his family – all of which will leave children grinning like a Cheshire Cat!

 

Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows

Set against a bucolic English country backdrop in the early 20th century, Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale The Wind in the Willows follows Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger on their animal adventures. Born in Scotland, Grahame moved to Berkshire at a young age and it is thought he took great inspiration from the landscapes of the Thames Valley when penning the novel. Known for the beautifully-imagined friendship between the animals, it has been adapted for both the theatre and the big screen, has appeared in multiple languages and has continued to enthral those of all ages since its publication in 1908.

 

Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Inspired by the picturesque surroundings of the Lake District where she regularly holidayed, Beatrix Potter used the spectacular environment as a basis for The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Published in the early years of the 20th century and following the adventures of Peter, the book became an instant hit and is still produced in multiple languages to this day. Her stories have also been adapted for the ballet, for cartoons and in feature films, including Will Gluck’s 2018 3D live-action computer animated comedy Peter Rabbit. Following her literary success, Potter purchased a number of properties in the Lake District, like Hill Top Farm, while the World of Beatrix Potter in Windermere explores how the magical tales are brought to life.

 

Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials

From warrior polar bears to angels and witches, English novelist Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials takes readers on a journey through a series of parallel universes. The trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) has scooped a host of literary prizes and is available in more than 40 languages around the world.

Pride, Prejudice and Poirot – 11 British classics for an inspiring night in

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England
Pride, Prejudice and Poirot – 11 British classics for an inspiring night in

Pride, Prejudice and Poirot – 11 British classics for an inspiring night in

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England

2020 marks 25 years since the television mini-series of Pride and Prejudice hit TV screens, starring British star Colin Forth as the debonair Mr Darcy. Based on Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel of the same name, the series is one of many classic British TV shows that will leave audiences dreaming of Britain.

 

Pride and Prejudice

Jennifer Ehle stars as protagonist Elizabeth Bennett is this much beloved adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, which first exploded onto our screens in the mid-1990s.  Delving into 19th century British life, the story reveals the prejudice between social classes and the battles for love that can result. A number of National Trust sites were used for filming this renowned adaptation, including the hugely impressive Lyme Hall in Cheshire, which acted as the exterior of Mr Darcy’s Pemberley Estate. It was here that Firth would famously emerge fully clothed from the lake in one of the show’s most instantly recognisable moments. Lacock Abbey, in Wiltshire, was used to depict some of the interior of the Pemberley Estate, while the village of Lacock itself was used as the setting for Meryton. Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire and swathes of the Peak District National Park also provided the backdrop for this classic tale.

 

Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Mystery drama Poirot made a name for itself on television screens for more than 20 years, featuring David Suchet in the starring role. The eccentric crime solver was the chief protagonist in 70 episodes, all of which were based on the tales written by Christie - with every one of her seminal works featuring the detective having been transformed into a case by the conclusion of the show.  The art deco Florin Court, found in London on the edge of Charterhouse Square, acted as Poirot’s residence Whitehaven Mansions throughout the show. Meanwhile, the Greenway Estate, Christie’s former home and a National Trust property, also featured in the episode titled Dead Man’s Folly – a sign that her inspiration came from sources that were never too far away.

 

Only Fools and Horses

One of the masterpieces of British comedy, Only Fools and Horses ran from 1981 to 1991, with an additional number of special Christmas episodes spread over the following 12 years. Tracking Derek Trotter and younger brother Rodney’s various attempts to make their fortune, the show was a huge hit both overseas and on British TV screens, where it provided the foundations for several spin-offs. To this day, the 1996 Christmas special Time On Our Hands has the record for the highest UK audience for a sitcom. Starring David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst and set in the heart of south-east London, in Peckham, writer John Sullivan’s show was predominantly filmed in Bristol and parts of west London.

 

Monty Python

Icons of on-screen comedy, the Monty Python troupe played a pivotal role in shaping comedy around the world. From the moment Monty Python’s Flying Circus hit screens in 1969, featuring John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, among several others, the group helped to redefine the possibilities of television comedy. 45 episodes followed across the next five years in addition to several blockbuster films – including Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian – not to mention multiple books, records and stage shows that received international acclaim.

 

Fawlty Towers

Written by and starring John Cleese as hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty, two seasons of comedy Fawlty Towers aired in the mid-to-late 1970s. Having been inspired by the unusual behaviour of a hotel owner that Cleese observed while filming Monty Python, the series focuses on Basil’s hapless attempts to run a hotel in Torquay, as he and his staff tackle a variety of amusing mishaps and uncompromising guests.

 

Miss Marple

The murder mystery works of Agatha Christie formed the basis of another hit series in the 1980s, Miss Marple. All 12 original novels were dramatized for the series, with Joan Hickson in the role of the amateur detective. Filming took place at locations across Britain including Devon and Oxfordshire, whiles scenes at St Mary Mead – Miss Marple’s village – were filmed in Nether Wallop in Hampshire. Another similar series, Agatha Christie’s Marple, with Geraldine McEwan and then Julia McKenzie in the lead role, ran for six series from 2004.

 

Blackadder

Starring Rowan Atkinson – known for his portrayal of Mr Bean – as Edmund Blackadder, this classic comedy takes places over four series, each set in a different historical age. Starting at the end of the Middle Ages, and with series encompassing the reign of Elizabeth I and the Regency Period, before culminating in the trenches of World War One, Blackadder is always accompanied by his servant and sidekick Baldrick, played by Tony Robinson.

 

Midsomer Murders

After first appearing in 1997, Midsomer Murders has developed a cult following all around the world as it tracks the attempts of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, and latterly his cousin, John Barnaby, to solve murder cases in the picturesque but deadly county of Midsomer. Starring John Nettles and then Neil Dudgeon in the lead role, 21 series of the show have been produced to date, with broadcasting rights purchased by more than 200 countries globally. Originally inspired by Caroline Graham’s series of books titled Chief Inspector Barnaby, the show is set in quaint English country villages, with many scenes shot amid the picturesque surroundings of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The fictional village of Causton, for example, features parts of Wallingford, Thame and Henley-on-Thames.

 

The Office

A global phenomenon that sparked variations in many countries around the world, The Office was the brainchild of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Focusing on the comedic goings-on at a Slough-based paper company – where ‘life is stationery’ – Gervais starred as narcissistic boss David Brent. Notorious for his dancing skills – one of the show’s most famous scenes – and maverick behaviour, his character in the sitcom took inspiration from Fawlty Towers. While the British version ran for 14 episodes, other versions ran for far longer – the US show went on to surpass 200 episodes and is one of the most watched shows on Netflix globally.

 

Doctor Who

A cornerstone of British popular culture, Doctor Who has been a television hit since it first aired in 1963. Depicting a time lord known as the Doctor and a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS – which is shaped like a blue British police box – the science fiction show has won fans all over the globe. Having initially aired from 1963 to 1989, the show made its triumphant return in 2005 and has remained on screen since. There have been 13 incarnations of the Doctor to date, as well as numerous spin-off shows, while a special episode created for the show’s 50th anniversary achieved the Guinness World Record for the largest simulcast of a TV drama – having been shown in 94 countries spread over six continents!

 

Wallace and Gromit

Animated plasticine pair Wallace and Gromit – a naïve English inventor with a love of Wensleydale cheese, accompanied by his intelligent, yet silent dog – first hit screens in 1990. Creator Nick Park, and Aardman Animations, based in Bristol, produced three animated shorts using stop-motion clay animation techniques, with the first taking the loveable pair to the moon and back in A Grand Day Out. One of Wallace’s wacky inventions takes centre stage in The Wrong Trousers, before the duo tackle sheep rustlers in A Close Shave. Widely viewed as cultural icons in Britain and popular with people of all ages, the pair have also appeared in a feature-length film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and in another short, A Matter of Loaf and Death.

Discover Britain’s virtual horticultural highlights with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Poised to inspire garden lovers in this unprecedented time, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be hosted entirely online in 2020. Mindfulness has never been more important in Britain and the world over, a subject that RHS Chelsea aims to address through the relaxing elements of gardening from 19-23 May, with a press day kick-starting proceedings a day earlier. This remarkable online flower show will include an array of free virtual gardening events, family-friendly activities, exclusive tours and educational talks.

The online celebration will come into bloom with ‘school gardening clubs’, a set of daily activities for families wanting to get creative in the garden, while more in-depth techniques can be learnt through ‘potting bench’ demonstrations. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions with RHS advisers and special guests, as well as exclusive tours of leading gardening experts’ personal garden, although their details are yet to be revealed. Those who would have showcased their fantastic floral displays at RHS Chelsea can give audiences a behind-the-scenes peek into their nurseries or replicate the arrangements which would have appeared in the Great Pavilion.

The scale of this online RHS show is likely never to be repeated, so those wanting to add a sprinkling of British horticulture and gardening skills to their spring should not miss this stellar opportunity.

 

Other virtual gardens to discover

As well as the blooming fun happenings at RHS Chelsea this year, there’s also a fascinating collection of breathtaking British gardens to discover from the comfort of home. These include a virtual look at Kew Gardens, several stunning stately homes’ outdoor spaces and an immersive bluebell experience.  

 

Kew from above

Take a few minutes to enjoy the stunning scenes from one of Britain’s most famous horticultural hotspots with this virtual tour of Kew Gardens. Giving flower fans a bird’s-eye-view of Kew’s iconic glasshouse, pagoda and tranquil outdoor spaces, this tour offers a virtual slice of Kew’s tranquillity and grandeur.

 

Birdsong and bluebells

For relaxing birdsong and uplifting floral scenes, nature-loving audiences can immerse themselves in a trip through some of Britain’s beautiful bluebell woods. Many of these sites are maintained by the National Trust and this video is perfect for relaxing or meditating to the sounds of nature in Britain, one of the Trust’s main aims. Classic places that showcase blooming springtime bluebells include The Vyne in Hampshire, Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex and Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire.

 

Lily pads and poppies

Those wanting to discover their own secret garden can peer around 360 ° imagery of Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Manor Gardens, one of the best know Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain.  With scenes that range from the poppy-filled red borders to the climbing plants in the plant house and a pond complete with delicate lily pads, there’s plenty to explore on this virtual tour.

 

Victorian extravagance

Built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild for the sole purpose of hosting extravagant parties, Waddeson Manor and gardens in Buckinghamshire has a history of marvelling visitors that dates back to the 1880s. The grand manor house, tropical bird aviary and blissful gardens can now be explored online by those wanting to step into Rothschild’s world, while a tour of the grand house’s interior can also be enjoyed.

 

Gardens fit for a Prince

Those keen for a virtual taste of royal life can tour Highgrove Gardens - the grounds of Prince Charles’ private residence - from the comfort of their own homes with this online guide. Offering a chance to see the majestic mosaic water feature, blossoming wisteria and the stumpery, the tour offers visitors the chance to step into a virtual world of horticultural elegance.

 

Daffodil Heaven

Nestled in the Welsh Marshes, Gorsty House has a charming two-acre garden that comes to life each spring, blooming with a bright carpet of yellow daffodils. The National Garden Scheme has created a virtual tour and video interview with the garden owner, to give daffodil fans the chance to stroll through this tranquil space and learn more about their growth.

Being the national flower of Wales, there are also plenty of additional places to see these charming flowers each spring, with many being kept by the National Trust.

7 ways to enjoy a virtual British garden experience

RHS Chelsea Flower Show
7 ways to enjoy a virtual British garden experience

Celebrate International Museum Week in Britain with these virtual tours

Running from May 11-17 2020, International Museum Week gives us the chance to celebrate all that is great about our cultural institutions – and Britain is packed with museums worth discovering, even from a distance. Perfect for culture buffs dreaming of exploration, here are some of the virtual worlds bringing the nation’s major museums to life from the comfort of home.

 

V&A

With a collection spanning 5,000 years of human creativity, viewers can delve into the digital world of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Exploring creations that range from ancient ceramics to manuscripts, Raphael Cartoons and Alexander McQueen evening dresses, the online collections cover numerous different periods and styles, providing a glimpse into the world’s greatest creative minds.

 

British Museum

Covering more than two million years of heritage and human endeavour, online visitors can embark on a digital quest and discover the recently revamped British Museum online collection. Featuring 4.5 million objects and 1.9 million images, the collection boasts new updates and enhanced zoom functionality. An interactive experience titled The Museum of the World will also take users on a journey through time, cultures and across continents, with museum curators providing insight every step of the way. Alongside a wealth of online exhibits to explore are an incredible range of historical items, from Egyptian mummies to figurines and pottery.

 

RAF Museum

Delve back into the past to discover more than a century of flying history at the Royal Air Force Museum thanks to virtual tours of several hangers and exhibitions. From learning about aviation pioneers to the planes they flew, the hangers in particular provide unique insight into some of the people and aircraft that helped shape Britain.

 

Natural History Museum

Navigate the galleries of the Natural History Museum thanks to Google Street View on the way to discovering its unique collection of exhibits. Renowned around the world for their scientific research and expertise, an interactive experience titled Making Natural History is voiced by museum curators and explores everything from the origins of the solar system and humankind to evolution, nature and the future.

 

Household Cavalry Museum

Saddle up for a virtual 3D tour of the Household Cavalry Museum for a unique look into the work of the Queen’s Mounted Bodyguard. Detailing the history and accomplishments of the Household Cavalry, discover the colours, uniforms, weapons and regalia used by the two most senior regiments in the British army.

 

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Discover the exquisite nature of the Queen’s official residence in Scotland with a virtual 360-degree imagery tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse’s main rooms. Climb the Great Staircase, bask in the splendour of the Morning Drawing Room and browse the many artworks, tapestries and ornaments that adorn the King’s Bedchamber in the home of Scottish royal history.

 

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Uncover everything from fine art and metalwork to archaeology and local history on a virtual trip around the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Four different tours explore the museum’s art and history galleries, covering 700 years of artworks from the 14th century to the present day, the history of the city, and the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard - the biggest stockpile of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered.

 

World Museum – National Museums Liverpool

Explore the worlds of art, culture and the natural world with virtual tours around the World Museum in Liverpool. Take in the National Museum Liverpool’s vast collections from around the globe in the World Cultures gallery, explore the history of the natural world in the Dinosaurs and Natural World Exhibition, or enjoy an incredible exhibition of celebrated Japanese artist Taki Katei – the first to be hosted outside of his home country.

 

SS Great Britain

Venture around the virtual decks of the SS Great Britain, the pioneering ship created by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel that helped to change history. Currently moored in Bristol and widely viewed as one of the most important vessels in existence, its mix of size, power and naval technology at the time of launch in 1843 paved the way for a new age of maritime travel.

 

Waddesdon Manor

Enjoy the delights of Buckinghamshire’s Waddesdon Manor in virtual form, with tours providing an opportunity to see some rooms which are not always accessible to the public. Be amazed by the intricate artworks and elaborate armour in the Bachelors’ Wing, uncover treasures in the Tower Drawing Room and marvel at striking furniture in the Green Boudoir – the location where Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild gifted a jewelled fan to Queen Victoria in 1890.

 

HMS Belfast – Imperial War Museums

Created by Pan 3Sixty, wander the digital decks of HMS Belfast for a glimpse into life aboard the Town-class light cruiser at times of war. Permanently moored in the River Thames as an Imperial War Museums ship, discover more about the Royal Navy’s most significant surviving Second World War vessel while delving into a history that includes the Arctic Convoys, D-Day, the Cold War, Korea and much more.

Celebrate International Museum Week in Britain with these virtual tours

The British Museum Great Court with a modern glass roof. A statue of a discuss thrower the Townley Discobolus.
Celebrate International Museum Week in Britain with these virtual tours