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Virtual things to do at home throughout lockdown 3.0

Immerse yourself in art in every form

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From online art galleries, virtual theatre shows and extra special delivery services, uncover a treasure-trove of fun things to do at home during the UK’s third nationwide lockdown.

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Contemporary art, Renaissance art, pastel art, Scottish artists, things to do at home during lockdown, food, culture from the comfort of your home, London's best restaurant, London's best bakery

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There's no need to travel to take part in these activities

If there's anything 2020 has taught us, it's how to have fun at home.

For those who are art addicts, would-be showgoers, or looking for the perfect accompaniment to your virtual cultural caper, we’ve pulled together our top picks so you can continue to immerse yourself in art in every form from the heart of London.

From online art galleries and exhbitions, theatre show to enjoy at home and extra special dining delivery services, there's a treasure-trove of fun things to do at home during the UK’s third nationwide lockdown.

Here’s our quick guide to creative ways to keep yourselves entertained throughout the start of 2021.

Immerse yourself in ‘Artemisia' with the curator-led exhibition film from the National Gallery

Follow in the footsteps of Artemisia Gentileschi as exhibition curator, Letizia Treves, leads you on a tour of the five-star exhibition, 'Artemisia' at the National Gallery.

Book tickets for £8 each, or free for members, to watch the 30-minute film on-demand from wherever you are in your home.

In the first ever exhibition of a female artist on this scale at the National Gallery, Artemisia is the show of the season bringing together over 30 works from public institutions and private collections. Illustrating the story of the famed Italian baroque artist, Artemisia was an exceptional female artist at a time when women were not easily accepted. She challenged conventions, defying expectations, to became one of the greatest storytellers of her time.

Book now to see the curator-led film.

Explore free art online with the National Gallery

Virtually step inside the National Gallery and explore one of the world’s greatest collections of paintings for free, from the comfort of your home.

There’s three ways to experience the Gallery’s collection in virtual reality through your desktop, phone or VR headset.

The Google Virtual Tour created in 2016 in collaboration with Google Street View, allows you to explore a 360° tour of Rooms 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15 and Central Hall. Immerse yourself in Renaissance masterpieces from Northern Italy, the Netherlands and Germany, including works by Titian, Veronese, and Holbein.

Try the 2011 Virtual Tour to explore all 18 rooms at the National Gallery and get a closer look at over 300 paintings. Best experienced from your desktop using Adobe Flash technology, this virtual tour is integrated with the Galleries collection information pages, so you can dive deeper into the paintings on show and learn more about the artists that painted them.

Or, enjoy the 3D immersive VR tour of the Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing to explore over 270 Early Renaissance paintings. Created in collaboration with Oculus using Matterport’s 3D camera technology, this tour is best viewed with a VR headset. But, you can still browse a 360° tour using your desktop or mobile devices too.

Learn more about these here.

Virtually revisit Antony Gormely’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

Remember the time the Royal Academy of Arts flooded one of their historic galleries with seawater?

In 2019, Antony Gormley RA took over the Royal Academy of Arts Main Galleries with large scale, immersive artworks.

Now you can look back on the exhibition again from the comfort of your own home. Go behind the scenes to see how the exhibition was put together or take in a drone's eye view narrated by the artist himself.

Learn more about the virtual tour here.

Virtual tour of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

The Summer (or is it winter) Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is now closed, but you can still explore all the works online.

Experience the Summer Exhibition like never before with this free interactive tour. Offering a 1-hour video tour, explore the curation coordinated by artist duo Jane and Louise Wilson RA that seeks to challenge the definition of what community us and what form collective communities can begin to take.

Themes from the 2020 exhibition reflect upon identity, immigration, contested borders, ecological threat, climate change, pro-democracy protest and landscape, in the form of installation, painting, film, photography and sculpture.

Suitable for mobile, handheld or desktop devices, viewers can use the buttons on screen to move to the next gallery, or to view and shop the works in the room on the Summer Explorer.

Learn more about the virtual tour here.

Virtually browse The Scottish Show 2021 exhibition at Panter & Hall

Get ready to immerse yourself in art inspired by Scotland with The Scottish Show 2021 at Panter & Hall.

Now in it’s thirteenth year, the annual celebration of paintings and original prints from Scotland will be available virtually for the first time ever while Gallery doors remain closed. Running from 26th January – 12th February 2021, it’s the best place to see new works commissioned from the Gallery’s regular contributors, a curated collection of historical rarities and contemporary artist discoveries new to Panter & Hall.

The majority of works in the exhibition will be for sale, offering virtual visitors an opportunity to purchase exclusive original pieces.

Learn more. Or, view the online catalogue.

Virtually explore The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021 at Mall Galleries

Escape the everyday and browse the curation of artworks in The Pastel Society’s 122nd Annual Exhibition 2021 on display at Mall Galleries from the comfort of your home.

Available to view online for free until 10th April 2021, the virtual exhibition features works created in pastel, pencil, chalk and charcoal. Recognised as foremost in its field, The Pastel Society is a magnet for champions of the pastel medium. This exhibition includes the work of leading contemporary artists as well as upcoming artists yet to be established.

Browse the full exhibition online from the comfort and safety of home and buy works at the click of a button.

Learn more. Or, go straight to the online exhibition.

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020 at Mall Galleries

Escape from the everyday into the Mall Galleries virtual exhibition.

Live online, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters New English Art Club Annual Exhibition features works from established and emerging artists focussing on the theme of reflections.

The must-see show is a chance to experience the very best in figurative, observational and painterly work in the UK. Showcasing paintings, drawings and prints from its elected members alongside work by emerging artists whose ethos reflects its own, the art is informed by the visual world and personal interpretation; and underpinned by drawing.

Viewers explore each piece through their mobile, handheld or desktop device and works can be purchased online too.

Learn more about this exhibition here.

CIRCA’s public art livestream from Piccadilly Circus

A new art platform called CIRCA is giving the iconic advertising space on the Piccadilly Lights in Piccadilly Circus over to a different artist every month.

Throughout January 2021, the legendary musician Patti Smith presents her major new commission. If you can safely walk to Piccadilly Circus to see the free public art display, it’ll be showing at precisely 20:21 GMT every evening. But, we know that’s not possible for everyone right now so tune-in to the online livestream via www.circa.art so you don’t miss a thing.

Patti Smith’s installation combines musical performance with poetry which will unfold over the 31 days of January, with three live recorded events on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, and on the date of the US Presidential Inauguration on 20th January 2021. Smith’s work conveys a story of optimism along with calls for radical action in the face of social and environmental breakdown to coincide with the end of the presidency of Donald Trump and a new start after the catastrophes witnessed in 2020.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Smith has created a print which you can buy online for £100. It’s strictly limited edition and will only be available to buy throughout January 2021. Funds raised go directly to a range of charities supporting the UK cultural sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. Go to online shop.

Go to the online livestream. Or, learn more about Patti Smith’s work here.

Virtual comedy from The Comedy Store

For those who are looking to fill their lockdown with plenty of laughs at home, we’ve got just the ticket.

Explore the collection of archive shows from The Comedy Store in Leicester Square live from wherever you are at home.

All the Stores shows are available online until the end of January, and once purchased, for a small sum of £5.50 excluding charity shows, you have 7 days to enjoy. Perfect for those who are looking to relive cracking comedy moments, or if you’re looking to mix-up your mid-week while safely spending more time at home.

Go on. What are you waiting for?

Get ready to get your giggle on with London’s best live comedy venue.

Learn more and book tickets.

Get your theatre fix with Official London Theatre

While theatres are unable to open, there are still plenty of ways show-goers can soak-up the best of the West End’s theatre.

From the likes of the National Theatre’s Ware Horse at home, Potted Panto plays and the world premiere of The Scorcerors Apprentice, there’s something for all the family to enjoy from the comfort of your couch this winter.

Plus, perhaps you want to know how you can help the theatre industry in 2021?

With the end of the pandemic in sight – if not a little way off – now is the time to play your part and support the theatre industry at a time when it needs you the most.

From pre-booking theatre tickets, purchasing Theatre Tokens, donating to the Theatre Artists Fund and more, we’ve pulled together five ways you can help theatre in 2021.

Whatever you decide, the show really does go on throughout lockdown.

Explore the full list of livestream shows with Official London Theatre. Or, discover our five top tips on how you can help theatre from home.

Dome From Home with the Crystal Maze LIVE London Experience

Excite your senses to theatrical thrills of Shaftesbury Avenue’s Crystal Maze LIVE London experience from the comfort of your home.

Offering a new companion game to the live action experience, it’s perfect for a fun (and most importantly remote) team building activity. Plus, it’s a great prelude to a future visit in person once London’s lockdown restrictions ease.

From just £15 per person, teams of eight or more can take part in a 90-minute virtual Crystal Maze experience. You and your team will be joined via video conference by one of the Maze’s own Maze Masters - your own gregarious guide - as you travel through a virtual tour of The Crystal Maze’s four zones.

Along the way, you will tackle 16 new puzzles and challenges created especially for this game, screaming ‘helpful advice’ at each other through tiny (albeit digital) windows as the time ticks away just like on the show.

The game will take place over Microsoft Teams, and each player will need a webcam, microphone and a decent internet connection in order to play.

Simply book your teams virtual adventure online. Once you are all booked in, you will receive an email from The Maze with your Microsoft Teams meeting link along with your date and time for your game.

Learn more about the virtual game here.

Personalised virtual shopping assistant with Aspinal of London

Whether shopping for a loved one’s lockdown birthday, or perhaps you’re looking to treat yourself, discover the art of gifting with English style with Aspinal of London.

With retail stores closed throughout January, Aspinal of London is offering a safe way to shop in-store with a virtual personal shopping service. Customers can book a 30 minute time slot with one of Aspinal’s expert client advisers, who will provide a bespoke shopping experience from the comfort of your own home. Appointments are available from Monday - Friday from 10am-6pm, customers can book by calling 0203 326 5008, or fill in an online form here.

You’ll find gifts for sporting enthusiasts who’ll treasure the deluxe outdoor themed accessories. Or, those who are avid travellers will cherish the luxury leather luggage and travel wallets. Plus, select a timeless keepsake from the range of silver cufflinks, pens and jewellery, or browse a curated collection of gifts for him and for her. For those on a budget, explore the range of gifts under £75 for an affordable yet impeccably crafted luxurious gift.

From scented candles, exquisitely crafted board games and luxury leather bags and accessories, every one of Aspinal of London’s accessories is made of the finest hand-crafted Italian full-grain leather and designed by expert craftsmen.

What’s more, add a personal touch with Aspinal’s embossing and engraving service to create a truly unique gift. Using traditional hot presses and brass blocking dies, they’ll hand-emboss your chosen leather gift with a choice of gold or silver foil or blind embossing.

Explore the shop online. Or, learn more about the virtual personal shopping appointments.

Virtual personal shopping assistant with SMEG UK

Explore Smeg’s flagship Regent street store with the virtual personal shopping assistant service and discover a range of kitchen goodies inspired by Sicilian art at Smeg UK.

Whether you’re looking for expert advice, to see a product close up, understand a product feature and how it works, or for general inspiration on the breadth of the product range, customers can book a video call with the team of product experts who can help with any questions you may have.

See Snoopy immortalised on one of Smeg's retro-style fridges with an original drawing of the playful pup, flanked by his friend Woodstock. ⁠Offering only 25 pieces available in the UK, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind kitchen piece. Or, shop the range where Sicilian aesthetics and state of the art technology join forces to bring a unique collection of domestic appliances created by Smeg with distinct Dolce&Gabbana decorative motifs.

Explore gifts online. Or, book a virtual tour here.

Plant-based bakery with Ole & Steen

While London may be back in lockdown, you can still enjoy all of the best bakery eats from the comfort of your home.

Ole & Steen are busy baking every night to bring you fresh bread and pastries each morning, while their London stores remain open for takeaway, Click & Collect and delivery.

For those venturing into Veganuary, there’s plenty of plant-based bakery alternatives to tuck-in to. Try the new smoked Gouda and ‘no-duja toastie filled with green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked gouda vegan cheese and spinach on a toasted focaccia bread, from £5.95. Or, taste the returning Passion fruit slice vegan cream cake made with chocolate, fluffy lemon and passion fruit mouse finished with a tangy fruit topping and pistachios, from £5.

Plus, for those craving a caffeinated kick, Ole & Steen’s plant-based milk alternatives – soya, almost and oat - are all available at no additional cost.

Learn more about the new vegan menu. Or, place your order online via Deliveroo.

Online cheese tasting experience with Paxton & Whitfield

For those looking to discover the art of the perfect cheese, take part in the virtual cheese tasting event from Britain’s leading cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield.

Offering two live, online artisan cheese tasting experiences that’ll take place via Zoom, it’s a top-rated cheese tasting experience for cheese lovers.

If you’re looking to learn more about English cheese, don’t miss the first in the series taking place on Friday 19th February 2021, between 7-8pm. Or, for those with a passion for Cheddar cheese, book your tickets to the event on Friday 5th March 2021, between 7-8pm.

Tickets are £45 each, including entry to the online tasting event AND a chilled delivery of artisan cheese to your home so that you can taste along on the evening. The experience will be led by an expert cheesemonger who will take guests through each of the cheeses in your delivery for the full tasting experience.

Your cheese will be delivered to your home address in time for your live tasting. The Zoom dial-in details to join the live event will be sent to you by email.

Each cheese tasting delivery is carefully hand-cut, wrapped and packed by our cheesemongers into Paxton & Whitfield’s branded transit box and will include 4-5 different styles of artisan cheese to taste on the evening (plenty for 4 people) and a box of Paxton & Whitfield crackers.

Tickets to each event are limited so be sure to get yours while you can.

Learn more about the English cheese event. Or, learn more about the Cheddar cheese event.

Free live virtual cooking events by SMEG UK

Whether you’re looking to become a pasta connoisseur or master the art of the perfect pizza, there’s never been a better time to brush up on your kitchen skills.

Join Smeg’s flagship London store for a series of virtual cooking classes and demonstrations so you can master the art of incredible Italian cooking form the comfort of your home. Plus, you’ll get the chance to try Smeg products before you buy.

Each event will be hosted live, and are free to join from wherever you are in your home. Onlookers can cook along or simply sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy whilst learning a few tips along the way.

For those looking to join the cookery masterclasses, learn more about the free events here.

For those looking to learn more about Smeg’s products, learn more about the Smeg experience event here.

Corbin & King’s Home Dining and cocktail delivery service

Fill-up on delightful dishes made by The Wolseley’s world-class chefs from the comfort of your own home with Corbin & King’s Home Dining delivery service.

Featuring dishes prepared by world-class chefs using exquisite restaurant recipes, tuck-in to the likes of The Wolseley’s Wiener Schnitzel, to Soutine’s Coq au Riesling, or Zédel’s Mousse au Chocolat. Offering door-to-door delivery of refrigerated meals, each dish can be stored for three days and are mostly all able to be oven heated or microwaved.

Plus, for larger families enjoy the Home Entertaining menu with a range of celebratory dishes made for dinner party dining. All dishes come with accompanying sides and are ideal for groups of 5-8 people.

What’s more, sip and savour a range of hand-bottled cocktails as part of the Home Dining delivery service with The Wolseley Collection Take Home Cocktails. Cocktails are created by the expert bar team and include Margarita, Hemingway Daiquiri, English Rose, Negroni and a Manhattan. Each bottle contains two servings and make the perfect pairing to your chosen meals.

Learn more about the Home Dining delivery service here.

Featured Venues

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Royal Academy of Arts

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The Royal Academy of Arts is a world-renowned art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. For over 250 years, the RA has existed to champion art and artists and offers a place where art is made, exhibited and debated. Enjoy their expanded campus with free displays, new spots to eat, drink and shop, and much more.

Read more about Royal Academy of Arts
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Panter & Hall

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Panter & Hall has two West End galleries, one in Pall Mall and the other in Cecil Court. After more than three hundred exhibitions and over a hundred art fairs, they have forged a solid reputation for dealing in art and artists of talent. Specialising in contemporary Scottish paintings and Modern British art, they also offer a large stock of mid-century art to the interior designer market.

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Mall Galleries

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The national focal point for contemporary figurative art, and home to the Federation of British Artists, a major visual arts charity established in 1961. The Federation (FBA) comprises nine of the UK’s leading art societies, specialising in oil, portrait, marine, wildlife, watercolour, pastel, printmaking and sculpture. Many of the Mall Galleries exhibitions focus on contemporary representational art, each of them offering art for sale at affordable prices.

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The Crystal Maze LIVE London Experience

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The Crystal Maze LIVE London experience offers 70 minutes of frantic, frenetic, silly team fun. Relive the iconic 90's TV show in teams of up to eight people, aged 13 and over. Explore four different zones testing your teams skills, endurance and mental strengths. The more challenges you complete, the more Crystals you win and the more time you’ll have for the final test in … drumroll… The Crystal Dome.

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The Wolseley

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The Wolseley is a café-restaurant located in Mayfair, on London’s iconic Piccadilly serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and weekend brunch. Explore The Wolseley's online shop for the perfect present or indulgent treat for every occasion. Plus, discover their delightful range of gift hampers, candles, teas and coffees, silverware and much more.

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Smeg Flagship Store

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Smeg's new state of the art London flagship store is situated on the corner of the recently redeveloped St James’s Market. Located amongst the West End’s most exciting destinations. With an extensive range of large appliances, from ovens and cookers to fridges and dishwashers on display, the store also sells a wide range of small appliances and accessories, each with Smeg’s hallmark signature style and design.

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Aspinal of London

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Aspinal of London is a quintessential English lifestyle brand. Discover handcrafted luxury leather goods for men and women including handbags, accessories and gifting ideas. Add a personal touch with their embossing and engraving service to create a truly unique gift. They use traditional hot presses and brass blocking dies to hand-emboss your chosen leather gift with a choice of gold or silver foil or blind embossing.

Read more about Aspinal of London
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Apollo Theatre

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The Apollo Theatre first opened its doors more than a century ago in February 1901. It is a Grade II listed building and one of the most well-known theatres in London’s West End. Based on architect Lewin Sharp’s design, Henry Lowenfield - a Polish-born British businessman and theatrical impresario - commissioned the building's construction. When the theatre officially opened, it became the 4th legitimate venue for theatrical performances to be built on Shaftsbury Avenue.

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Prince of Wales Theatre

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