From Buckingham Palace to Borough Market via a good cup of tea – just because London is in lockdown, doesn’t mean you can’t visit the English capital, even if it’s only virtually.

Double-decker buses on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background
London may be in lockdown, but our digital itinerary allows travellers to explore the city from their sofa © Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

We’ve scoured the streets to pull together a digital one-day London itinerary that takes travellers right to the heart of the city without even needing to go near the tube. So step out of your pyjamas (if you want) and get ready to be transported to London for the day. All times are in GMT.

9am – Enjoy the perfect coffee with Square Mile

Start lazily with some coffee. East London's Square Mile Coffee Roasters supply beans to some of the city’s best coffee shops -- from Prufrock Coffee to Popina. They also sell online. Join founder James Hoffmann on YouTube as he walks you through the best way to make a delicate, sludge-free brew using a French press.

The closed black gates of Buckingham Palace in London, England
The gates at Buckingham Palace may be closed, but you can still visit online © Tetra Images / Getty Images

10am – Nose around Buckingham Palace

Spend the next few hours wandering the rooms at Buckingham Palace, the Royal residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Usually packed nose-to-neck, the Royal Collection Trust’s virtual tours allow travellers to rifle through its empty rooms.

Admire the intricate needlework on the 1953 coronation Chairs of Estate in the Throne Room and then look up – does architect John Nash’s arch and draped curtains remind you of anything? It’s a nod to his previous work on theatres in Haymarket.

Don’t miss the elaborate gild mouldings on the walls of the White Drawing Room either. The reception room is reserved for the Queen’s most honoured guests – and the secret doorway near the portrait of Queen Alexandra is her own private entrance.

Sun illuminates the Great Court of the British Museum in pure white as it dives through the glass roof onto visitors who, lithe like L. S. Lowry's great subjects, climb the circular stairs or mill around on the ground floor
Visitors mill around the reading room of Great Court at the British Museum - but now you can have the space to yourself online © Chaokai Shen / 500px

11am – Explore the British Museum

Take a quick digital hop to the British Museum for an unobstructed view of its most-visited object, the Rosetta Stone, via a virtual tour. The inscribed granodiorite rock helped scholars decode ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Then spend some time perusing the Sutton Hoo collection, a mass of Anglo-Saxon artefacts from the 6th and 7th century, including the items discovered at the site of an untouched ship-burial. The Sutton Hoo helmet, still completely in-tact, was first buried nearly 1400 years ago.

A blurred crowd moves through Borough Market in London
You can now get a taste of Borough Market without the hustle and bustle of being there © Doug McKinlay / Lonely Planet

1pm – Cook a Borough Market lunch

Just as you would if you were in the city, head to Borough Market for lunch. Usually it would be abuzz with artisan producers selling tangy cheeses, paper-thin charcuterie and biodynamic wines, but now it’s best experienced online.

Each weekday at 1pm, a chef or producer will create a dish on Instagram Stories, bringing the market direct to your kitchen. Multiple visits are likely to be required.

An assortment of sugared doughnuts with blobs of dark-red jam protruding from some and or swirls of yellow custard oozing out of others are lined-up vertically, with a trace of fallen sugar granules showing where other doughnuts would have stood but have now gone
Doughnuts are the sort of afternoon treat you can expect to make with Bread Ahead Bakery's cooking lessons © Ulf Svane / Lonely Planet

2pm – Bake some treats with Bread Ahead Bakery

It’s impossible to walk past Bread Ahead Bakery in Chelsea and not drool over their thick-filled doughnuts or stop to admire their lightly-golden cinnamon buns, arranged on a plate like a bouquet of roses.

Fortunately they’re letting customers in on their secrets with daily bakery courses on Instagram Live at 2pm, so you can bake and enjoy a batch of Bakewell tarts or a crusty rosemary focaccia without keeping to baker’s hours.

A young woman sits at a table with a cup of tea and a pen and a pad and looks wistfully out the window at a lake.
Making a good cup of tea at home can vicariously whisk you to London, England © Westend61 / Getty Images

3pm – Have a cup of tea (and help the NHS)

No visit to London would be complete without a quality cuppa. For the full experience, order some loose leaf tea from Leather Lane’s Good & Proper Tea and follow their online instructions to make the ideal brew. Better still, buy a cuppa for an NHS staff member for £1 – the company are delivering tea supplies to local London hospitals.

The exterior of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, a reconstruction of the original with a thatched roof and exposed wooden beams bathed in sunlight
The Globe Theatre in London is streaming many of Shakespeare's greatest works online © Ron Ellis / Shutterstock

4pm – Catch a matinee at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Head from the kitchen to the theatre for an afternoon show at Shakespeare’s Globe. From 6 April onwards, the theatre is making previously-recorded plays available for free online, so you can watch The Bard’s best work from the comfort of your own sofa. Non-English plays are available too, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Korean and Much Ado About Nothing in French.

Gyros souvlaki wrapped in a pita bread on a wooden board
Learn to make souvlaki and other Greek treats from your own kitchen with The Athenian © rawf8 / Shutterstock

7pm – Make Greek souvlaki with The Athenian

For dinner, grab some food on the go from The Athenian, a Greek street-food stand which specialises in freshly-made souvlaki (a filled pita wrap). There are several outlets across London, but now you can make their delicious wraps at home by following their live evening classes on Instagram at 7pm. Courgette fritters slathered liberally in homemade tzatziki anyone?

The wooden-fronted Ye Olde Mitre pub exterior with oak barrels outside as tables and green plants running above the awning
Pubs may be closed to customers, but some of London's boozers are serving people digitally © Stuart Ayton / Alamy Stock Photo

8pm – Go down the pub

All London itineraries should end in a good pub, so pour yourself a pint and prop up the (space)bar at the boozers taking orders online. Brewdog, a vast warehouse-like space in the neo-Gothic Minster Building near the Tower of London, is hosting Friday night homebrew classes and virtual quizzes.

Meanwhile Wadworth, the brewery behind The King's Arms gastro-pub in Fulham, has created an entire virtual pub called The Henry. Yes, you’ll miss the wood beam floors and full-bodied ales, but the beer tastings, bingo and pub quizzes will make up for it.

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