7 RIGHT GRAND TOURS OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Cuppa' tea on Mount Rushmore, anyone? No probs- check out these virtual tours of some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the world. Best of all, they’re totally free. No need to get togged up in your waterproofs and walking boots, just pop your slippers on, sit back and enjoy…
With Google Arts & Culture you can explore many different landscapes from hot volcanoes to icy cold glaciers . We love this virtual tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska as you get to climb down into crevasses, watch a humpback whale leap out the water and kayak through glaciers. You’ll also learn about glacier recession and, sadly, the rapid rate that this landscape is dramatically changing. Educational and magnificent.
Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest natural cave. Estimated to be between 2 and 5 million years old, the cave only became known internationally in 2009. Each year just 1,000 tourist permits are allowed, but thanks to this virtual tour you get to explore it all for free. First you wander through the vast jungle that surrounds the cave and then you go in and start to trek through the caverns. Some chambers are so high that you could fit a skyscraper in them! Standing on top of stalagmites, you can hear dripping water all around you and really feel as if you are there in person. This is one not to be missed.
This national nature reserve, one of the largest in the UK, is situated in the Loch Lomond National Park. The tour takes you from the top of wooded hills to the edge of spectacular lochs including the 8 mile long Loch Katrine. You can also explore both ancient woodland and newly planted forests of native trees. We particularly like how you can navigate the landscape in different seasons, with a Spring wander through a sea of bluebells in ancient woodland a highlight of the tour for us.
Machu Picchu is a World Heritage site and you can tour the historical ancient city set in the Andes without taking one step out of your home. At a series of points across the site, you get a 360 degree view accompanied by a narrator explaining the site’s history and points of interest to look out for. The view of the valley way, way down below is quite a sight to behold.
A World Heritage site closer to home, take a tour of this ancient stone circle and learn about the history of this prehistoric monument. When you click into the videos, a historian explains some of the ‘hotspots’ of interest including the Bluestone, Bronze age carvings on the stones and the tallest stone at Stonehenge, the Great Trilithon.
There’s both a 3D explorer and a virtual tour of Mount Rushmore National Memorial so you can get up really close to the faces of the four ex-presidents of the USA. Located in South Dakota, the sculpture of the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the rock face attracts over 2 million visitors annually.
This is a chance to virtually walk one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China. The 3000 mile long wall dates back over 2000 years, and is a collective of fortifications built to defend Chinese states and empires. On this tour you can see the wall in winter as well as summer, enjoy the view from one of the watchtowers and walk along the wall from Jinshanling to Simatai, a popular hike with tourists.