London is not camera shy city thanks to its picturesque views and famous sights. But you don't have to fly across the world to see everything in the British capitol these days thanks to webcams dotted around the city and virtual tours of several attractions. These let you keep an eye on what's going on from wherever you are in the world, so whether you're missing your favorite sights or you want to see the city up close before a visit, here are the best ways to see London from afar.
Watch this iconic bridge open and close throughout the day on this live streaming webcam, which is available on Visit London's website. See traffic cross the bridge and then stop for it to open to allow tall boats and ships to pass through. You can check the Tower Bridge Lift Times to figure out when it's best to tune in, or just catch a glimpse of the iconic bridge any time of day.
Waiting for your turn to cross the iconic crosswalk outside Abbey Road Studios can be challenging if you visit in person. So why not enjoy the plight of other tourists attempting to get that perfect foursome shot via the studio's live webcam, which is available via their website? You can choose a past time of day to glimpse the crosswalk, or check out the live feed, which is often quite busy during the day. Look out for the neighbors, who don't quite understand the hype, and take note of the least busy time of day for your next London visit.
Check up on Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben via a live camera set up on the roof of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel. The view looks out from the south side of the Thames with a perfect vantage of some of London's most iconic buildings. Stop by in the evening to see the Houses of Parliament lit up at night, or visit during the day to see the crowds and traffic traveling across the bridge.
Want to see the entirety of London in a panoramic view? Check out the live webcam at the top of the Shard, one of London's tallest buildings. There are two cams available on the structure's website, one from the west side of the building and one from the east side. Sunrise and sunset are obviously good times to tune in, but you can also enjoy the vast landscape during any sunny (or partially sunny) day in the city. See how many of London's other landmarks you can spot, like the London Eye, Tower Bridge and City Hall.
The Langham Hotel, located at the top of Regent Street, has a live cam on its rooftop that broadcasts continually via YouTube. It's the perfect camera to tune into any time there's a special event or protest since most take place in front of the hotel, which is located adjacent to the BBC. Don't miss the Christmas light displays in November and December, and see if you can spot Westminster Abbey and Big Ben in the background.
London's massive British Museum doesn't have an actual live camera, but it does boast an in-depth virtual tour that brings visitors inside the different exhibitions online. You see everything from the Rosetta Stone to the ancient Egyptian mummies via the museum's virtual tour, and it's a great way to experience the various artifacts inside. Search by time period, region or theme to investigate history from around the world.
Streaming from the Park Plaza County Hall hotel, this camera showcases a live view of the London Eye and the Thames. Watch when the London Eye is in operation for the best glimpse, although a visit during sunrise or sunset is equally rewarding.
Embark on a virtual tour of the National Gallery, one of London's best museums. The tour, by Google Street View, offers a 360-degree experience of several galleries, which means you can stroll through the rooms and look at the works of art. The best part is that the tour was filmed without anyone in the galleries, so it's like being inside a museum alone without any annoying crowds. The National Gallery also has an archived virtual tour of 18 rooms from 2011, which you can access on their website.
The Novotel hotel in Canary Wharf features a live view of the area from its roof, showcasing what's happening along the Thames. In the distance you'll be able to see the Shard, the Gerkin and the Walkie Talkie building, as well as the rest of the City of London. Watch when it's a clear day for the best views.
Get a complete look at the city via Visit London's 360-degree digital tour. It's not live, but it will give you a sense of the British capitol's scope and its many attractions. Click through to see everything from Big Ben, the London Eye, Harrods and the iconic Savoy Hotel, which you can even go inside. It's a great way to explore London without actually being there and it will give potential visitors a sense of what they might want to include on an upcoming itinerary.