Blue whale skeleton at Natural History Museum
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The best arts and culture to enjoy from home

Here’s some good news if you are a culture enthusiast: you no longer need to venture out to a gallery, museum or theatre to get your culture fix. Increasingly exhibitions, artworks and performances are being curated online, to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own armchair.

Here are some of the best online resources to get you started.

Michelangelo’s masterpiece

Many of the world’s most famous galleries and museums offer a virtual look at some of their finest works.

For example, pop over to the Vatican Museum’s virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel. Here you can marvel at the artwork it took Michelangelo three and a half years to create, featuring many iconic details such as The Creation of Adam.

A library in your hand

It’s now possible to access the full resources of your local library without setting foot in the building. Your library membership can unlock a huge number of eBooks and audiobooks, which you borrow for free via an app.

Just download the BorrowBox app for the Kindle, or Apple and Android phones and tablets, and you get access to all of the library’s literature. The app is lovingly curated, making books and recommendations a breeze to find.

Treading the boards

You can enjoy spellbinding theatrical performances online, from the comfort of your own home.

Digital Theatre has a subscription service for £9.99 a month, with unlimited access and no minimum tie-in. Alternatively, you can rent single performances for £7.99, playable on any device. There’s a wealth of performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Old Vic and Royal Opera House to name but a few.

A whale of a time in the Natural History Museum

If you’re a fan of the natural world, then you may want to venture into the Natural History Museum’s virtual museum. Here you can take a deep dive with Hope, the blue whale suspended from the museum ceiling, among 300,000 other specimens in the museum’s collection.

There are also 14 virtual exhibitions. There’s an interactive gigapixel photo of the Hintze Hall’s gilded canopy, that you can view in extreme close-up. And the virtual tours are presented by the voice of natural history himself, Sir David Attenborough.

Classical and chamber music

The Wigmore Hall is a renowned music venue, which specialises in chamber, instrumental and vocal music. It has a weekly concert broadcast on Radio 3, and – despite its dedication to early music – has plenty of online resources for the modern audience. There’s an extensive video library of past performances, and you can view the hall’s calendar of upcoming live-streaming concerts here.

Arts from the Beeb

If you’ve paid your licence fee, why not make the most of it, and spend some time over at BBC Arts? Here you can immerse yourself in lots of short films, documentaries and performances produced this year. Also available at the time of writing is a look inside cinema, Edinburgh Festival performances and features, and downloadable creative activities for the whole family.

Whether you’re a museum lover, a bookworm or a theatre enthusiast, you just need to take your pick and enjoy some top notch culture at the distance of a few clicks. Read this guide for more fun activities you can do online.