You can now visit the Houses of Parliament without actually visiting it.
Following in the virtual footsteps of London institutions including 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament has created a 360° online tour, with the help of Aardvark 360.
Among the 10 rooms and corridors you can explore inside the Palace of Westminster are the Commons and Lords Chambers, the Peers' Lobby and Westminster Hall — the oldest surviving part of the building.
Our personal experience: this is one of London's best virtual tours yet. Charles Barry's magnificent vaulted ceilings make this a truly engrossing experience than the more humbly-proportioned Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. Aardvark 360 has also managed to overcome the blank patch on the floor that blights some Google Cardboard experiences — this tour really is all-encompassing.
As you marvel at the renderings of Augustus Pugin's interior design, you find walls, ceilings, statues and various other objects peppered with nuggets of trivia: learn about everything from the encaustic tiles in the Central Lobby to the Woolsack in the House of Lords.
Says Lord Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords, "Through this technology, Parliament is now open to anyone every day of the week."
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow adds "Parliament belongs to the people, so it is only right that everybody should get the chance to experience it."
The idea of the virtual tour is not just to allow people to 'visit' from home, but to be enticed to come and visit the real McCoy. We reckon this is the best way to advertise the riches of one of London's greatest buildings.
(Although we would like to see a virtual tour of Big Ben added at some point.)
The tour is available on here, where you can also view it in 3D through Google Cardboard.
Here's a teaser trailer:
Oh, and because there ain't nothing like the real thing, here's how to get into the real Houses of Parliament for free.