A tour around the Houses of Parliament without leaving your home

The Palace of Westminster is opening the doors on a virtual tour of its iconic spaces, giving visitors from around the world a chance to get a feel of what it is like to stride through the House of Parliament.

The 360-degree pictures allow visitors a chance to look at both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Several more of the palace’s most famous spots are also virtually re-created, including Westminster Great Hall, St Stephen’s Hall and the Central Lobby.

The virtual tour is live from 11am at www.parliament.uk/virtualtour, but you can get a taste of it with the special 360-enabled video below.

 Start the video playing, then click and hold with your mouse and you can drag your viewpoint around, allowing you full freedom of movement:

As well as the 360-degree view you see above, the virtual tour will also be enabled for virtual reality headsets.

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“Parliament belongs to the people, so it is only right that everybody should get the chance to experience it,” said John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons.

“The virtual tour means that people from all over Britain and, indeed, all over the world can visit Parliament and learn about our democratic institutions.”

The tour was put together by a firm called Aardvark 360, whose director Jay Scott-Nicholls was full of enthusiasm for the project: “Few locations are more prestigious or historic, or are so visually rich. The huge spaces, vaulted ceilings and large-scale artworks can only properly be captured in 360.

“It’s thrilling to stand virtually in these familiar rooms, close enough to see the scratches on the despatch boxes and the creases in the leather seats.”