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The perfect day: an armchair holiday | Insight Guides Blog

The perfect day: an armchair holiday

With populations around the globe still having to do most of their travelling from the living room, the Internet has exploded with an array of virtual tours, activities, recipes and other creative ways to keep us exploring. So why not dedicate a whole day to “being on holiday” and hop around the globe?
Faroe Island remote tourism screenshot.
Faroe Island remote tourism screenshot.

Spending a day on holiday during quarantine can be an excellent way to keep the spirits up and the mind ticking. Plus there’ll be no time wasted with long bus journeys, ticket prices or gruelling legwork, and there are activities for any hour of the day. Here’s Insight Guides' perfect day spent holidaying from your armchair.

10am: Eat breakfast with a travel book

There’s no better way to wake up on holiday than to tuck into breakfast and a good book. Dipping into a spot of literature – a novel or travel writing – is a great way to transport yourself to your favourite spots around the world. We challenge you to read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and not feel like you're in a gritty Naples neighbourhood, or to pick up a Colm Tóibín and not fall in love with rural Ireland. Or – if you’d rather something more practical – why not get your Rough Guides off the shelf and start planning your next trip. It’s never too early to get excited.

11am: Visit a gallery or museum

For the culture vultures out there, next stop is your favourite gallery or museum. World-class institutions around the globe have thrown open their virtual doors, offering a range of fantastic tours and events to keep you occupied. Marvel at the epic collection of the British Museum in London, see Vermeers and Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or – if street art is more your thing – take a narrated virtual tour with the Google Street Art Project. There’s something for everyone on the World Wide Web.

 Rijksmuseum virtual tour

1pm: Cook up an exotic treat 

At Rough Guides, some of us have spent quarantine cooking our way around the world – and it’s made our taste buds sing. At lunchtime, strike out to a new destination or an old favourite by cooking a dish from another country. You’ll find an endless collection of fantastic recipes online, so try whipping up Spanish paella, a Vietnamese pho or – for ambitious cooks with a well-stocked larder – attempt sushi rolls from scratch.

3pm: Explore the great outdoors

For those of us locked down in cities, it’s natural to crave some green space. The good news? Plenty of remote, dramatic and dreamy landscapes are only a click away. From taking a virtual trip to the Grand Canyon in the USA to exploring the Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, there’s plenty on offer. For something a little bit different, make for the remote Faroe Islands. Visitors can join a real-time tour led by a local Faroese, who will follow your directions on foot, boat and even in a helicopter. The landscapes are volcanic and extraordinarily beautiful.

Kew Garden Youtube channel: Secrets of our Palm House.

5pm: Catch some live music

There’s nothing as iconically Cuban as Buena Vista Social Club, or as iconically Jamaican as Bob Marley. Spotify and other music platforms offer playlists evoking the beats of particular destinations the world over. Or, for something a little more classical, plump for an online concert. Vienna’s State Opera, for example, is broadcasting past shows on its online streaming platform every day (streams start at 5, 6 or 7pm).

7pm: Join an online cooking class for supper

There are a whole host of online cooking classes to help you cook up a storm for your supper, but everyone knows there’s nothing that can rival grandma’s homemade pasta. In Italy, 84-year-old Nonna Nerina is proving just that, and can show you how it’s done, too. She’s offering virtual cooking classes online, where she can teach you how to make ravioli and gnocchi, among other dishes. And when quarantine’s over, you’ll have some epic culinary skills to show off to your friends.

Sadlers Wells Breakin' Convention – The Jazz re:freshed Sonic Orchestra 

9/10pm: Watch an evening show

How about a world-class production to finish the day? If theatre’s your thing, make for London’s National Theatre: every Thursday the company streams a different show from its archive, which is available on YouTube for the next week. All are high calibre. Dance lovers, meanwhile, should try Sadler’s Wells, which has put together an impressive programme of dance performances and workshops to help people living through quarantine. The show must go on, after all.