London: The royal corridors of Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's home, which is usually the preserve of paying visitors or guests, can now be seen through a new virtual reality tour.
The queen's primary residence can be accessed via a new video uploaded on the 'British Monarchy YouTube Channel' as part of a larger Google Expeditions Pioneer programme. The palace will be the first UK landmark to feature in a related virtual field trip intended for schoolchildren around the world.
"For schoolchildren, Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic, magical buildings in the world. We're terrifically excited that, thanks to the virtual reality potential of Google Expedition, children, their teachers and families can visit the palace wherever they live," said Jemima Rellie, director of content and audiences at the Royal Collection Trust which has collaborated with Google for the project.
"Virtual reality is really something. It's a game-changer. It is entirely different. It is the most physically immersive experience you can get without actually being at the palace. It's not going to replace a visit, but if you are unable to get to the palace, it is the best alternative out there," she said.
Using a special app and a cardboard stereoscopic viewer and smartphone, pupils from selected countries will be guided through the palace's grand entrance, up the grand staircase, through the throne room, picture gallery, green drawing room, ballroom and white drawing room.
The Buckingham Palace tour is one of 150 such tours on the free app available to 500,000 pupils who have signed up so far in schools across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark and Sweden. Other countries are to be included as the project expands this year.
The photos for the tour were taken last week with a 16-camera rig placed in a circle. The general public can access the 360-degree tour via the YouTube Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gen0NgJjry4.
Visitors can stand at the bottom of the grand staircase and, although not able to move, have an almost complete view of the architectural wonder dating back to the early 18th century.