09 Oct 2020
by Neil Perrott

A grand French-Renaissance-style building, the large green lawn at the front and the blue sky dotted with white clouds.
Looking stunning in the sun. (© Royal Holloway, University of London)

Why we take part

HODs is one of the main opportunities for us to invite the public and our local community to explore our beautiful campus.

What we do for HODs

We coordinate colleagues to help deliver a programme of talks and tours exploring the spectacular Grade 1 listed Founder's Building, Picture Gallery, Chapel, archives and extensive grounds.

A women with short brown hair and white spotted top, examining a bell in an open belfry.
Curator, Laura MacCullough saw Old Tom, the bell atop the Clock Tower for the first time on a special hidden spaces tour. (© Royal Holloway)
 Adapting for 2020

The pandemic meant that our campus was closed to visitors. To ensure this important event continued we decided to offer an online experience.  We filmed five different virtual tours, looking at the art collection, history, architecture and nature of Royal Holloway. Doing things virtually meant we were able to offer experiences we wouldn’t have been able to do in person. The result? A great online event which showed what you can do in challenging circumstances!

Thank you so much for asking me to contribute to this really imaginative way to 'open' the building during the pandemic.



It's a great idea to have online access especially if like me you don't drive! Really enjoyed seeing Royal Holloway college as it's such an amazing building seen from afar.



The difference it's made

We worked with new colleagues and guest speakers to deliver the virtual tours. HODs provided us with the opportunity to run our first virtual event since the cancellation of live events due to the pandemic.  We will use this as a model for using pre-recorded content to replace a live experience.

A favourite moment

Seeing inside the Founder’s Building Clock Tower! Being able to access a space that is usually closed to most staff, as well as students and visitors, was a real privilege. The view from the top of the tower was incredible – we saw local landmarks like the former Holloway Sanitorium, Heathrow and Thorpe Park clearly, and could even see The Shard in the distance.

Neil's top tip!

We found that the ‘hidden’ spaces attracted the most interest, so try to keep things interesting.  If you don’t get excited then the visitors won’t be either!

A man in a white shirt and dark jeans standing next to a wooden carving of a bear, standing on its hind paws.
Jonathan Howe, Head of External Spaces, introduced us to the Hidden Nature on campus, including Colossus the bear! (© Royal Holloway)

Inspired? Find out more