Don’t let the rain stop you from enjoying all that London has to offer; there are countless things to do and see on a rainy day, with several free attractions that are an excellent way to get some culture while shielding from the shower. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities or would rather sit out the rain in London’s best bars, we’ve got it covered (literally).
See some art at Tate Modern
Get some culture at the Tate Modern, which has an impressive collection of international contemporary and modern art, and various special exhibitions to enchant art lovers, including a year-long exhibition on artist, teacher and curator Dóra Maurer. Better still, entry is free.
Go ice skating
Whether you can pirouette like Michelle Kwan or slip around like Bambi, there’s a rink for everyone in London. Round up your mates and make a move. it’s time to get your skates on. There are many indoor ice-skating rinks inn London to choose from. Enjoy skating sessions for all ages and abilities, as well as public and disco sessions for fun at the newly refurbished Streatham Ice Rink.
Explore the British Museum
As one of London’s most famous attractions, the British Museum will be busy on a wet day, but don’t let that stop you. This museum always has special exhibits and shows that will captivate and educate guests, young and old.
Catch a movie
Cosy up and watch a film at one of London’s most unique cinemas. From classic musical sing-alongs at The Prince Charles Cinema to an immersive viewing of the latest blockbusters at the BFI Imax, you won’t be short of places ——–to go.
Experience some history at the Tower of London
Take a step back in time to explore the Tower of London, where you can discover about its history and see the Crown Jewels on display in the Jewel House – some of which are still used in royal functions today. Check it out at hrp.org.uk. Some prefer not to leave the comfort of their own home. Then curl up on the sofa and catch up on its history with Inside the Tower of London, which is on youtube.
Play some board games
Embrace your competitive side at board game café Draughts, where you can choose from over 800 board games, including classics such as 5 Second Rule and Battleship. Order some bites, grab a craft beer and challenge your mates or family to a game or three. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of good competition, and with such a collection of games to choose from, you unquestionably won’t get bored!
Shop until you drop
Get some retail therapy at one of London’s biggest shopping centres. Westfield has centres in both Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush, with hundreds of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants all under one roof.
Visit one of London’s covered markets
For a unique shopping experience, take refuge from the wet weather at one of London’s covered markets like Borough Market. You can taste delicious food or snap up ingredients to cook something at home. Alternatively, Leadenhall Market, open since 1881, is a stunning indoor shopping place offering retailers such as Barbour and Reiss, tasty lunches from stalls and breathtaking architecture.
Visit the National Gallery
Art aficionados should go to Trafalgar Square, home to the National Gallery. Entry is free, and you’ll see thousands of works from famous artists including Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt.
Go to see a show
You’re spoiled for choice of amazing shows in the West End, particularly if you’re in a musical mood. Whether you like watching Waitress the Musical, The Tina Turner Musical or 9 to 5 the Musical, the theatre is an excellent place to warm up your hands (and your vocal cords!)
Wander around the Natural History Museum
Dippy the Dinosaur, one of the Natural History Museum’s most popular attractions, maybe on tour. Still, in its place, you’ll see ‘Hope’ the blue whale skeleton, along with shows dedicated to everything from evolution and dinosaurs. Whether it’s taking a selfie with the clock from the CBeebies shows Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures, or examining the hands-on science centre, it’s a great place to stay dry on a family day out.
A fun rainy day activity to do with family, friends or a date, you can’t go wrong with bowling! There are so many bowling alleys across the city to pick from, including All-Star Lanes, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, and Rowans Bowl in Finsbury Park, which also has a pool, arcade games and karaoke for hours of entertainment.
Get inspired at the V&A Museum
Museums are a failsafe way to spend a few hours while it’s raining, and the V&A is a must for anyone with interest in art and design.
Enjoy a tipple (or two) at a pub
What better way to kill a few hours on a rainy day than catching up with mates in one of London’s pubs or bars? There are hidden gems across the city. You should check out one of these best pubs in London.
Go on the London Eye
Even if it’s raining, you can still see some of the city sights from the shelter of one of the pods on the Coca-Cola London Eye. Sure, visibility may not be as good as on a sunny day, but you’ll still get a good look at landmarks and monuments like the Houses of Parliament and down the River Thames.
Have a day out at the Science Museum
Exploring the Science Museum is the perfect wet weather activity with kids in particular. Still, visitors of all ages are sure to be in awe of the award-winning exhibitions and things on display, including many interactive and immersive activities.
Dine at one of London’s many cafés or restaurants
Take shelter from the rain at one of London’s eateries. There are thousands to pick from providing to all tastes, whether you favour a quick bite to eat, want to spoil yourself with a Michelin star meal or want to sample food from around the world. The only tricky part will be narrowing it down to just one.
Explore Westminster Abbey
Alternatively, you could visit the Westminster Abbey, a famous landmark that dates back to 960AD and has played host to historical events such as the Queen’s coronation and the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate in 2011.
Relax in the Barbican Conservatory
Looking to get away from the concrete jungle and relax in the countryside? You don’t need to go far. The green spaces of the Barbican Conservatory offer thousands of plant species to walk through to clear your mind, and those with a sweet tooth can indulge in an afternoon tea!
Head to the National Portrait Gallery
For a free day out taking in several thousands of portraits, head to the National Portrait Gallery. Special exhibitions are held at the gallery frequently.
Play indoor golf
Why shouldn’t you have a game of mini-golf at one of the increasing number of venues popping up across the city? Swingers now have two places in the capital, while Junkyard Golf also has four 9-hole crazy golf courses on offer at its base in East London. One of the newest to open is Puttshack, East London, which uses cutting-edge technology to provide mini-golf with a modern update.
Try an escape room
Gather your friends and test your skills in an escape room. There are scores of themed escape room games across London, including The Game is Now: Sherlock Escape Room, a fantastic team challenge that puts you in the shoes of the detective.
Go to a spa
Treat yourself to some relaxation at one of London’s city, spas. You’ll find ridiculous spas within the city’s top hotels or could go to your local one for a bit of pampering.
Head to the Royal Observatory
Take a tour through space and time in Greenwich, home to the Royal Observatory. In the planetarium, visitants can experience the wonders of space with expert explication from real astronomers, while you can also stand on the Prime Meridian Line at the home of Greenwich Mean Time. See more at rmg.co.uk.
Visit an indoor play area with the kids
Got little ones to please? You’ll want to head to one of London’s indoor play spaces for a fun rainy day activity. KidZania London at Westfield London is an indoor city run by kids, where they can try 60 real-life events while mum and dad unwind with a drink in the Grown-Ups Garden Shed.
After earning my Economics degree from the Royal Holloway University of London, I entered the media publishing world to explore my passion for creative writing, journalism and discover the best social media marketing strategies. I am the creator of Only in London, where I'm focused on writing blogs, reporting exciting news stories in London, and marketing it all around.