Things To Do In London In The Rain

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 22 months ago
Things To Do In London In The Rain
The Serpentine in the rain. Photo: Ed

Woken up to the sound of rain hammering against your window? Want to go out and explore London despite the rain? While picnics in the park and city farm trips may be off the menu, there's plenty to see and do in London on a wet day.

Museums

Diving inside a museum or gallery is the obvious thing to do when the heavens open. The better-known museums (Science Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A) tend to get busy when it rains — and if it's the school holidays, you'll probably find yourselves queueing in the rain too.

The smaller and lesser-known museums however are likely to be less chocka, and many are just as interesting. Take a look at our museums page for further inspiration.

Sports

Sports and rain don't tend to mix for most people, but London has plenty of weatherproof ways to let off steam.

Oxygen Freejumping in West Acton is a trampoline park, with 150 trampolines waiting to have their springs sprung — a great option for wet school holidays. For braver Londoners, why not have a go at climbing?

Ten pin bowling is a good option for groups of all ages. All Star Lanes have venues across London, while Queens combines bowling with indoor ice skating (due to reopen November 2016). Find other year-round indoor ice skating rinks at Streatham, Alexandra Palace and other places across London.

Alternatively, admit defeat and go for a dip in one of London's outdoor pools and lidos, or go the whole hog and have a go at white water rafting.

Be a tourist

Many of the obvious tourist attractions are waterproof — although you may need a brolly for the journey there. The Shard is handily located right next to London Bridge station, although visibility may well be reduced on rainy days, and your photos will be streaked with raindrops. Ditto The Orbit. And The London Eye. And The Walkie Talkie.

Madame Tussauds, the London Aquarium and even Ripley's Believe It Or Not are other obvious choices, but chances are you've done them before.

River Cruises and bus tours (open top optional) are a way to see parts of London and get around without getting wet. Some cruise companies even offer lunch/dinner cruise options, so no trudging round in the rain to find a restaurant afterwards.

Avoid the crowds and see parts of London that few people get to see on a behind the scenes tour. Venues such as BBC Broadcasting House, The Royal Albert Hall and Southbank Centre all run them.

One way to dodge the rain is to go underground. Specifically, to venture into 22 miles of caves which lie under the borough of Bromley. A word of warning: although you'll dodge the rain, it still gets chilly down there, so take a couple of extra layers.

Shopping

Battling the brollies on Oxford Street may not be all that appealing, and the big shopping centres get pretty busy, but London has plenty of covered markets to explore, including Spitalfields Market, Greenwich Market, and when it's time for refuelling, Borough Market.

Games

Not just for kids, y'know.

Escape games are big business these days. Whether you're trying to escape Pharaoh Khufu’s chamber, or dodge a hungry zombie, there are plenty of them in London. Team Londonist has tried Escape Rooms, clueQuest and Time Run, and we're all still here to tell the tale.

Not into zombies? There are plenty of places in London where you can get your hands on board games.

Cinema

None of the offerings at your local flea pit take your fancy? Not to worry, BFI Southbank screens over 2,000 films every year, both classic and contemporary, as well as previews of upcoming films and talks by those in the industry. And there's also a huge catalogue of great British fare to be explored for free in the small but comfy Mediatheque film library (closed in the mornings and on Mondays).

BAFTA often screens previews of upcoming TV shows, although they usually get booked up in advance.

The lesser-known Cinema Museum in Kennington also has a regular programme of film screenings and talks.

If you're braving the downpour armed with a brolly, take a look at our guide to umbrella etiquette before you head outside.

Last Updated 10 October 2016