London is a beautiful city, but one in which unfortunately, it tends to rain a lot. It’s one of those stereotypes everybody jokes about. Everybody knows that it rains a lot in London.
So what can you do in London when it rains? Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a Londoner on a day off, you don’t want to spend the day moping about your house!
Worry not! Given that it rains so much in London, London offers plenty of fun things to do even on rainy, grey and cold days! In this guide I’ve listed all the most fun things you can do in London when it’s bad weather, without getting rained on (too much).
So let’s dive right in, and discover what to do in London when it rains!
In this guide:
- 1 11 things to do in London when the weather is bad
11 things to do in London when the weather is bad
Visit a museum
The vast majority of museums in London are free.
They usually have a main exhibition that is free to access, and special exhibitions that you have to pay for. The free exhibitions are usually pretty awesome so you don’t have to worry about paying for the special ones.
But most importantly, if it’s raining, you’ll be indoors! Warm and dry while you learn about space or dinosaurs. My personal favourite museums are the Natural Science Museum and the Science Museum in South Kensington.
If you’re more into art then the Tate Modern is a great one for modern art. The British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum are great for historical and cultural artefacts.
All of them are beautiful and can also be the perfect backdrops for your London Instagram shots.
See a musical
In the West End of London you will find pretty much every musical you can think of. Personally I’ve been to see Lion King, Wicked and Billy Elliot, and thought they were all brilliant.
The set, music, performance of the actors and costumes are simply incredible. On weekends most theatres will do also a day performance, meaning you can make it a day activity if it’s bad weather.
Do an afternoon tea bus tour
If you don’t want to look yourself indoors just because it’s raining, then doing an afternoon tea bus tour can be a great idea.
You get to sit indoors while drinking delicious tea and eating tasty cakes and sandwiches, all the while touring around London and seeing the main sights!
It’s the perfect combination between being indoors, enjoying lovely food, and still doing some fun sightseeing.
Even on a grey day you will still be able to appreciate the beauty of London. You’ll also be able to get some great photos of one of the most Instagrammed cafes in London (even if it is a moving one)!
Tasty food and socially accepted day drinking, what more could you want from a rainy day in London? Bottomless brunch is the new trendy thing to do, and you will find loads of cool bottomless brunches all over London.
It’s the ideal bad weather activity. You get to spend a few hours with your mates, eating, drinking and having fun, then by the time you walk out even if it’s still raining you probably won’t mind too much anymore!
Play ping pong at Bounce
Ping pong might not sound like the wildest way to spend an evening, but hear me out. In Shoreditch (the hipster and cool area of London) you will find a bar called Bounce.
Bounce has countless ping pong tables, a dance floor, a bar and restaurant. If you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual, it’s the perfect place! Here you can have a few drinks and enjoy a few ping pong games with friends.
Play crazy golf in Shoreditch
If ping pong isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty of quirky bars in Shoreditch where you can have loads of indoors fun. There are multiple crazy golf bars in Shoreditch, as well as dotted around London.
As the name suggests these are mini-golf courts, but with a little crazy addition. They usually have whacky lights and all sorts of crazy obstacles and challenges.
My personal favourite is Plonk, even if the course is quite short, since it’s BYOB. Swingers and Junkyard are bigger and have proper bars where you can get drinks while you play.
On your way to crazy golfing, make sure to check some of the cool street art in Shoreditch! You might not be able to do a full tour if it’s raining, but you’ll still be able to see some cool pieces.
Visit one of the covered markets in London
Shopping and eating at street markets is one of my favourite things to do in London.
Sure you could go shopping in the big stores of Oxford Street or sit down at a restaurant, but for me wandering around stalls and sampling street food is always more fun.
Obviously markets are very dependent on the weather. Most of them are open even on rainy days, but they’re not quite as fun. It’s a good thing that many of the markets in London are covered and are great also when it’s bad weather!
My personal favourite is Old Spitalfields Market. It’s still somewhat of a hidden local gem in London. It’s entirely covered and has loads of different stalls, both of food, clothes and all sorts of accessories.
Covent Garden is probably the most famous covered market in London. Camden Market and Borough Market also have covered sections, but the majority of the stalls are outside.
If you don’t mind getting a little wet they’re still a great place to visit even when it rains in London.
Do an escape room
This activity is usually done by corporate companies, in an attempt to make their staff bond and become a better team. That said, they’re actually super fun and a great activity for a rainy day.
You get together a group of friends, get locked in a room and have one hour to solve a series of riddles and break out. The escape rooms usually have different themes; I did a Harry Potter themed one and a “steal the Crown jewels” themed one.
Bowling is one of those things I grew up watching in TV shows, but I’d never really had the opportunity to play. When I moved here I was thrilled to find so many bowling alleys in central London!
Sure it might not be the best activity if it’s your first time visiting London and you want to get some sightseeing in, but if you’ve visited before and you don’t want to spend a rainy day at home, it’s a great option.
Bloomsbury Lanes is my personal favourite. Located in the heart of central London it also has karaoke booths. It’s the perfect place to get a group of friends together, have some drinks and just enjoy a fun evening out.
Cruise along the River Thames
This might seem like a very summery activity, and yet all the boats that cruise up and down the Thames have big indoors areas, meaning they’re the perfect activity even for a rainy day!
Personally I’ve only been cruising on the Thames for university boat parties and for a dinner showboat cruise. However most companies also offers loads of day cruises, beyond the simple river cruise, such as lunch, brunch and afternoon tea cruises.
They’re a great way to combine delicious food with seeing the main London landmarks from a completely different angle, all while being snuggled up indoors, warm and dry.
Whether it’s raining or not a River Thames cruise should feature on all London bucket lists really!
Visit Sky Garden
London has a lot of awesome rooftop bars, most of which also have big indoors areas given the weather issue, but Sky Garden is without a doubt my favourite.
It’s one of the best viewpoints in London, with epic 360 views over the City and all the way to Canary Wharf.
It’s also a very fun venue, with plants everywhere, bars, Instagrammable restaurants and fun activities like sunrise yoga. Entrance is free, just sign up online for a specific time slot so you don’t have to queue outside.
On a rainy day the view over London might not be as pristine, but you can still admire the London skyline with a tasty drink in hand, even if it is a little grey.
Final thoughts on what to do in London when it rains
Have you been in London on a rainy day before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
After spending 8 winters in London, I’ve had my fair share of rainy days. This guide goes over some of the best things you can do in London when it rains, so that you can have a fun day out without getting soaked.
Whether it’s your first visit to London or you’re a Londoner, I hope you find this useful in turning a grey and rainy day into a fun day out!
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