What to do in London when it rains

Tiempo de lectura: 7 minutos
Rainy Day in London with Tower Bridge
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Rain, rain, go away, come again another day! Every British child grows up learning those words. The reason for that is that it rains a lot! That’s why it’s great to have some ideas about what to do if you’re visiting London in the rain.

Thankfully, in a city that’s more than used to a spot or rain, there are plenty of great plans for both young and old. We hope our guide to what to do in London when it rains helps you banish those rainy day blues!

1. Head to a museum

One of the great advantages of museums on a rainy day is that they have rooves! Rooves mean you’ll stay dry. They’re also generally full of pretty cool stuff that will fill you head full of lots of interesting facts and ideas.

Your main problem might be choosing where to go. There are so many amazing museums in London. Of course, there are the obvious ones like the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert. All of them are worthy of least a few hours of your time. They’re among London’s most popular attractions for a reason. And that reason is that they’re totally brilliant!

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane's Museum, LondonIf you’re looking for something a little more unusual then London has plenty more to offer on its museum menu. One of our favourite museums in the city is the Sir John Soane’s Museum, which is a truly fascinating house museum.

Sir John Soanes was a famous architect in the 18th and 19th centuries. He designed the Bank of England, Dulwich Picture Gallery and several other London landmarks. He even worked on the Palace of Westminster. In 1792, he bought his house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and, over the years, he filled it with art, antiquities and assorted other interesting bits and pieces.

In 1833, he has his house declared a museum upon the event of his death by Act of Parliament. The man clearly had influence. Today, the museum is one of London’s most unique and fascinating places. We guarantee that you’ll be able to happily while away an hour or two there.

Young V & A

Formerly known as the V & A Museum of Childhood, the Young V & A is a great place for the kids and for anyone who’s ever been a kid. It’s one of the many brilliant things to do in London with kids. It’s full of fun interactive exhibits that are designed to spark the imagination and get your creativity running wild. It’s a brilliant place to hide when the skies break open.

There are so many more fantastic museums in the city. Another of our favourites is The Postal Museum, right in the heart of the West End, where you’ll get to ride through hidden tunnels under the city!

There are museums for all tastes in this amazing city. Get Googling and you’ll find one that seems to have been made just for you.

2. Hop on the City Sightseeing Bus

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, London

We know our buses are famous for being open-top, but just like a posh sports car, they’ve got retractable rooves that we can use when the rain comes down. London in the rain has its own special magic. The buildings of the city have been weathered by the rain (and occasional bouts of sunshine) so it’s good to see them in the rain. In fact, London in the rain is so special, the jazz singer Blossom Dearie wrote a song all about it.

Remember that the bus might be hop-on hop-off but you can also stay on the bus if you like and just enjoy the view until the rain stops or you find somewhere you want to hop off and explore. We’ve got three interlinked routes so you can happily spend several hours on the bus watching the world go by.

3. Catch a film

People at the cinema

There’s a reason that cinemas do well when it rains. They’re a great place to escape for a couple of hours. Just because you’re on holiday or just in London, for a couple of days it doesn’t mean you can’t go to the pictures. Seeing a film in Leicester Square is a treat that’s worthy of any occasion.

One of our favourite cinemas is the Prince Charles, right in the heart of the West End and stone’s throw from a couple of our stops. They’ve always got something interesting on and it’s cheaper than most. You can’t go the cinema, buy some popcorn and a drink and get change from a fiver anymore, can you?

Look out for there special singalong sessions. They’re a ton of fun for those of you who enjoy a good old sing song.

4. Pop to the shops

Harrods, London

Another great hiding-from-the-rain activity is to spend a few hours in one of London’s famous department stores. The most obvious is Harrods, which can be found on our Blue Route. It’s a great place to get an idea of how the other half lives or, if you are the other half, to buy some expensive souvenirs.

They used to say that you could get anything in Harrods, even an elephant but you had to order those in as they didn’t generally have them in stock. So if you’re looking for an elephant, then you know where to go!

For a completely different shopping experience, we love Spitalfields Market. Housed in a attractive Victorian building, this indoor market is where you can check out all the latest trends from fashion to food. We think an afternoon there is an essential London experience. 

And it’s 100% a brilliant place to eat. There’s scrummy food from around the world. One of our favourite places to eat is Smokoloko, a barbecue joint that cooks its super tasty treats in an old steam train!

5. Take in a show

West End Theatre audience, London

While not on the cheaper side of things, a visit to London without seeing a West End show. It’s an experience you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. We’ve got vivid memories of some of the West End shows we’ve seen over the years that we know will live for us forever.

If you’re coming to London and you want to see a specific show, then, of course, it makes sense to book ahead. But if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day and the theatre takes your fancy, you might even be able to get cheap tickets. The big, big shows are generally sold out but that doesn’t mean you can’t get last-minute tickets.

In fact, you can often get them cheaper on the actual day. There’s a place called TKTS in Leicester Square that does last-minute deals on loads of the top West End shows. It’s run by the theatres themselves as a way to make sure that they fill as many seats as possible. Sometimes, it pays off to see a show you’ve never heard of just because it’s cheap. If you’re lucky – and why wouldn’t you be? – you’ll get to see a real gem. Checking out a show is definitely one of the best things to do in London when it rains.

6. Eat!

Food at Borough Market London

Another brilliant way to chase away the rain day blues is to comfort eat! Find somewhere with some delicious food and fill your belly with yummy grub. Listing all the good places to eat in London would take a lifetime and we know you’ve not got that long. We’ve already talked about Spitalfields Market. That’s a definite winner when it comes to dinner but our favourite foodie destination has to be Borough Market.

Just a short hop from one of our stops, Borough Market is a true food lovers paradise. You could spend a couple of hours here just choosing what to eat. If you go there without an appetite, we guarantee you’ll soon have one. We went there with the kids this summer and we ordered food from three different stalls. Delicious tacos, onion bhajis and super sandwiches that were full of the most amazing mix of mouthwatering ingredients.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find a version of it here. And a version of it that’s very likely the most delicious you’ve ever tasted. If you’ve left your appetite at home, just going for a wander around the market is an experience and is one of the few and far between free things to do in London! Best of all, for those rainy days, is that Borough Market has a roof!

Let it rain!

As you can see, a rainy day in London doesn’t have to mean a day that’s wasted. There’s so much to do in London and so much that you can do when it rains. A city with as much rain as London is a city with its own rain plans. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that you haven’t really experienced Lonon until you’ve been there on a rainy day!

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Monmouth Coffee Company: This iconic cafe in the heart of Covent Garden is known for its ethically sourced coffee and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Chiltern Firehouse: Located in Marylebone, it’s a beautiful café with a cozy fireplace.
  • The Attendant: A unique café in Fitzrovia that’s converted from an old Victorian toilet, offering a charming and cozy experience.
  • Timberyard Seven Dials: A perfect spot to relax on a rainy day with its warm, rustic decor and a wide selection of teas and coffees.
  • Sky Garden: Enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea alongside a mesmerizing view of the city’s skyline from this café.
  • West End Theatre Performances: London’s West End is famous for its theatre performances. Many shows run year-round, rain or shine. Check out classics like ‘The Lion King’, ‘Les Miserables’, or newer additions like ‘Hamilton’.
  • London Museums: Many of London’s world-renowned museums, like The British Museum, Natural History Museum or the V&A, are perfect to visit during a rainy day.
  • Indoor Concerts: Venues such as the O2 Arena or Royal Albert Hall often host a variety of concerts and performances regardless of the weather.
  • Sky Garden Events: Sky Garden features a variety of events throughout the year, from morning yoga to live music evenings, all in their enclosed, indoor garden space.

The rainiest month in London is typically October, although rainfall varies from year to year. It’s always good to keep an umbrella handy when in London, as the city is known for its frequent bouts of rain.

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