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12 Best Things to Do in London When It Rains

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12 Best Things to Do in London When It Rains

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Wondering what to do in London in the rain? From cozy cafes to undercover markets, the city offers endless surprises!

Rain in London? No problem! I’ve explored this UK gem under cloudy skies and trust me, it’s just as magical. When you’re wondering what to do in London when it rains, think of it as an invitation to unique indoor adventures. From the world-class British Museum to the snug corners of the Old Shades Pub, there’s a rainy day discovery for everyone– all within reach when you fly to London.

My top tip: Let the rain lead you to experiences you might miss on a sunny day. Indulge in a luxurious afternoon tea at the Ritz, or get lost in the fascinating exhibits at the Victoria & Albert Museum. London’s rainy charm is something special, offering a different perspective on this vibrant city, making it one of the coolest places to visit in Europe.

Grab your umbrella and join me on a journey through London’s best rainy day activities. Whether it’s culture, history, or just a cozy spot to relax, your stay in London in the rain is a delightful experience waiting to be explored.

The top places to visit in London when it rains

What to Do in London on a Rainy Day

Even on a rainy day, London’s charm never fades. It’s the perfect time to explore some of the city’s indoor gems and cozy hideaways. I’m about to share 12 of the coolest things to do in London when it rains. Believe me, there’s no shortage of options, making it one of the top places to live and visit in the UK.

From museums and galleries to the warm embrace of historic pubs, London offers a delightful experience for every kind of traveler. Grab your umbrella and let’s dive into this city’s rainy day attractions– each beautiful spot in London promising its own unique brand of magic.

1. Explore the British Museum

Why is the British Museum even better when it’s raining? Simple: the rain adds a cozy, contemplative atmosphere to one of London’s best museums. Imagine wandering through the vast halls, filled with ancient artifacts, while the rain patters against the grand windows. It’s like stepping into another world!

I recommend starting with the Egyptian galleries. The Rosetta Stone, mummies, and monumental sculptures feel more mystical under the sound of rain. Then, make your way to the Greek and Roman exhibits. The Parthenon sculptures and the busts of Roman emperors seem to tell more vivid stories as you listen to the rain’s rhythm.

There’s no entry fee for the British Museum, and there are also volunteer-led tours that won’t cost you a penny. As such, I always recommend this England gem to anyone searching for free things to do in London when it rains. Plus, the spacious café is perfect for a rainy day – grab a coffee and watch the rain while surrounded by history.

Exploring the British Museum is one of the best things to do in London when it rains.
The British Museum is even better in the rain, adding a cozy atmosphere to London’s best museum.

2. Enjoy a West End Theater Show

A rainy day in London is your ticket to the dazzling world of West End Theater. Hands down, catching a show is one of the most fun things to do in London on a rainy day. The thrill of leaving the drizzly streets for the enchanting world inside a historic theater is unmatched.

Matinee shows are my go-to during wet weather. They offer a cozy refuge and a spectacular entertainment option. Whether you’re into musicals, dramas, or comedies, the West End has it all. And let’s talk about ticket prices – matinees often mean better deals.

I suggest keeping an eye out for last-minute tickets. You might land a fantastic seat at a fraction of the cost. Plus, there’s something uniquely London about watching a play while the city is draped in rain outside.

Escape the rain in London with the enchanting world of West End Theater – a perfect rainy day delight!
Escape the rain in London with the enchanting world of West End Theater – a perfect rainy day delight!

3. Visit the Victoria & Albert Museum

Escape the rain by stepping into the Victoria & Albert Museum, located in the heart of South Kensington. This museum is a world-class destination for art and design enthusiasts. As an art lover myself, I’d say that the V&A is one of the best places to visit in London when it’s raining.

What’s inside? You’ll find an incredible array of exhibits ranging from ancient textiles to cutting-edge fashion, from exquisite sculptures to intricate metalwork. Each gallery offers a unique journey through time and creativity, perfect for a rainy day exploration.

Don’t miss the Cast Courts, housing breathtaking replicas of famous sculptures worldwide. It’s a rare chance to see Michelangelo’s David and Trajan’s Column under one roof. Rainy days bring a quieter atmosphere here, allowing for a more personal experience with these artistic treasures.

Dodge the raindrops by immersing yourself in the world of art and design at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Dodge the raindrops by immersing yourself in the world of art and design at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

4. Have Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

There’s nothing more quintessentially British than afternoon tea, especially at the Ritz. Afternoon tea here is an iconic London experience, offering a luxurious escape from the rainy weather. The Ritz’s Palm Court becomes a serene haven, where the clink of fine china and the murmur of conversation create a cozy ambiance.

This isn’t just any tea. It’s a journey through a world of exquisite flavors. From delicate finger sandwiches to freshly baked scones and sumptuous pastries, each bite is a treat. The Ritz’s selection of teas is equally impressive, featuring blends from around the globe.

Ending your day at the Ritz for afternoon tea is one of the coolest things to do on a rainy day in London. It’s a chance to indulge in a timeless tradition, making any rainy day feel special. Make sure to book, though – this experience is very popular!

Indulge in the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea at the Ritz for a luxurious escape from London's rain.
Indulge in the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea at the Ritz for a luxurious escape from London’s rain.

5. Go Shopping at Old Spitalfields Market

One of the most fun things to do in London when it rains is embarking on a shopping spree at Old Spitalfields Market. This historic market, located in the heart of the East End, offers a unique shopping experience that’s perfect for a drizzly day.

Here’s what makes it special: The market is entirely covered, so you can shop in comfort, rain or shine. You’ll find a diverse range of stalls selling everything from handcrafted jewelry to vintage clothing and artisanal foods. It’s somewhere I always find unique items!

Need a break from shopping? The market is surrounded by a variety of eateries and cafes. If you’re craving a hearty meal or just a quick snack, there’s something for every taste. Plus, the market’s lively atmosphere keeps the rainy day blues at bay.

Enjoy a shopping spree at Old Spitalfields Market for a unique and perfect rainy day experience.
Enjoy a shopping spree at Old Spitalfields Market for a unique and perfect rainy day experience.

6. Have a Pint at the Old Shades Pub

Let me tell you about my favorite rainy day spot in London: The Old Shades Pub. This iconic Grade II listed pub, situated on Whitehall near Trafalgar Square, is like stepping into a cozy piece of history. It’s been welcoming patrons since 1898, and there’s no better place to be when the rain starts to pour.

What I love about The Old Shades is its unmistakable charm. The bar and dining area exude a classic British pub feel, complete with quality ales and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where you can shake off your umbrella, settle into a comfy corner, and feel right at home.

Their menu offers British pub classics and light bites, perfect for a rainy day. Pair it with a selection from their extensive range of draught lagers and premium spirits, and you’ve got yourself a quintessentially British experience. Trust me, if you’re wondering where to go on a rainy day in London, you won’t regret a visit to The Old Shades!

Discover a cherished rainy day spot at The Old Shades Pub, an iconic Grade II listed establishment near Trafalgar Square.
Discover a cherished rainy day spot at The Old Shades Pub, an iconic Grade II listed establishment near Trafalgar Square.

7. Experience the Science Museum

When the rain hits, head to the Science Museum in South Kensington. Without a doubt, it’s one of the coolest places to visit in London when it rains. Why? Because this museum turns a rainy day into a thrilling journey of discovery.

Here’s the scoop: The Science Museum is interactive and fun. You can get hands-on with science, perfect for curious minds. From space exploration to the wonders of technology, there’s something to amaze everyone.

What I particularly love is the IMAX cinema. Here, you’re able to watch a science documentary on a giant screen while the rain creates a cozy backdrop outside. It’s an immersive experience that makes you forget the weather.

The museum also has great cafes to relax in. So, after exploring, you can enjoy a coffee and reflect on all the cool things you’ve seen and learned.

When it rains, explore London's Science Museum in South Kensington—a thrilling journey of discovery.
When it rains, explore London’s Science Museum in South Kensington—a thrilling journey of discovery.

8. Ride the London Eye

Riding the London Eye on a rainy day? It’s surprisingly one of the best things to do when it rains in London. Here’s why: the rain adds a dramatic touch to the already stunning views of the city.

As you ascend in your capsule, watch as the raindrops race down the glass, adding a mesmerizing effect to the London skyline. The city’s landmarks, like the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral, take on a new, almost mystical appearance through the misty air.

And here’s a little secret: rainy days often mean fewer crowds. You might just get a capsule with fewer people, making your experience more intimate and special.

Don’t worry about the photos – the rain creates unique, atmospheric shots that are Insta-worthy. It’s a different way to see and capture London, making your ride on the London Eye an unforgettable experience.

Embrace the drama of London's rainy days with a ride on the London Eye.
Embrace the drama of London’s rainy days with a ride on the London Eye.

9. Visit the Tate Modern

There’s something about the Tate Modern that feels even more special when it’s raining. Located on the banks of the Thames, the Tate is free to enter and truly comes alive on rainy days. The rain outside brings a unique energy to this hub of contemporary art.

I always head straight to the vast turbine hall. The sound of rain adds an extra layer of ambiance to the large-scale installations there. It’s like the weather outside is in conversation with the art inside. And the view from the Tate’s café, with rain streaking down the windows overlooking the river, is simply unmatched.

Don’t miss the lesser-known exhibits on the upper floors. I’ve found some of my favorite pieces there, often overlooked by the usual crowds. On a rainy day, you get a more personal, almost private viewing experience.

Exploring the Tate Modern is undoubtedly one of the most fun places to visit in London when it rains. It’s a chance to see art in a different light, literally and figuratively.

The Tate Modern comes alive on rainy days, adding a unique charm to this hub of contemporary art along the Thames.
The Tate Modern comes alive on rainy days, adding a unique charm to this hub of contemporary art along the Thames.

10. Catch a Movie at Prince Charles Cinema

There’s something cozy about watching a movie while it’s raining outside, and Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square is the perfect spot for it. This cinema is known for its eclectic mix of classic films, sing-alongs, and cult favorites.

What I love about this place is its unique charm. Unlike your typical multiplex, Prince Charles Cinema has a character all its own. Settling in to watch a film here feels like you’re part of a special club, especially when the rain is tapping on the roof.

They often have themed nights and marathons, which are a blast if you’re a movie buff. Plus, the ticket prices are surprisingly affordable. Take it from me, it’s one of the best places in London on a rainy day.

Prince Charles Cinema is the perfect spot to enjoy a cozy movie night while the rain adds to the ambiance.
Prince Charles Cinema is the perfect spot to enjoy a cozy movie night while the rain adds to the ambiance.

11. Eat at London’s Unique Restaurants

Rainy days in London are the perfect excuse to dive into the city’s exciting dining scene. My top pick has to be Dans Le Noir ? in Clerkenwell. Imagine savoring a meal in total darkness, served by visually impaired waiters. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

London is a playground for food lovers seeking something different. You’ll find everything from themed restaurants to culinary experiences that are as much about entertainment as they are about food. Each place offers a unique twist, turning a simple meal into an unforgettable event.

So, why not make a rainy day special by trying one of London’s most unique restaurants? Eating is always an enjoyable experience, and it’s certainly one of the best things to do in London in the rain.

Dans Le Noir ? offers a unique dining experience in total darkness on rainy days, served by visually impaired waiters.
Dans Le Noir ? offers a unique dining experience in total darkness on rainy days, served by visually impaired waiters.

12. Tour the Houses of Parliament

Last on our list, but certainly not least, is a tour of the iconic Houses of Parliament. On a rainy day in London, there’s something particularly atmospheric about exploring this cornerstone of British history. The grandeur of the architecture and the weight of the political legacy are even more pronounced against the backdrop of a grey, drizzly sky.

Inside, you’ll discover a maze of corridors, stunning frescoes, and the famous debating chambers. It’s a chance to walk through the heart of UK democracy. The guided tours are insightful, offering stories and facts that bring the walls to life.

Ending your exploration of London’s rainy day activities with a tour of the Houses of Parliament is a fitting finale. It’s a reminder of the city’s enduring spirit and history, which makes it a top rainy day attraction in London. After all, what’s more London than politics and rain?

Explore the grandeur of London's Houses of Parliament on a rainy day, where history and architecture shine.
Explore the grandeur of London’s Houses of Parliament on a rainy day, where history and architecture shine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in London when it rains:

Looking for more content on the top things to do in London when it rains? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to London when it rains.

What to do in London with kids when it rains?

Rainy days with kids in London? No worries! London is packed with kid-friendly indoor activities. The Science Museum is a hit for curious minds, with interactive exhibits that make learning fun. For a bit of adventure, Sea Life London Aquarium offers an underwater journey without getting wet. And don’t forget the classic, Hamleys Toy Store on Regent Street – it’s like a wonderland for kids (and adults, if I’m honest!).

Is it very rainy in London?

London does have a bit of a reputation for rain, but it’s not as rainy as you might think! It’s more about frequent light showers than heavy downpours. Always handy to have an umbrella, but don’t let the fear of rain put a damper on your plans – there’s always something to do, rain or shine.

Rainy London street scene
Rainy London street scene

Does the London Eye close in rain?

Nope, the London Eye keeps spinning rain or shine! It’s actually pretty cool to see the city from up high with raindrops on the capsule – gives London a whole new look. Just a heads up, though: in extreme weather conditions, like high winds, they might temporarily close it for safety.

What is the rainiest month in London?

Typically, October to January are the wetter months in London. But even then, it’s more about drizzly days than torrential downpours. It’s the perfect excuse to duck into a cozy pub or café and watch the world go by with a hot drink in hand.

The top things to do in London when it rains for all types of travelers
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