12 Places To Spend A Rainy (& Dry!) Day In London



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First things first, an apology. We’re aware that in the Great British tradition, even mentioning the rain can goad the weather gods into unleashing a downpour. But how about we don’t leave things to superstition and chance with this one? 

In reality, it’s better to be ready for such an occasion than be caught outside, naked, with no umbrella and the safety of shelter an expensive Uber ride away. With that in mind, here are some options for keeping busy, entertained and dry during the approaching, inevitable April showers; our 11 places to spend a rainy day in central London.

Eat & Imbibe At A Covered Market

Artisan sourdough stalls. Tibetan tsampa sold off a trestle table. Tents peddling bowls of Hanoi style pho. Market saturation just doesn’t seem to be a term found in the London lexicon when it comes to food. And to its 8 million curious, hungry residents, that can only be a good thing. The appetite for new cuisines and Instagrammable bites, it seems, just can’t be sated in the capital. Supplying the demand most deftly are London’s many covered (see; rainfree) markets.

World famous Borough Market is a great place to start; the walk from London Bridge underground station to undercover, culinary nirvana is just a couple of minutes.  Inside and around are great stalls, open from 10 till 5, and some great restaurants and bars to spill into once the market itself shuts up shop if you want to keep the vibe going late into the night.

Should you be struggling to find inspiration in the London Bridge area, then you might want to head slightly further afield, eastwards. Whether it’s the best bars in Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Stoke Newington or Hackney Wick, East London is perhaps the hippest place for affordable, ambrosial dining and drinking options in the capital. Simply hop on the 35 or 149 bus on Borough High Street, and you’ll be in Shoreditch in around ten minutes. In the area, Spitalfields Market, Eataly, and BOXPARK Shoreditch all offer shelter and plenty of great refreshments.

We’ve also written a rundown of 10 great London markets here; do check it out.

Be Productive At A Co-Working Space

Have you always wanted to start a side business, learn a new language or write a book, but can never find the time to do it? When the weather is terrible and you have nothing else to do, there’s no excuse to keep procrastinating.

London is a hub of creativity and with that comes plenty of co-working spaces to help get those juices flowing. Some of our favourite spaces to work at include the Hoxton Hotel, which boasts large lobbies decked out with comfy couches and workstations, as well as WorkLife in Camden and Liverpool Street’s Storey.

The open 24 hours a day, seven days a week Soho Works in (confusingly) Shoreditch is a slick, sleek option if you’re cool with parting with the monthly membership fee of at least(!) £500. Hackney’s De Beauvoir Block is a more affordable £100.

Whether you’re writing an essay to submit to a journal or working on your first ever blog post, it’s possible to turn your rainy day into a productive one.

Explore The Barbican Centre, The City

When visiting the aesthetically striking, brutalist Barbican Centre, you’ll have to keep your admiration for the exterior architecture to a minimum if you want to keep dry. But it is truly stunning, and definitely worth closer scrutiny when the rain subsides.

Inside, there’s plenty to keep you busy, entertained and educated; this is Europe’s largest Arts Centre all housed under one roof after all. As such, the cultural choices are endless, with a concert hall, three cinemas, art gallery, theatre, the Museum of London and three dedicated restaurants, cafes and a bar. Hey, if they had a hotel here we’d recommend a full weekend.

Draughts Board Game Cafe, Haggerston

In Haggerston, Hackney you’ll find London’s first dedicated board game cafe, Draughts. It’s been such a success that a second has opened near Waterloo on Leake Street and the opening hours of 10am until 11pm make it the perfect choice for getting really immersed in the fun and frolics of an old school board game during one of London’s many, many rainy days.

The collection is hugely extensive, with stone cold classics like Monopoly and chess rubbing shoulders with more esoteric options like Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot. The menu is all cleverly curated finger food (Korean chicken wings, tacos….) and perfect to pick at while never breaking stride on the board. Perhaps the best part; unlimited back to basics gaming will cost you only a £5 entry fee. The beers, sadly, aren’t free.

Take Shelter In An Escape Room

What better way to escape the bad weather than to lock yourself in a room which is extremely difficult to get out from? London boasts over 120 escape rooms with the best a test of teamwork, individual and collective ingenuity, perseverance and many more skills you’d be proud to boast about on your C.V.

Each has a theme of sorts, with the best taking the tales long associated with the capital and spinning them into a modern adventure. Mission Breakout in Camden Town, for instance, focuses on the idea of a haunted tube station, or Sherlock: The Game Is Now (the location is a secret) channels perhaps London’s greatest mystery solver of all, Sherlock Holmes.

Visit The British Museum, Bloomsbury

One of the world’s oldest and most magnificent museums, The British Museum, offers a dry and educational refuge from the rain. With free entry, you can spend hours exploring the vast collection that spans over two million years of human history. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon (whose presence has been the subject of much recent controversy), and the Egyptian mummies. The museum also offers special exhibitions, workshops, and lectures for those looking to dive deeper into specific areas of interest.

Babylon Park, Camden

No more waiting for the fair to come to town; you can simply hop down to this intergalactic adventure and amusement park in Camden Town. All the activity takes place indoors, so there is no chance of this event being rained off, and you buy ‘coins’ in advance through a mobile app to play the myriad arcade games. If this hasn’t quite satiated your appetite for gaming, you have other options online. Back at home once the weather’s cleared up, you can hop on the web and visit flash games, the steam store, or even online slots. Just make sure you’re approaching things with a meticulous process to choose the best online slots if they do take your fancy so you can make sure to avoid, disappointment, lagging speeds, or a slow payout system.

The Faulty Towers Dining Experience, Bloomsbury

Fawlty Towers was one of Britain’s greatest-ever comedy series, and this 2-hour interactive production will immerse you in the show. It is set in a restaurant, and the audience is the diners. It does not replicate the TV scripts, but the performers inhabit the spirit of the inept hoteliers Basil, Sybil and Manuel. 

Be prepared to be caught up in their madness as you dig into your three-course meal. The experience has received critical acclaim and runs until December. If that is not enough of Torquay for one trip, you could also book yourself tickets to the stage show, which opens on March 4th.

War Of The Worlds, The City

If you like your immersive events, throw in some virtual reality, and you can find yourself in another world. At the Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds Experience in London’s Leadenhall, aliens have descended, and you need to escape from them. The event boasts live actors, virtual reality and 5D effects to transport you to the centre of the action.

Discover the Wonders at The Natural History Museum, South Kensington

Escape the rain and immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world at the Natural History Museum. Admission is free, making it an ideal retreat for curious minds of all ages. Be greeted by the awe-inspiring blue whale skeleton, Hope, as you enter the Hintze Hall and prepare for an educational adventure.

The museum is a treasure house of the planet’s history, from dinosaur fossils to the latest in environmental science. Interactive exhibits like the Earthquake Experience bring natural phenomena to life, while the Darwin Centre gives a glimpse into the work of scientists.

Children will be thrilled with hands-on activities, including fossil digs, while adults can enjoy the array of exhibitions, such as the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. With on-site dining options, the Natural History Museum offers a perfect blend of learning and leisure, making it a splendid way to spend a rainy day in London.

Science Museum Events, South Kensingston

London’s iconic Science Museum has a packed schedule of events, including after-hour events that allow you to take part in themed activities. However, one of the most popular attractions is the Power Up gallery, which pays homage to five decades of gaming and features more than 160 consoles. 

This is the place to go whether you are a retro games fan or just fancy a wander down memory lane. You can play against friends, rediscover childhood favourites, or test out some of the next-generation interactive games.

Enjoy A Literary Retreat At The British Library, King’s Cross

The British Library is not only the national library of the United Kingdom but also one of the world’s greatest academic institutions. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a quiet day reading or researching. With over 170 million items, including books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints, and drawings, the library provides an endless source of knowledge and inspiration. They also host regular exhibitions, many of which are free, showcasing some of their most treasured items and special collections.

The Bottom Line

London’s unpredictable weather patterns are no match for the city’s boundless indoor attractions. From the intellectual havens of world-class museums to the sensory indulgence of a massive feast, there’s an indoor activity to suit every interest and mood. 

Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge, unleash your creativity, or simply find a cosy corner to while away the hours, London’s indoor offerings provide the perfect backdrop. So next time the clouds gather, remember that a rainy day in London is just another opportunity to discover the hidden gems that thrive under cover. Embrace the indoors and let London’s vibrant spirit brighten even the gloomiest of days.

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