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 6 IDEAL ways to spend a rainy day in 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. We’ve written a rundown of 10 great London markets here, 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 Holborn and Hoxton Hotel, which both boast large lobbies decked out with comfy couches and workstations. The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is another place where you’ll find rows of people on laptops feeling inspired.
There are also plenty of dedicated co-working spaces if you really need to get your head down; 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. And if you’re feeling uninspired, need essay help or your writing skills are a bit rusty, then there are plenty of online resources like this website which can help you hone and tone your work.
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
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.
THE DESIGN MUSEUM, KENSINGTON
Stuck for something to do in Kensington? With no entrance fee (to gain full access, you’ll have to pay a tenner, though) a free, thought provoking day in The Design Museum awaits. Coming up on the ever evolving, eclectic program are exhibitions on Stanley Kubrick’s auteurship as well as an imaginary trip to the red planet, Mars; an immersive experience of what the surface may look like when we finally land there. Hopefully they’ve got the air con on for that one.