This post covers things to do in the rain in London.
We include mostly indoor activities, as well as free, kid-friendly, and nighttime things to do.
- Top 10
- Free Things To Do
- Kid Friendly Activities
- At Night
- Indoor Activities
- How Much Rain Each Month
Is London the Most Rainy City?
London has a reputation for being consistently rainy, but this is not exactly true. In fact, it rains less in London than it does in New York City, Sydney, and even Miami.
London sees 27 inches of rain a year with rain falling on average for 106 days of the year.
However, NYC sees around 50 inches of rain a year and it rains in Miami 135 days of the year.
The difference is that rain in London is more consistent with rainy days spread throughout the calendar rather than restricted to seasons like in other cities.
It’s also worth noting that London is far cloudier than other locations. For example, London sees only 1,633 hours of sunshine a year compared to NYC’s 2,535!
So although London may not be as rainy as you expect, the skies tend to be cloudy regardless of precipitation.
What Time of Year Does it Rain the Most in London?
Although London doesn’t technically have a rainy season, you can expect to see the most rain from October to March.
Statistically, January is the rainiest month with more than half of the month seeing rain or snowfall.
June is the driest month with rain falling on average for just 9 days.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN IT RAINS
This section is all about indoor activities in London to avoid rainy weather.
Many of our top 10 options below and free or budget-friendly and all of them are great for kids, too!
1. Visit a Museum or Gallery
London is full of museums that are fun for the whole family! Educational, entertaining, and dry, you’ve got a plethora to choose from.
Keep in mind, though, that the more popular museums will be more crowded, so a less popular museum or gallery might be a great choice when it's raining.
Here are a few of the best London museums to visit:
- Tate Britain
- Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Natural History Museum
- The Science Museum
- And many more!
We have a few posts to help you decide on a museum to visit.
2. Look into a Tourist Discount Pass
There are a variety of things to do in London indoors, such as the museums above, but some of them have admission costs.
These passes can save you up to 55% off retail prices by bundling together dozens of attractions and tours into one discounted price.
They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket queue at many locations.
There are many pass options and our post will help narrow down the option to what works best for you.
3. Go to Platform 9 ¾
For Harry Potter fans from all over the world, Kings Cross Station is a must-visit destination.
Platform 9 ¾ is available for witches and wizards to visit, as well as a great photo opportunity and fabulous gift shop. And it's all indoors.
Read our blog on more Harry Potter locations in London or if you're a true Potterhead, learn more about visiting the Harry Potter Studios.
If you don't mind a little rainy mist, our Harry Potter walking tour runs rain or shine.
4. Visit the Tower of London
The Tower of London is a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibitions but the doom and gloom of a rainy London day set the perfect atmosphere for the historic, gruesome, and fascinating Tower experience.
Check out our guide to visiting The Tower of London.
5. Go Shopping
If you want to hit the major shopping district of Oxford Street, or you want to stroll through the glamorous halls of Harrod’s, London has plenty of shopping options for when the weather turns bad!
Westfield is one of the biggest shopping centres in London. With over 300 stores, you might want to visit just for the variety!
Check out our list of the best places to shop in town.
6. Take Afternoon Tea
A great way to while away a rainy afternoon is the classic British afternoon tea.
Treat yourself to some silver service at places like Fortnum & Mason and take afternoon tea the traditional way – hours of luxurious eating, drinking, and chatting all while the rain pours down outside.
See our post about afternoon tea in London or family-friendly afternoon teas.
Or, why not check out the Twinings Tea Shop in the City of London?
7. Join a Free Walking Tour
Our name-your-own-price tours run rain or shine and on wet days, you may have more of the streets and neighborhoods to yourself.
Nevertheless, we do offer tours of the British Museum and the National Gallery of Art that will keep you out of the rain.
Find out more about our walking tours of London to see what tours we offer.
8. Go up on the London Eye or to an Observation Deck
You may be wondering why you'd want to do this on a rainy day since part of the joy is the view.
If the weather isn't too foggy, you'll see get a great view of several notable landmarks, and Foggy Londontown photos are classic.
But more importantly, you'll likely find a lot fewer people in line before you.
Keep in mind, you can get in for free with many tourist passes.
9. Rub Some Brass
Hidden away below St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church by Trafalgar Square sits the London Brass Rubbing Centre.
With nearly 100 different brasses available to choose from, both kids and adults can rub images of medieval knights and ladies, fanciful creatures, religious figures, and even Shakespearean characters.
Prices for brass rubbings depend on the size of your chosen piece but in general run between £4.50 to £15.00 which means it’s a relatively inexpensive London experience.
Get more info at their website: St. Martin-In-The-Fields.
10. Do What You Were Going to Do Anyway!
Bad weather means visitors will be following advice like the list we have set out above which means rainy days can be crowded museums, shops and pubs, and empty attractions.
So if you’ve got your waterproof jacket and some warm shoes, just stick with your original plan!
Chances are you may enjoy the benefit of fewer people and shorter queues wherever you go.
FREE THINGS TO DO ON A RAINY DAY
Many of our top 10 above have no cost upfront, like visiting some of the national museums, the Sky Garden, or visiting a Harry Potter filming location.
For all our top free things to do in London in any weather, visit our blog post for more.
Visit the Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament (located inside the Palace of Westminster) is the legislative body for the United Kingdom.
Any time the House of Lords or the House of Commons is at work inside the Palace, the public may enter the building and sit in the public galleries to watch the political debates as they take place!
A particularly popular time to visit is at noon on Wednesdays when the Prime Minister takes questions.
Another idea is to take an audio tour of Parliament, but this isn't free. Read our guide on how to visit Parliament.
Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral for Free
St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey have a hefty price tag for entry, but both churches hold services on weekday evenings and throughout the day on Sundays that are free for the public to attend.
Guests at the services are not allowed to wander throughout the building. Read our post to learn more.
You could also access Westminster Abbey for free as a tourist with any of the tourist discount passes, which we detail below.
Some more suggestions for free indoor activities in London:
- Join us on a tour of the British Museum
- ...or the National Gallery of Art
- Visit the Sky Garden Observation Deck
Check out all the free things to do in London...
LONDON WITH KIDS ON A RAINY DAY
Most of the things we've listed above are kid-friendly, especially the Harry Potter Studios, but here are some more suggestions for London in the Rain.
For all the best things to do in London with kids, regardless of the weather, read our London with kids article.
Ride the Stratford Slide
This is the world’s highest and longest tunnel slide.
It was originally intended to be a piece of art, but in 2016 the slide was added which takes guests from the observation tower at the top, 12 circles throughout the curves on the structure, and all the way to the bottom in a 40-second trip!
- Location: The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
- Tickets: £16.50 for Adults / £10.50 for Children / £13.50 for Concessions / £52.00 for a Family of 2 adults and 2 children
- Note: Riders MUST BE AT LEAST 1.3m tall and above the age of 8. Only children above the age of 14 can ride unaccompanied by an adult.
- Book HERE.
See a Show
There are several theatres throughout London that have excellent programs for kids, such as the Little Angel Theatre and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre.
Both theatres have kid-themed shows running often and at times host interactive workshops.
Tour Buckingham Palace
Open to the public, you can explore certain sections of the palace, home to the royal family.
Family activity bags are available free of charge, so be sure to ask for one when picking up your tickets.
In the State Rooms, there is a drawing and coloring room.
For more information on visiting Buckingham Palace…
Visit a Public Market
Locations like the London Borough Market are excellent places to find a bite to eat. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, they also have a lot of gourmet dishes.
A lot of times, the stalls you'll find at these markets are much more affordable than an expensive restaurant.
Another great option is Old Spitalfields Market, as there are a lot of street food vendors at this covered marketplace.
Whether you're looking for a more affordable food option or you just want a snack while touring the city, this is definitely a great place to visit.
TIP: Find out more about visiting London with kids.
NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES WHEN IT RAINS
Some of our free and top 10 things can be done at any time of day, including the evening.
We offer a variety of evening walking tours that run even in the rain.
Read our post all about London at Night for advice in any weather.
Visit a Pub
Whether it's for an evening pint or Sunday Roast, some of the best pubs have leather armchairs and fireplaces - perfect for a rainy day in London.
Whether you're looking for the Best Riverside Pub or the Best Historic Pubs in London, we have suggestions on where to spend a dreary day in London.
Lock Yourself In…Then Try to Get Out!
One of the biggest activities to take London by storm over the last year has been locked-room escape games.
Fun for visitors and Londoners alike, these companies will lock you and your friends into a room filled with clues, red herrings, puzzles, and games and leave you to try to figure out how to get out!
Check out the two best: Clue Quest & Hint Hunt.
See a Film
At the Prince Charles Cinema, guests can watch classics such as The Sound of Music or the Lion King while the entire audience sings along.
At the IMAX, some of the largest cinema screens in the world display current hit films as well as 3D experiences aimed at both adults and children.
Check out what’s on at Prince Charles Cinema / IMAX.
A few more suggestions for evening indoor activities in London:
- The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London
- Museums with Late Night Openings
- Sky Garden Observation Deck.
- Watch a West End Musical
- Dinner Cruise on the Thames
- Pub and Club Crawls
Read more about what to do in London at night...
BEST INDOOR ACTIVITIES IN LONDON
While it might not make much sense to take a cruise on the river Thames in the rain, there are a lot of fun indoor activities and venues you might want to visit instead.
Here are just a few of our favorite spots!
- Natural History Museum
- The Science Museum
- London Borough Market
- Old Spitalfields Market
- Sea Life London Aquarium
- Royal Observatory Planetarium
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Harry Potter Studio Tour
- Swingers Crazy Golf
- Bounce Ping Pong
- London Dungeon
- Madame Tussauds
- Crown Jewels
- Covent Garden
- Movie Theatres
- Bowling Alleys
- Tate Britain
- Tate Modern
- Tower Bridge
You might also want to consider attending a West End show at one of the many venues in London that host popular musicals.
Many of the attractions listed above are included at no additional cost with at least one of the discount passes in London.
HOW IS THE WEATHER IN LONDON?
We have also created guides based on the time of year. Click on the links below for the corresponding time that you plan on being in London.
These also include monthly weather expectations to help you plan how to dress.
Not all ideas are good for when it's raining, but many are.
- January (weather)
- February (weather)
- March - (weather)
- April - (weather)
- May - (weather)
- June - (weather)
- July - (weather)
- August - (weather)
- September - (weather)
- October - (weather)
- November - (weather)
- December - (weather)
Another effective way to plan your trip is to discover London by neighborhood. This has the advantage of cutting down on time spent traveling from one area to the next.
Again, not all of these ideas are intended for rainy days, but many are.
London contains many distinct neighbourhoods and districts. You can explore on your own and we’ve created over a dozen self-guided tours.
Many of which also provide tips on things to do, restaurants, and places to stay, as well as a growing list of self-guided GPS-enabled audio tours.
Of course, you can join us for one of our many pay-what-you-wish walking tours for deeper insight into the neighborhoods shared by one of our knowledgeable and personable guides.
Below is a list of the 13 top areas.
- Old City of London
- St. James and Piccadilly
- Hyde Park and Kensington
- Covent Garden (+ Covent Garden Food Tour)
- Trafalgar Square
- Leicester Square
- Camden Town
- Borough Market
Be sure to look into the top things to do in London in any weather, including our name-your-own-price walking tours. We also have reviewed the best bus tours in London, as well as boat tours on the Thames.