What To Do In London When It Rains
This post covers for things to do in the rain in London, which can happen, including a top 10 list, as well as free, kid-friendly and nighttime things to do.
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!
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.
Many of the attractions below are included on tourist discount passes.
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 rain.
…And Take a Tour of the British Museum
This massive museum has over 8 million items and its labyrinth-like layout can mean you’ll miss some of the most famous pieces if you don’t know where to look. Join our tour of the British Museum to an entirely indoor tour and escape the weather.
We also offer tours of the National Gallery of Art.
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 and if you’re looking to spend the whole day inside doing more than one attraction, it can get costly.
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.
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 sets 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!
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.
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 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 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 Shakespearian characters.
Prices for brass rubbings depend on the size of your chosen piece but in general runs 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.
Many of our top 10 above have no cost upfront, like visiting some of the national museums, the Sky Garden or . 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 for those who are traveling on a budget, it is worth noting that 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. This means no audio tours or taking in the museums and memorials throughout both churches.
However, worshipers are invited to come inside and sit in the main body of the buildings and partake in a church service being held in some of the most breathtaking religious sites in the country.
You could also access Westminster Abbey for free as a tourist with any of the tourist discount passes, which we detail below.
Get a Tourist Discount Pass
A tourist discount pass affords you discounted entry into most of London’s most popular tours and attractions. While the passes themselves certainly aren’t free, if you plan your itineraries well, you will end up getting one or two attractions for free each day.
There are several different types of London tourist discount passes, so be sure to read our comparison post to learn about how you can save more of your hard earned money while in London.
Some more suggestions for free indoor activities in London:
- Join us on a tour of the British Museum
- …or National Gallery of Art
- Visit the Sky Garden Observation Deck
Check out all the free things to do in London…
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, we have a post with the top 10, free things and even things to do at night! 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. At the State Rooms, there is a drawing and coloring room.
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. For a few more ideas…
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.
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 how to get out!
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.
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