12 Things To Do In London When It Rains

By Lottie Woodrow | 17th October 2021

Thinking of checking out Hyde Park? Don’t bother, it’s raining. Wandering down St James’s hand-in-hand with a loved one? Won’t work, you’ll both be clutching brollies. As much as we love London, there’s no doubt we’d all rather be sunning in the Maldives. Which for obvious covid reasons is also off the cards right now. 

As it looks like we’re stuck here for the foreseeable, we might as well embrace the rain and explore London from under a shelter. Whether you’re a visitor without a mackintosh or a weather-worn Londoner looking for things to do now that the sun has packed up, here are 12 suggestions for things to do when it rains in London. 

Don’t forget to pack a brolly for the downpour.

Take in the gothic Victorian architecture at Leadenhall Market

Head to a covered market

For those looking for a market that’ll see you partaking in a little retail therapy, there are loads of options, all with varying price ranges too. For high fashion boutiques and tail-coated attendants, look to Burlington Arcade. While Bloomberg Arcade is a little more modern with restaurants inside to dine the afternoon away. 

At the top of our list is Leadenhall Market, home to gothic Victorian interiors and a whole host of opportunities on the food and retail front. 

Street food a'plenty

Visit an undercover street food market 

Sure, we all love an outdoor street food market but who really wants to be traipsing around one when it’s bucketing down? Not us, that’s for sure. But there are still loads of indoor markets you can get your foodie fix in London without having to cling to your brolly. 

From Seven Dials Market to Market Hall, London’s street food scene has never been more attractive. 

Who's up for a game of chess?

Battle your friends with a boardgames marathon 

Feeling board of the rain? Us too, so how about a game of Cluedo or Battleships to tie us over until the weather picks up? 

London is home to some seriously great board game cafes that’ll see you willingly ditch Animal Crossing for the night to partake in some hearty real-life competition. Our personal favourite is Draughts. Now with two locations (Hackney and Waterloo) and over 1,000 games to choose from, you’ll be able to entertain yourselves for hours.

Visit a museum

Whether you’re young or old, museums are always great fun. And there are so many great ones you can visit right in the heart of the capital, with the majority of them free too! 

From the British Museum and its glass roof to the giant dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum, rainy days offer a chance to lose yourself in the magic and history of it all.

Listen carefully and you'll hear the rain hammering on the glass roof...
Wave as you walk past the dinosaurs...
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square's pool looking far to tempting...

Take a trip to a spa 

Take a breather away from it all and book in for a treatment or swim at one of London’s best spas. Look out over the city from the pool at the Shangri-La London The Shard or burrow away and visit the Cowshed at The Ned for an afternoon of swimming, saunas and steam rooms. 

The treatments at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square are second to none and you won’t want to miss the chance for a dip in the sleek pool.

Putt, Putt away!

Go mini golfing

Putts at the ready! Forget golfing in the wet weather, we’re headed to one of London’s lively indoor mini golfing venues. And with a city awash with options, Puttshack is the king. Play multiple innovative courses, and it’s so clever that it keeps score for you, leaving you to get slowly drunk safe in the knowledge that it’s got your back (and knowing that Nan can’t be cheating again).

Popcorn anyone?

Catch a film in an indie cinema 

The perfect activity for a rainy day has to be a trip to the cinema. While the rain pelts it down outside you can be transported to other worlds. But don’t settle for a multiplex, there are more than enough Odeons in the world for the sort of people who want to pay £15 for a box of popcorn to watch a mediocre film in an out-of-town shopping centre. No, what you want is a real indie cinema, a place that feels like it’s totally designed for film lovers. London has no shortage of beautiful cinemas.

Grind paving the way for Instagrammable interiors...

Explore London’s independent coffee shop scene

There are too many independent coffee shops in London to settle for a cup from a chain retailer. Mix up your usual Pret takeout and head to one of London’s finest independent coffee shops.

Best explored when the sky is a little gloomy, London’s independent coffee scene continues to become one of the best in the world, but where to head? For the Instagrammable moments, it’s got to be Grind, for something with a little more character try Hermanos or venture to Seven Dials to try out Monmouth Coffee Company. 

Imagine swimming while it's raining...

Take a dip in a lido 

Let’s face it, if you’re wet anyway you might as well embrace it by combining one of the most London things ever (rain) with one of the most London things ever (a lido). Lidos are scattered across the capital, outdoor swimming pools that are bizarrely popular all year round. 

Whether you’re jumping in to escape the summer heat, or breaking the ice on Christmas day, people are out come rain or shine. And when it’s raining, well why not?

Curl up with a book in a bookshop

There’s nothing we like more than losing ourselves in a detective tale, reliving the raucous rock and roll days through a music memoir or simply allowing our mind to escape into a fictional land, and it’s reading that allows us to do that. While the weather is cold, wet and dreary outside, escape it all inside one of London’s best bookshops. 

From stores that specialise in first edition literary classics to educational stories, here’s where to head…

Catch a theatre performance

London is known for its glitz and glamour, despite being a rainy capital, so when the weather is a little temperamental grab yourself a half price ticket from one of the ticket stands and get your glam rags out of the wardrobe (topped with a trench coat and brolly obvs). 

The city is brimming with the very best in theatre, many of which have reopened again at a reduced capacity, and catching a show during the torrential rain is the perfect way to soak up the glamour of the West End without your clothes soaking up the rain… After all, who doesn’t love a good ol’ sing-a-long?

Go bowling

Bowling shoes at the ready, we’re headed to one of London’s poshest bowling alleys to take cover while the rainy weather persists. But where shall we be heading? Ham Yard Hotel is arguably London’s poshest alley, hidden inside the hotel. It’s decorated with two giant crocodile driftwood decorations and features an original 1950s alley that’s been transported specially from Texas. 

Another great bowling pitstop is QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Dine, skate and bowl here all while having a jolly time with friends. 

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