As much as we dread pulling this article out every time the rain clouds open up, it is part and parcel of being a Londoner… Thanks, British weather! The wetter side of London weather, for which we’re so well known, has returned and the rain! Oh, the rain! Well, let’s stop moaning about it and make the most of our picturesque capital (it does look good in the rain, we have to admit!) with this roundup of wonderful things you can do around London when it’s a rainy day in London.
1. Brighten your day with a trip to an indoor rainforest
The Barbican Conservatory is a verdant oasis in the heart of the city that will make you forget all about the pouring rain. Instead, you’ll be transported to a faraway jungle as you surround yourself with the greenery.
2. Or brighten up your living room with some flowers
We’d say Columbia Road flower market is the haven for all things floral but if the weather isn’t nice then you’re not going to want to stroll around outside over dilapidated daisies, are you? Why not pick up a bouquet from one of London’s many fine florists, and add some colour to the grey day?
3. Take cover in a charming bookshop
There’s something about bookshops that leave us all warm inside, so why not hide from a rainy day in London alongside the smell of leather-bound ledgers? We recommend a gander around these charming London bookstores that are perfect for literature lovers. And when the weather picks up, you can go on this lovely literary walking tour around the city.
4. Or visit one of London’s incredible free museums
London is filled with amazing free things to do, so why not head out for a day of discovering some art and culture? London is, as we all know, home to some of the world’s best museums (like the infamous Natural History Museum), and we’ve rounded up some of the best free ones for you here.
5. Settle in at a cute café for a rainy day latte
What better way to while away a rainy day in London than with a warm cup of coffee and some people-watching? Get comfy in one of our city’s many amazing coffee shops with a book and some music. You could even switch up your work environment for the day and romanticise your life as you stare out the window while you “work”.
6. Warm yourself up with a hot cup of cocoa
We love tea and we sure love a cup of coffee, but a hot chocolate also can’t go amiss. (We’re even partial to them in the summer. Although, there are some pretty fantastic iced versions available if you need it cold all the time!) It’s the ultimate comfort drink — so if you’re craving something extra decadent, check out these delicious chocolate shops that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
7. Or how about something a bit stronger?
Needless to say, any day spent at a bar is a good one, but rainy days provide the perfect excuse to hide away from the world with a drink in hand. After all, there’s not much else you can do, right? You sure won’t have trouble finding bars in London, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, we have plenty of suggestions for a pretty cocktail, a cosy glass of wine, or a pint at one of the city’s oldest pubs. Settle in for the evening and wait out the rain…
8. If you want to start early, these bottomless brunches are brilliantly boozy
…And you can head straight to the bar right after, like a true Londoner. Here are some of our favourite bottomless brunch spots, but in case you suddenly crave pancakes and mimosas at 1 am, you can always opt for one of London’s late-night eateries when it’s raining.
9. Use the opportunity to discover your new favourite restaurant
Even in London, we don’t get enough rainy days to check off all of our city’s best restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch or a fine dining experience, we truly have it all. Heck, we’ve even got a roster of Michelin-starred restaurants – some of which you might even be able to get a table for this year! To get you started, here are the absolute best restaurants the Big Smoke has to offer.
10. Or eat your way through this giant Italian food hall
We promise you that Eataly has enough food and wine to last you several hours, so the giant Italian food hall on Broadgate is the ideal place to tuck into some pizza and pasta or start your own afternoon wine tasting crawl. If you like some more cuisine variety, head to the marvellous Mercato Mayfair, which happens to sit inside a church!
11. Relax with a delightful afternoon tea
I think we can all agree that a hot cuppa is the ultimate rainy day in London remedy – and an assortment of pastries, sandwiches (and perhaps champagne?) can make it even better. We’ve rounded up London’s loveliest afternoon teas which are perfect to brighten up any grey day.
12. Take cover under a railway arch …
… And we don’t mean just to hide from the unexpected downpour! London’s railway arches are the new place to be, especially on a rainy day. Check out Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross for some shopping and food, or Camden’s Bavarian-inspired Beer Hall nestled under railway arches.
13. Kick back and snuggle up at a cosy cinema
There’s truly no better way to escape London rain for a couple of hours than with a visit to the cinema. Grab some popcorn, kick back, and relax with a movie whilst laid out on a reclining sofa. Just try not to fall asleep! Take a look at our roundup of London’s cosiest independent cinemas.Be sure to grab a cut-price ticket for your local cinema, so you can keep coming back for even more screenings!
14. Laugh at London’s happiest museum, Dopamine Land
What better way to turn your frown upside down on a rainy day in London than to visit the place dubbed ‘the happiest museum in London’? Dopamine Land is a museum-meets-immersive-experience that was created to appeal to our happiness hormone, dopamine. Of course, what makes us happy changes depending on the person; at Dopamine Land multiple rooms elicit the use of different senses, so we can identify just what makes us tick. A visit to this indoor spot makes for a fun hour or so, and with ballpits and shadow puppets, is rather nostalgic too.
15. Let the good times roll at a bowling alley or indoor golf course
Spend a rainy afternoon with a competitive round of bowling, or challenge your friends to some fun arcade games. Check out these fun bowling alleys, or head to the nearest crazy golf venue for a par-fect escape from the rain.
16. Eat some gorgeous vegan food
London is awash with some of the finest vegan cuisines on the planet. The big smoke really does offer it all when it comes to plant-based grub; so, head to one of our brilliant vegan restaurants when there’s rain in London and indulge in some tasty dishes.
17. Surround yourself with literature at one of London’s suave library bars
I believe (I’m guessing) Shakespeare did proclaim that there is no greater pleasure than surrounding yourself with musky hardback covers as the rain pelts down outside. Maybe. Whether or not the great bard believed this or not, there’s no getting away from the accuracy of that fact. Plus, in a library bar, you can do it all alongside a cocktail and, more often than not, a fireplace! We’ll never pray for the rain, but you truly can’t beat that level of ambience, can you? Here are some of the best library bars the capital has to offer.
Romanticise your life and have yourself a main-character moment by surrounding yourself with music and candles. Venues range from churches to music halls, and music comes courtesy of string ensembles and pianists. You’ll forget all about the gloom outside as the power of the magical performances entrances you.
Don’t let a rainy day in London ruin your enjoyment of this beautiful city. After all, we’re pretty well adapted to it in this country so you can always find something to do in London, come rain or shine!