London is packed with great things to see and do from iconic landmarks such as Big Ben to theatres, museums, galleries, and restaurants. However, the British weather can be notoriously fickle, so it’s good to know what to do on a rainy day in London.
In this guide, you’ll learn about some excellent things to do in London when it’s raining. From unique experiences to indoor activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied come rain or shine.
I’ve lived in and around London for most of my life, and have plenty of experience looking for places to go in London when it’s raining. The city has some of the best museums in the world, and many of them are free which makes them an excellent option for when the weather turns.
If you’re looking for something a little more hands-on, then you’ll find plenty of interesting activities like cooking classes and workshops in the city too.
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to hide away; there’s plenty to get stuck into whatever the weather’s like whilst you’re in England’s exciting capital.
Below you’ll find a variety of unique experiences, attractions, and fun things to do in London when it’s raining. From a sushi-making class to an indoor market, art galleries, museums, and more.
15 Fun Things To Do in London on a Rainy Day
Below you’ll find my picks for the top 15 best things to do in London on a rainy day. You’ll also find a map that you can click to open in a new window. This will help you plan your route when exploring London.
1. Visit the Science Museum
Visiting the Science Museum is a great option for a rainy day in London, and is especially good for families as there are so many interactive exhibits to explore that the kids can really get involved with.
The Wonderlab is packed with activities, quizzes, and games that cover a range of topics from our world to space. But the Science Museum is certainly not just for kids as there are plenty of interesting things to see and do for adults too.
There’s an onsite 3D IMAX theatre the size of four double-decker buses that shows the latest blockbusters, classic films, and documentaries. Checking out a movie at this state-of-the-art cinema is definitely one of the best things to do in London when it’s raining.
I loved visiting the Science Museum as a kid and I’m itching to get back and check out some of the newer exhibits about our planet and other interesting subjects as an adult.
It’s free to visit the Science Museum, but tickets must be booked online in advance. The museum is open seven days a week from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
If you’re looking for more free things to do in London, then check out this useful guide.
2. Make Sushi with a Japanese Sushi Chef
The Japanese delicacy of sushi has exploded in popularity worldwide, with sushi bars popping up from Tokyo to Times Square. If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at making your own sushi, then what better way to start than with a real sushi chef?
This experience will teach you all about the four main types of sushi, (Hosomaki, Nigiri, Temaki, and Uramaki). You’ll learn how to use a sashimi knife and a little about Japanese table etiquette including how to correctly handle chopsticks.
The cooking class lasts for two hours, and as well as learning about Japanese culture, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your newly found sushi-making skills. This is a fantastic rainy day activity in London and as well as having fun, you’ll learn a new talent too!
3. Admire the Art on Display at Tate Britain and Tate Modern
Tate Britain houses the national collection of British art as well as international exhibits, contemporary art, and more. What better way to spend a rainy day in London than exploring some of the finest paintings of our age?
Exploring London’s galleries and museums is one of my favorite things to do when it’s raining in London, and Tate Britain is a must-see for anyone with an interest in art and culture.
The gallery is housed in a large neoclassical building in London’s Pimlico. Tate Britain is another great free option for things to do in London when it’s raining. The gallery is open seven days a week from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
For those more interested in modern art, (and I must confess that I’m not the greatest fan), Tate Modern is a sister gallery that showcases contemporary art on the banks of the Thames.
Tate Modern is housed in an old, disused power station and the building itself is interesting to explore whether you have an interest in modern art or not. Tate Modern is also free and has the same opening times as Tate Britain: 10:00am to 6:00am every day.
4. Have A Go at Pottery Making
This three-hour crash course in pottery is a fantastic option if you’re looking for things to do in London when it is raining. Get messy and create your own unique piece of pottery in a studio overlooking the Grand Canal.
You’ll learn some basic pottery skills including how to use a pottery wheel and how to work with clay. There’s also the more quirky option to fire-glaze your creations, (for an additional fee).
The host of this experience is a pottery expert who’s featured on the Channel 4 Television program The Great Pottery Throw Down, so you know you’ll be in good hands.
5. Visit the British Museum
The British Museum is another of my favorite places to go in London when it’s raining. With over 8 million artifacts and objects, (80,000 of which are on display), there’s enough here keep you occupied for the longest of downpours.
The museum houses a vast selection of exhibits from around the world including an Egyptian mummy, a statue from Easter Island, and an Aztec serpent. Take a look into human history, our development, and our planet throughout the ages.
I love exploring the Roman section, (after all, London was once a Roman city), and the objects collected from the length and breadth of the Roman empire.
This fantastic guided tour with a qualified historian will allow you to explore the museum at a relaxed pace and discover the history of mankind across the world.
If you just want to explore on your own, then the museum is free to enter and you can choose the areas you’re most interested in learning about.
The British Museum is open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
6. Take an Art Class
This art class in Wimbledon includes lunch and a glass of wine and is a great thing to do indoors in London. The class lasts for five and a half hours, so is an ideal option if you’re looking for things to do when its raining in London.
Unleash your inner Picasso, with one-to-one tuition from a real artist. You’ll learn a range of techniques and tips fit for every aspiring artist.
You can choose your own subject matter; perhaps one of London’s incredible views, a portrait, or something more expressive.
At the end of the session, you’ll have your own 40cm by 50cm canvas to take home and impress your friends with. There’s a choice of materials from acrylics and oils to charcoal, watercolors, and more.
7. See a West End Show
If you can’t think of what to do when its raining in London then why not consider a West End show? There are plenty of performances showing year-round to suit every taste.
Get lost in a musical, laugh away at a comedy, or become deeply intrigued by a drama. Whatever you choose to watch, seeing a show in the heart of London is a great experience.
Some of the most popular productions include the Lion King, Wicked, Mumma Mia, Frozen, and Moulin Rouge.
Strap yourself in for an evening of fun and entertainment that will have you forgetting about the weather in minutes. You can check what’s currently showing and book tickets on the official London Theatre website.
8. Explore Borough Market
Borough Market is London’s prime foodie space and it’s home to many different stalls, pop-ups, restaurants, and cafes. The market is mostly under cover, (a few stalls may be out on the street), so it’s a great London attraction for rainy days.
This is a great place to sample some of London’s best foods and cuisines from around the world. You can eat at one of the cafes and restaurants on-site, browse the stalls and just enjoy the various smells, and maybe pick up some treats to take home with you.
There’s everything from freshly ground coffee to artisan cheeses, cakes, a deli, and some great wine options at this memorable market.
I love nosing around the market when I’m in the area, (it’s a few minute’s walk from London Bridge), and trying a new snack or buying a jar of cooking sauce to experiment with.
9. Visit the Royal Observatory and Planetarium
If you’re looking for fun things to do in London when its raining, then look no further than the Royal Observatory and Planetarium in Greenwich.
Stand on the Prime Meridian Line from where Greenwich Meantime, (GMT), takes its name. Witness one of the largest telescopes in the world, and explore the night sky with a planetarium show.
The Royal Observatory is a great day out for kids, adults, and anyone with an interest in space, the night sky, and maritime history.
I first visited the observatory in my school days and have been back a few times whenever I’ve found myself “south of the river”. It’s possible to spend an entire day in Greenwich so visiting the observatory and planetarium is definitely one of the best things to do in London when raining.
10. Make a Silver Ring
If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at making jewelry, then this is the class for you. This 2.5-hour workshop is a great option for a rainy day in London and will have you making your very own silver ring to take away.
You’ll learn traditional goldsmithing techniques from a group of successful jewelers and even have the option to have your creation gold plated at the end.
This experience takes place at the Ringsmiths Workshop and Studio inside the Oxo Tower Wharf overlooking the River Thames. All the equipment you need is included in the price, and there are free drinks and snacks on hand too.
11. Go to the Pub
In my opinion, there really is nothing better than whiling away a rainy afternoon, (and/or evening), with a drink in hand. If you’re on your own, bring a book and enjoy the ambiance of one of England’s most treasured institutions; the humble pub.
If you’re accompanied by friends or loved ones, then even better. You can enjoy a meal too as many London pubs serve traditional “pub grub”. For food, I recommend the Holly Bush in Hampstead, a lovely little place on a quiet cobbled street.
Some pubs also have a range of entertaining games on hand such as pool and darts, dominoes, cards, chess, and various board games.
The Bermondsey Bierkeller is one of my favorite pubs in London and is right by London Bridge. It has two game vaults with a pool table, electronic darts, table football, ping pong, and more. If you wish to make use of these games you’ll need to book online.
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then be sure to check out Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. This ancient public house doesn’t see much daylight so you won’t even know it’s raining outside – I love the old-world vibe inside.
12. Shop ’till You Drop at Westfield
There are two Westfield shopping centers in London; one in Stratford and one in Shephard’s Bush. The latter has the unique distinction of being the largest shopping mall in Europe. As it’s completely covered, a trip to Westfield makes for one of the best things to do in London when it is raining.
There are plenty of shops and stalls to browse from big high street names to smaller and more independent shops. Both of the Westfield centers have plenty of dining options inside; from fast food to fish and chips, vegan options, Mexican, Asian, and many more.
Westfield in Stratford is conveniently located right next to the Central Line tube and mainline station. Having spent a lot of time in East London I’ve often popped in for a bite to eat while waiting for my train.
If the sun does decide to show its face, you can explore the nearby Olympic Park set up for the 2012 London Olympics.
13. Hang Out with the Stars at Madam Tussauds
Madam Tussauds is London’s famous waxworks museum which is home to hundreds of lifelike wax models of celebrities, sports stars, film stars, and famous figures from around the world.
Take a selfie with your favorite superhero or any of over 150 different personalities. Enjoy immersive experiences including a 4D cinema showing Marvel action movies – you’ll feel as though you’re in the heart of the action!
Madam Tussauds is one of the UK’s most loved attractions and has been wowing visitors for over 200 years. Hanging out with the stars is definitely one of the best things to do in London when it is raining.
14. Have a go at Making Your Own Chocolates
Everyone loves chocolate, right? So what better way to spend a rainy afternoon in London than having a go at making your own bonbons?
This fun experience is run by the world-class chocolatiers at Melt, London’s premiere chocolate company based in hip Notting Hill.
This immersive course will have you making, (and maybe more importantly tasting), a range of chocolates while learning about the history of one of the world’s best-loved foods.
The course lasts for 1.5 hours and you’ll get to take home a box of 10 of your own handmade chocolates as the perfect gift. You can decide if they’re all for you, or if you’ll give them away…
15. Visit the Warner Bros. Studios
Fans of Harry Potter will love this full-day tour of London’s Warner Bros. Studios. The studios are located outside of London in Watford, but this experience includes transport from Victoria in the center of the city.
Go behind the scenes and get an inside look at the Harry Potter film sets including Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s Hut, and even the famed Hogwarts Express.
You can walk along the cobles of Diagon Alley and see the picturesque shopfronts of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and Flourish and Blotts.
You”ll get to learn about the props, costumes, and showbiz secrets that made the Harry Potter films some of the biggest box office hits of our time – it’s a truly magical day out, whatever the weather.
Quick Travel Itineraries For a Rainy Visit To London
Now that I’ve covered the best things to do in London during a rainy day, let’s look at how you can conquer these things sequentially with a couple of quick itineraries.
1 Day in London in The Rain
If the morning is clear, start in Westminster where you can visit Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard. From there it’s a short walk, (less than a mile), to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Jump on the tube to Covent Garden for some food, (I recommend Ben’s Fish and Chips for a great London lunch option), and explore this thriving area of the city.
After eating, hit the British Museum to explore centuries of world history before heading to Soho for dinner and drinks – try Garlic and Shots on Frith Street to finish up your day.
2-3 Days in London in The Rain
For your first day follow the above itinerary, then on day two head over to Camden on the tube to explore the market and hit up Elephant’s Head Pub.
Then hop on the tube again and go to Shoreditch where you can check out the vibrant street art. While here, you can stop in for lunch, I recommend Burger and Beyond for a great burger.
If you only have 2 days, you can jam these last few things into day 2, otherwise do them on day 3.
Climb the monument for views of the city before walking to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. From there, walk over the the Borough Market and taste some of London’s best street food.
Finally, finish the day off with a show at the West End. If you’re not into theatre, consider stopping here for dinner and cocktails.
Where to Stay in London
These are a few of the best neighborhoods in London for tourists.
Covent Garden – First-Time Visitors
Vibrant Covent Garden is located in the heart of London’s West End and is packed to the rafters with fun things to see and do. You’ll find theatres playing shows and musicals, hundreds of restaurants, market stalls, and street performers.
As the area is so centrally located many of London’s most famous landmarks are within walking distance. From Trafalgar Square to Picadilly Circus, Soho, and Oxford Street, this is the beating heart of the city and should be on every London traveler’s list.
This cozy flat in Covent garden is a great option for first-time visitors to the city.
Stratford – Best for Budget Travellers
The East London suburb of Stratford is a great option for budget travelers to stay as it’s conveniently located within a ten-minute tube ride from central London. There’s plenty to see and do around Stratford such as the earlier mentioned Westfield Shopping Centre and the Olympic Park.
This private room in the heart of Stratford is a great budget option.
Soho – Best for Nightlife
Soho is a thriving area of the West End best-known for its bars, restaurants, and nightlife. With many of London’s top attractions nearby, such as Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, and Covent Garden, this is a great place to be, day or night.
Some of the city’s sleekest bars are located in Soho like Opium, BrewDog Soho, and my personal favorite, Garlic and Shots. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never have a dull moment in Soho!
This one-bed flat in Soho puts you right at the heart of the action and is perfect for those looking to experience London’s nightlife.
For more on where to stay in London check out this guide on the city’s best neighborhoods.
Things To Do in London When it’s Raining: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting London.
The London Eye was designed to operate in all weathers, (save for extreme conditions), so it does operate when it’s raining.
However, this isn’t a good time to take a trip on the Eye. For starters, you’re likely to get wet while queuing, and secondly, rain can obscure the views which can sully the experience.
London experiences around 11 to 15 days of rain per month, so yes, it does rain quite a lot, though some months are worse than others, (August and November for example). The downpours can be short-lived though, especially in summer.
There are so many things to do indoors in London. Visiting a museum, going shopping, catching a show, or taking a class are just some of the options available.
The best thing to do depends a lot on your own interests, and there’s certainly something for everyone regardless of the weather. But, to answer the question, going to the pub and enjoying a good pint is my number one choice!
Although November is the month where it rains the most, (an average of 9.2 days), October is the wettest month by volume of rainfall, (55 millimeters). Conversely, April is the month with the least days of rain, (an average of 6.5), and March is the driest month, (31 millimeters).
There are a ton of free things to do in London on rainy days. The British Museum, Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are but a handful.
You can stay dry and save money at the same time by exploring some of London’s wonderful indoor museums, art galleries, and public spaces. Many of these are in close proximity in the West End so you can jump from one to another. But don’t forget to bring your brolly, like a true Londoner.
Now you know what to do in London when it is raining, which of these top experiences will you pick first? Just because the weather isn’t always perfect in England, doesn’t mean you have to be stuck indoors.
With some of the best museums and galleries in the world and plenty of interesting experiences, workshops, and classes to choose from, there’s always something to do in London come rain or shine.