Rainy day London

Bad weather means a good day at the capital's best museums, shopping malls and indoor attractions

Wet days aren't exactly rare in London, so when the heavens open there's always plenty to do. Populated with hundreds of great cafés, pubs and bars, and home to some of the world's best museums and shops, London has got bad weather conditions covered.

Museums

Top 10 museums in London

Don't soak up the rain, soak up some culture at the capital's top museums instead

Read more
Shopping

Take shelter in a shopping centre

Find your favourite stores under one roof at one of London's great shopping centres

Read more

35 reasons rain is better than sun

We Londoners often pray for sunshine but there are plenty of reasons why rain is actually better. Honestly...

Read more
Film

Movies for kids

Sudden downpour nixed your plans with the kids? Here's the perfect plan b: the latest family-friendly treats at the cinema. 

Read more

Check out the latest exhibitions

Shopping

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

The V&A’s next summer blockbuster exhibition is all about shoes – and we aren’t talking ballet flats, cosy boots or erm… Crocs. 'Pleasure and Pain' focuses on the transformative power of extreme footwear, exploring the agony and ecstasy that a shoe might inspire. Over 200 pairs of shoes past and present have been gathered from all around the world.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Things to do

Prize for Illustration: London Places and Spaces

The brief for this competition was to capture something of London's unique character using the city's places and spaces as inspiration. There sure are plenty of those to choose from, so visitors to this exhibition of the top 100 entries can expect to see an imaginative range of artworks, each of which will be accompanied by an explanation of the place or space which inspired it.

Read more
Things to do

Riviera Style: Resort & Swimwear Since 1900

The seaside has played host to some most extraordinary fashions over the years. Enjoy a full rundown of a century's worth of beach outfits at this exhibition of clothes for leisure, including such out-there gems as beach pyjamas, palazzo pants and burkinis.

Read more
Things to do

Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation

Considering its culture dates back around 55,000 years, we don't get many chances to learn more about indigenous Australia. This exhibition will use objects from the British Museum's collection to tell its story, focusing on complex spiritual relationships with the natural world and the intimate knowledge of the country's unique and diverse environments.

Read more
See more great exhibitions in London

See what's on at the cinema

Film

Slow West

It ain't exactly action-packed, but this lovely, contemplative western goes out with a Godalmighty bang

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Film

Minions

If you like your animated family movies noisy, imaginative and seriously silly, this one’s for you

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Film

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

If Tom Cruise hasn't already put you off the Church of Scientology, this powerful doc will finish the job

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Film

The Look of Silence

Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer follows 'The Act of Killing' with another doc about Indonesian genocide

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
See the latest film releases

Get cosy in a café, bar or pub

Restaurants

Sip on a warm coffee

Read more
Bars and pubs

Settle in the pub for the day

Read more
Things to do

Hide away in a speakeasy

Read more
Restaurants

Treat yourself to hot chocolate

Read more
See our guide to eating and drinking in London

Take shelter in a museum

British Museum

One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum is vast and its collections, only a fraction of which can be on public display at any time, comprise millions of objects. First-time visitors generally head for the mummies, the Rosetta Stone, Lindow Man, the Lewis Chessmen and the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Museums

V&A

The V&A houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts, in such varied fields as ceramics, sculpture, portrait miniatures and photography. Among the highlights are the British Galleries 1500-1900, which are arranged chronologically to trace the history of British design from the reign of Henry VIII to that of Queen Victoria.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Things to do

Natural History Museum

The handsome Alfred Waterhouse building houses a collection that contains some 70 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens. The Natural History Museum’s Life Galleries are devoted to displays on animal life, from creepy crawlies to the plaster cast of a Diplodocus that lords it over the Central Hall.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
Museums

Science Museum

The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator. The Wellcome Wing showcases developments in contemporary science, medicine and technology. The Medical History Gallery in the museum's attic contains a substantial collection of medical history treasures.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
See London's best museums

Keep the kids entertained

Museums

Take a trip to the museum

Looking for ways to keep the kids amused? London's museums offer tonnes to discover and do, and many put loads of effort into making their exhibits accessible to children. What's more, you'll find all kinds of fantastic activities and workshops designed to engage enquiring young minds. You never know, the grown ups might learn something new too... A hit with the kids: London's best museums for families Horniman Museum This anthropological museum has to be one of the most child-friendly venues in all London. Set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens, the Horniman provides extensive facilities for families, including a nature trail, weekend workshops and a Hands On Base where children can touch museum objects. There's an aquarium, and the Nature Base explores the natural world with exhibits including the Horniman Museum beehive. British Museum Rooms 62 and 63 of the Roxie Walker galleries are top of most children's agendas; it's here that the Egyptian mummies reside, exerting an eerie spell over visitors. Inventive and free family events run on Saturdays. Handling sessions take place daily in various galleries and there are some fantastic trail booklets available in the Paul Hamlyn Library that help kids of different ages get the best out of the museum. Natural History Museum The museum splits its exhibits into four colour-coded zones, each with its own marvels. In Blue Zone, a life-size model of a blue whale quietens all but the loudest of kids. Geolo

Read more
Theatre

Enjoy a family-friendly show

Even the smallest members of the family enjoy the odd stage show. Here are the Time Out theatre team's recommendations for which performances will suit the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups.

Read more
Film

See a fun film with the kids

Need ideas to keep the kids entertained? We suggest a trip to the movies to see one of these family-friendly films. Check out our reviews of the kids movies currently playing in London cinemas or plan ahead with our round-up of upcoming films.

Read more
Kids

Spend the day playing indoors

London is brimming with options when it comes to indoor play centres. Crammed with climbing frames, slides and bouncy castles, they offer an ideal environment for using up excess energy. Time Out's round-up has something for everyone, from babies and toddlers to older kids. Think we've missed a great soft play centre? Tell us in the comments box below.

Read more
See our guide for kids in the capital

Visit London's indoor attractions

Things to do

The Shard

The very public progress of this mammoth building (just how do you keep a skyscraper under wraps?) ensured that, by the time of its completion in 2012, the Shard was a familiar part of London's skyline, visible from all over the city – contentiously so in the case of London's many protected views. Visitors are now flocking to Renzo Piano's tripod-shaped, glass-clad building at London Bridge. At 1,017 feet high, it's the EU's tallest, containing offices, apartments, a hotel and, most excitingly, 'The View from the Shard' , a four-storey observatory deck on floors 68 to 72. The development also coincides with a new public plaza, bus terminal and a long-awaited revamp of London Bridge station.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Attractions Buy tickets

The London Dungeon

The new London Dungeon has all the ghastly gore and black comedy of the old Tooley Street attraction in a bigger and more high-tech package. A jokey celebration of torture, death and disease, visitors can journey back in time to London's plague-ridden streets (rotting corpses, rats, vile boils and projectile vomiting all come as standard) and meet some of the city's unsavoury characters, from Guy Fawkes to demon barber Sweeney Todd. A cast of blood-splattered actors are joined by 'virtual' guests, such as Brian Blessed as Henry VIII, and as well as the 18 different shows and 'surprises' – which could see you on the run from Jack the Ripper or getting lost in London's Victorian sewers – there are two rides to raise the adrenaline: a turbulent boat trip down the Thames towards execution, and a dark drop ride plunging three stories in the pitch black. Note that the London Dungeon is unsuitable for young or easily scared children.

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Things to do Buy tickets

Tower of London

Despite the exhausting crowds and long climbs up stairways, this is one of Britain's finest historical attractions. Who would not be fascinated by a close-up look at the crown of Queen Victoria or the armour (and prodigious codpiece) of King Henry VIII? The buildings of the Tower span 900 years of history and the bastions and battlements house a series of interactive displays on the lives of British monarchs, and the often excruciatingly painful deaths of traitors. There's easily enough to do here to fill a whole day, and it's worth joining one of the highly recommended and entertaining free tours led by the Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters). Make the Crown Jewels your first stop, and as early in the day as you possibly can: if you wait until you've pottered around a few other things and generally got your bearings, the queues are usually immense. The other big draw to the tower is the Royal Armoury in the White Tower, with its swords, armour, poleaxes, halberds, morning stars (spiky maces) and other gruesome tools for separating human beings from their body parts. There's also (from July 10 2013) a redisplay of the Line of Kings – an original exhibition dating back to the 1680s – which includes wooden horses carved by Grinling Gibbons, Henry VIII's armour and a scale model of tilting knights. Kids are entertained by swordsmanship games, coin-minting activities and even a child-sized long bow. The garderobes (medieval toilets) also seem to appeal.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Attractions Buy tickets

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

In addition to the hundreds of varieties of fish and sea life from all over the world, including stingrays, sharks, piranhas and sea scorpions, the aquarium's Shark Walk allows visitors to walk over a glass platform with sharks swimming just below their feet. Californian cownose rays, which swim in synchronised formations, are another recent feature, as is a tunnel constructed from a 25m-long whale skeleton, beneath which visitors can watch a tropical ocean of fish, coral and green turtles. The Rainforests of the World area, complete with exotic vegetation and a tropical waterfall, is home to a pair of six-foot dwarf crocodiles, and for Easter 2013 the Ocean of Stars exhibit opened, showcasing six different species of starfish, with a tentacle tunnel that gives you a close-up view of all those Asteroidea. The aquarium is well placed for the other attractions of the South Bank: it's right beside the London Eye and a 20-minute walk along the Thames from Tate Modern.

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
See London's top attractions

Comments

5 comments
Peter Sauders
Peter Sauders

We always go shopping when it is raining. Ventured out further this last weekend to Trash or Treasure vintage shop in Maidstone. Great items and prices were defo better than London.

lucy
lucy

What an amazing website i love the dancing information it gives you!