Rainy day London

Bit of drizzle? Torrential downpour? Use our guide to London’s best rainy day activities and play the grey days away

Dark clouds loom over Bermondsey.
Dark clouds loom over Bermondsey © Tatenda Nyamande

While the image of London being constantly grey and drizzly may be grossly exaggerated, what really can’t be overstated is just how much there is to do in the capital in the event that it does pour it down on your hard-earned day off. Or the whole weekend. Or the entire summer.

The streets of the city may be iconic, but there are also untold amounts of things to do if you want to hide away from the rain. We've got you covered for activities, whether you're lost for where to shop, or perhaps are after the most interesting museums and exhibitions.

There are also the more random rainy day ventures, like if you've been caught in a random downpour and want to sample a few classy brollies in a Covent Garden umbrella store, or if you want to hole up in a board game café or a reading room for an entire stormy day.

Here’s your guide to indoor London.

Where to hide from the rain in London

15 perfect places to go when it rains in London
Things to do

15 perfect places to go when it rains in London

Make a grey day brighter by exploring the capital with no fear of a downpour

Top ten art exhibitions in London
Art

Top ten art exhibitions in London

Shortcut it straight to the good stuff and head to one of these shows on right now

14 weird but wonderful museums
Things to do

14 weird but wonderful museums

Don’t soak up the rain, soak up some culture at the capital’s weirdest museums

The 100 best shops in London
Shopping

The 100 best shops in London

Delve in and out of the very best boutiques, stores and fashion shops in London

Take shelter at the latest exhibitions

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

If you’re looking for a one-word review of the V&A’s Christian Dior exhibition then here it is: fantasy. As spelled out by its own subtitle – ‘Designer of Dreams’ – this blockbuster showcase of a globally famous fashion label is about clothes and the imagination.  

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Buy
Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution
Museums

Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution

Centred on fashion designer Mary Quant and Habitat founder Terence Conran, this show shines a light on domestic life from 1952-1977, showing how knives and forks changed as much as knickers and frocks. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
I am Ashurbanipal: King of the World, King of Assyria
Museums

I am Ashurbanipal: King of the World, King of Assyria

The great king Ashurbanipal was seriously not into lions, absolutely hated the things. The first of many gorgeously detailed Assyrian wall reliefs in this mesmerising exhibition depicts the king firing arrows at fleeing lions and shoving swords through their rearing chests. Lions, you see, represented power and savagery, and no one could hold power but Ashurbanipal, and his savagery, though gruesomely brutal, was anything but wild.  

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Cats on the Page
Museums

Cats on the Page

Confession: I’m a dog person. So it’s not partisanship at work when I say the British Library are the cats who scored the exhibition cream with this free display of the best of felines in literature. That’s right: cats in books.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Find more great exhibitions in London

Get cosy in a café, bar or pub

Sip on a warm coffee
Restaurants

Sip on a warm coffee

Settle in the pub for the day
Bars and pubs

Settle in the pub for the day

Treat yourself to hot chocolate
Restaurants

Treat yourself to hot chocolate

Drown your sorrows in a bar
Bars and pubs

Drown your sorrows in a bar

See what's on at the cinema

Capernaum
Film

Capernaum

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
On The Basis Of Sex
Film

On The Basis Of Sex

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Old Boys
Film

Old Boys

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
A Private War
Film

A Private War

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Check out the latest film releases

Keep the kids entertained

Enjoy a family-friendly show
Theatre

Enjoy a family-friendly show

Take a trip to the museum
Museums

Take a trip to the museum

Spend the day playing indoors
Kids

Spend the day playing indoors

Visit one of London's attractions
Attractions

Visit one of London's attractions

Read our full guide for kids in the capital