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Rainy day London

Bit of drizzle? Torrential downpour? Use our guide to London’s best rainy day activities for when indoor activities are the only option

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 with rain 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 indoor activities, whether you’re lost for where to shop, or want to get lost in London’s 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 the best indoor activities in 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
Museums

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

Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security
Museums

Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security

The Science Museum’s new show 'Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security' is so top secret it’s difficult to even find it in the building. That means one of three things: 1) This is a brilliant joke on the part of the museum who recreate that moment in wartime when Britain got rid of its signposts to confuse the Nazis.  2) The guy who makes their signage was on hols this week. Or 3) Based on how long it took me to locate said exhibition, I’m not GCHQ recruitment material.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Rebel Sounds
Museums

Rebel Sounds

Remember when you were 15 and turned the speakers up so loud at 2am that Mrs Next Door threatened to call the police? Music has always been used as a form of resistance against authority, including many times when the prick being kicked against is far worse than a busybody neighbour. This superb exhibition, one of three making up the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Culture Under Attack’ season, focuses on four examples of musical resistance during conflicts. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Mary Quant
Museums

Mary Quant

Mary Quant wanted women to have fun. From underwear they could breathe in to fabrics that didn’t disintegrate in one wash and mascara that wouldn’t give them panda-eye, Quant’s namesake brand allowed its customers to look hot without really trying. Ergo: I woke up like this. The V&A’s major exhibition of the London-born designer skips its way through the trajectory of her career before alighting on the things Quant made iconic.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
What Remains
Museums

What Remains

On November 14 1940, Coventry Cathedral was almost completely destroyed by incendiary bombs. The ruins remain, right next to Basil Spence’s brilliant modernist replacement, in what functions as a memorial and a symbol of Coventry’s commitment to peace. If you’ve never been, go. It’s a genuinely incredible place. Coventry Cathedral and the Frauenkirche in Dresden – the German city it twinned with as an act of reconciliation – feature prominently in this exhibition describing how culture of all kinds fares during times of conflict (in summary: generally not very well).

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

Only You
Film

Only You

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Jaws
Film

Jaws

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Midsommar
Film

Midsommar

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
In Fabric
Film

In Fabric

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
1 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