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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

Edmund de Waal: Library of Exile
Museums

Edmund de Waal: Library of Exile

It stings the heart, this installation by Edmund de Waal. The ceramicist and author has lined the walls of his room within a room in the British Museum with books by writers in exile. Albert Camus’s ‘Exile and the Kingdom’, Jean Rhys’s ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. Shelf after shelf of stories written by people far from home, thinking of home.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation
Art

Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation

Like an (even more) homoerotic version of Batman, Touko Laaksonen lived a double life. By day, he was a pen-pusher at an advertising agency in Helsinki. By night, he was ‘Tom of Finland’, who sketched handsomely uniformed, fantastically muscled men for a thirsty audience of American fans. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
Museums

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk

The V&A does an excellent line in fashion exhibitions that are bright, brash, frothy, OTT madness – a mirroring, perhaps, of the atmosphere surrounding most major fashion weeks. So it comes as a surprise, initially, to step inside ‘Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk’ and absorb a calming scene of cool mint walls, plain white ceiling drapes and a fairly traditional layout of glass exhibition cases. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Genders: Shaping and Breaking the Binary
Art

Genders: Shaping and Breaking the Binary

Gender is big news. And, like everything that’s ‘big news’, it solicits big reactions. This exhibition at the Science Gallery aims to go beyond the most strident, shouty responses to the topic, showing instead that the very concept of gender is as messy and ungraspable as toothpaste blobbed into the sink. 

Time Out says
3 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

Bacurau
Film

Bacurau

Welcome to the Brazilian town of Bacurau, the dusty hardscrabble setting for a supremely violent guilty pleasure of a movie that crams elements of the western, John Carpenter-y thriller beats, some mordant wit and a streak of peppery political commentary into one hugely entertaining modern exploitation flick.Where to stream it: MUBI

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
System Crasher
Film

System Crasher

‘System Crasher’ may veer towards being over-sympathetic in its approach to its violently problematic protagonist – the parentless Benni is a wrecking ball at times – but it delivers a powerful exposé of the limitations of the foster system. And with its impressive young star to the fore, it is heartbreakingly intimate. Where to stream it: Curzon Home Cinema

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The Invisible Man
Film

The Invisible Man

A #MeToo horror film that couldn’t be any more timely if it shuffled into a courtroom with a Zimmer frame, ‘The Invisible Man’ retools HG Wells’s seminal sci-fi novel into a tart, scary statement on toxic men and their gaslighting ways. Where to stream it: Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Rakuten TV, BT TV, Sky Store

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Film

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

France’s Céline Sciamma is one of the most exciting filmmakers around—her Water Lilies, Tomboy and Girlhood are all intimate studies of young women at points of profound change in their lives. Those earlier movies were contemporary, realist tales. Now, with Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Sciamma has crafted a powerfully original story of art and love, set almost entirely on a Breton island in the 18th century, and one that operates on the level of a painterly, radical reverie that’s just to the left of reality. Director: Céline SciammaCast: Valeria Golino, Adèle Haenel, Noémie Merlant, Luàna BajramiRated: 15Duration: 121 minsAvailable from: Curzon Home Cinema

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 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