11 Things to Do in London When It Rains

St Paul's Cathedral, London, England
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London is often depicted as chilly, foggy and rainy. But locals say not to worry, it really doesn't rain that much in London. Londoners are weather obsessed so they do talk about it a lot so visitors get the impression that they must be prepared for rain.

The beauty of a city with so many things to do means that there are loads of attractions on hand for when the rain does start to fall. London is home to many museums, theaters, shopping opportunities and, keep in mind the Thames river boats are covered. So let it rain on your vacation to London. You'll have a wonderful time. These are some of the wonderful things to do in London on foggy, rainy days.

  • 01 of 11

    Explore The City's Museums

    Great Court, British Museum, Bloomsbury, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
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    This is probably the most obvious idea but still worth mentioning as London has so many great museums and galleries. The larger ones are all free so you can pop in for five minutes when you are in the area if there is a sudden downpour. 

    Must-see museums include the British Museum. The museum houses interesting and rare collections from Egyptian mummies and pieces of the Parthenon to the game-changing Rosetta Stone and an enormous Easter Island figure. Located in London's West End, covering 18.5 acres, the British Museum is not just one of London’s best museums, but one of the world’s. 

    Military History buffs will want to visit the Imperial War Museums which are actually five museums and sites which serve to preserve the history of British conflicts starting from WWI to the present day. One of the collection’s most fascinating places to visit is the Churchill War Rooms, a subterranean bunker and network of rooms under the streets of Westminster. You can also visit the Royal Navy ship HMS Belfast permanently moored in the River Thames. The displays serve to bring military history to life.

  • 02 of 11

    Find Your Way Out of an Escape Room

    clueQuest London
    clueQuest London

    Puzzle your way out of this one. Open from 10 a.m. to late into the evening an escape room is an excellent indoor option, although you do need to book ahead.

    It's a live escape game for teams of 3 to 5 people. You select a scenario (and a level of difficulty) You get shut in a room and have 60 minutes to work out how to open the locks and find a way out. It's suitable for 9 to 90-year-olds and is a lot of fun.

    clueQuest - The Live Escape Game is located at 169-171 Caledonian Road, London, N1 0SL.

  • 03 of 11

    Watch Movies

    The London Science Museum
    Feargus Cooney/Getty Images

    Who doesn't love watching a movie when it's raining outside? Leicester Square is the heart of London's 'cinema-land' and the location of most London film premieres. As well as the big cinemas you'll also find the Prince Charles Cinema here which specializes in lower rate tickets.

    There is also an IMAX cinema at Waterloo and another inside the Science Museum. Another idea if you're on your own is to go to BFI Southbank to the Mediatheque which is a space where you can watch the British Film Institute's archive for free.

     

  • 04 of 11

    Go to the Theater

    London theatre audience
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    Clearly, this depends on the time of day when the rain arrives but London theatre is perfect for taking your mind off the inclement weather. Find out how to get cheap London theatre tickets

    Theaters in London range from those that attract Broadway names in central London's West End (with 40 theaters) to Pub theaters which consist of casual productions housed in separate rooms of pubs. 

    The performing arts don't stop with theater productions. Year round, the historic Royal Opera House in Covent Garden hosts The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, and The London Coliseum in the West End hosts the English National Ballet. 

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  • 05 of 11

    Cruise the Thames

    Exploring Historic London on a river cruise
    George Rose/Getty Images

    As long as it's not too windy it can be a perfect time to take a cruise along The Thames while it's raining. You can get a dining cruise from Bateaux London (try their dinner and afternoon tea cruises) or on the Silver Sturgeon. Both offer daytime and evening options.

    Cruising is very relaxing. With Bateaux London you'll set sail from just outside Embankment station, enjoy a three-course meal as they drift past iconic London sights like the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament. They even offer jazz cruises on the Sunday dinner sailing.

  • 06 of 11

    Hit The Shops

    Harrods Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London, London, England.
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    Well, London does have some of the best shopping on offer in the world so why not? If you want to stay in one location consider a large department store such as Harrods or even one of the two Westfield shopping malls (Westfield London or Westfield Stratford City).

    Oxford Street is long (this one street has four tube stations) and is lined with High Street shops and many flagship branches. Turn off at Oxford Circus to explore Carnaby Street or take the kids to Hamleys as there are seven floors of toys. 

  • 07 of 11

    Ride the London Eye

    London Eye at night, London, UK
    Marco Simoni/Getty Images

    This rotating attraction is definitely a good move on a rainy day as you can enjoy the views from a warm, dry capsule. Rain or shine, the London Eye is one of London's best-loved attractions and carries around 10,000 visitors every day in its 32 capsules.

    Yes, there will be raindrops on the windows but use those to take more interesting photos of the sights in the rain on the London Eye.

  • 08 of 11

    Pop in to a Restaurant or Pub

    Fish and chips
    Cultura/Diana Miller/Getty Images

    Comfort eating can be what's needed when it's raining so go for fish and chips or some other British cuisine. Whatever the weather, every day is just right for afternoon tea as fancy cakes and a dainty cuppa will always make you feel good. If you're looking for something more casual then have a pint of real ale and a decent pub pie.

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  • 09 of 11

    Take the Bus

    London, London Bridge, commuters
    Alan Copson/Getty Images

    To make the most of a rainy bus journey you need to head upstairs and grab the seats at the front which never ceases to bring child-like joy to all who get that position.

    Some good routes for just watching the world go by include the no.11 plus the no.9 and no.15 which are heritage routes on old Routemaster buses.

  • 10 of 11

    Play Ping Pong

    Bowling ball knocking over skittles
    Nor Hidayat Mohamed/EyeEm/Getty Images

    At Bounce London you can play table tennis at the location where ping pong was created and patented in 1901. You ​can book by the table so this is a good option for large groups to have some fun indoors together. Bowling is still popular in London too. 

  • 11 of 11

    Walk in the Rain

    Chelsea Pensioners
    VisitBritain/Michael Walter/Getty Images

    The streets will certainly be less crowded and this would be grand fun for visitors who come from hot countries where they can't get out and walk comfortably.

    If you are not afraid of getting wet then head out and enjoy the rain. Umbrellas are on sale all year round in London so wear a raincoat and a grab a brolly if you want some protection.