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Things to do in London on a Rainy Day

Yes, it’s true we do get rainy days in London. But there’s no need to worry; we’ve got you covered with our guide to rainy day activities in London!  Anyone who has visited before, or anyone who’s met British people, will know that we love to talk about the weather. So zip up your coat, grab that umbrella and get ready, the forecast for today is rain with a definite chance of shelter. 

Peruse Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market/Image Source

Leadenhall Market has real heritage, where else can you shelter from the weather in a market built on the site of a Roman Basilica? We can thank the Victorians for the beautiful structure you see today. However, the original market was a trading ground for meat, fish, leather, and wool as far back as 1445. In fact, the market walls helped to stop the spread of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Packed with shops and restaurants, it’s an ideal spot to go on a rainy day in London to browse or grab some food until the clouds pass by. 

Look along Bulls Head Passage to see if you can spot the opticians shop that was used as the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron in “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone”.

Once the rain has stopped, why not check out the Tower of London Tour, just a 10-minute walk from the market.

When it Rains in London, Go Shopping at Harrods

Harrods London
Harrods London/Image Source

This city is a mecca for shoppers and there’s no better place to shop on a rainy day in London than at Harrods! Several floors await your attention, where you can find anything from a keychain to a car. But what if a real storm has set in, so you went a bit wild and now you can’t carry all your newly-purchased items home? Not a problem, Harrods delivers worldwide.

The motto of this stylish department store is “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” – all things for all people, everywhere. When you’re feeling peckish, definitely explore the food courts or head to one of the restaurants located on the upper floors. Yes, there are options!

Harrods has been proudly offering their products since 1849 and can be found in Knightsbridge. Allow several hours for this experience, more if you are planning to splash out.

Go for Afternoon Tea When it Rains

Afternoon tea
Afternoon Tea/ Image Source

Nothing beats the idea of afternoon tea. Go sit in a fancy hotel and enjoy this English specialty whilst it’s raining cats and dogs outside. Afternoon Tea is something of a tradition and should be on your London bucket list.

You won’t just be drinking tea; very often, the food and drinks offered will more than substitute for a full meal. Once presented with your tower of treats, start from the bottom and make your way up. Savoury nibbles and sandwiches are followed by all kinds of cake, and then comes the finale: scones with clotted cream and jam, just to die for! All this, whilst sipping a hot cup of tea, or if the weather is still nasty, perhaps a glass of champagne. 

Most of the major hotels (the Ritz, Claridges, etc) in London offer Afternoon Tea on their menu, booking in advance is recommended. If the rain catches you off guard, many smaller restaurants and cafes will have a table free for Afternoon Tea between 12:00 and 6:00pm.

Wander the Victoria and Albert Museum “The V&A”

An exhibit at the V&A Museum in London
V&A Exhibit / Image Source

Museums are definitely one of the best places to hide from the rain in London, but they can get busy when the clouds start to gather. The Victoria and Albert Museum provides a vast space split into numerous galleries. So, even if it’s raining outside, you can usually find a quiet spot in here.

The museum is located in South Kensington, in an area once referred to as “Albertopolis”. Prince Albert organised The Great Exhibition in 1851, which was a huge hit, and some items from the exhibit became the core collection for the museum. Today’s eclectic collection ranges from medieval art to Da Vinci’s notebook and onto dresses from the swinging sixties; there really is something for everyone. If you don’t know where to start or feel a bit overwhelmed by the large inventory, check out our Private Tour of The V&A.

Spend Rainy Days in Traditional Pubs in London

A pint of beer with a fireplace in the background - a traditional pub is the perfect thing to do in London on a rainy day!
Image Source

Finally where better to go, dry off, and warm up after getting drenched outside than the traditional English pub. The selection of pubs in London is endless. Some offer just drinks and nibbles, whereas others offer gourmet dining.

Don’t be surprised if, after you sit down, no one comes to take your order.  Jump up and order at the bar, both your food and drinks, and also expect to settle your bill straight away. The menu isn’t always elaborate in a traditional pub, but you’ll definitely find pub classics such as meat pies or fish and chips. 

Ale, lager, cider…what should I drink? It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the selection of beer on tap, but simply ask for a recommendation or a little taster.

If you have children in your group, most pubs in central London are welcoming during the day, just double check if in doubt.

So there we have it, plenty of places to hide and things to do in London on a rainy day. There’s one final option though: embrace the rain and go with it! As the great comedian Billy Connolly said, “I hate all those weathermen, too, who tell you that rain is bad weather. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little!”

If any of our ideas interest you and you’d like to chat about a tour, or even the weather, contact us!

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