50+ Things to do in London on a Rainy Day with kids or without

I can say lots of things in praise of London but it’s weather will not be one of them! A city where you can have four seasons in a day and and will always rain at the most inopportune of moments! But don’t worry, rain will not ruin your trip to London so here we round up the best free, luxury and indoor things to do in London on a rainy day with or without kids!

Free Things to Do in London on a Rainy Day

If you are worried about your budget on a rainy day in London then there are plenty of indoor things you can do for free! Most of the museums and all of the National Museums in London are free to the public whether you are a resident or a tourist! Here is a list of my favourite things to do in London for free on a rainy day!

Science museum

I think the Science Museum is perhaps the best museum in London for kids of any age. There aren’t many museums that I think are wholly toddler friendly but the Science museum is one of them. With its interactive space the Garden offering water play, sound and building, this exhibit is perfect for toddlers. For older children Wonderlab offers interactivity that teaches them about Science concepts! This is a must for any family visiting London.

For adults there are many great objects on view include an Apollo Capsule, the first Locomotive Stevenson’s Rocket and many more scientific wonders to marvel at!

V&A Museum of Childhood

A museum dedicated to growing up in Britain. This fabulous museum is a great place for a multigenerational museum visit.

Horniman Museum

A fascinating museum that has collections of anthropology and musical instruments. This museum has great family friendly events throughout the year.

Explore Roman Londonium at the Museum of London

The best museum that explores the history of the city in London. One of my favorite exhibitions is to explore Roman London.

British postal museum

The newly refurbished British Postal Museum is a great place to take your little and definitely something for your London bucket list . With a mail train ride and plenty of interactives the British Postal Museum is a great place to take the kids.

Natural history museum

Let’s face it – what child doesn’t like dinosaurs. The exhibits lend themselves really well to a family audience. There is really nothing more to say other than your littles are going to love this place.

British library

The British Library is a great space especially for adults! The library offers a great rotation of temporary exhibitions based on its literary collections!  Otherwise it is worth meeting in the foyer for one of the free tours of the building! Advance booking is recommended!

British museum

The British Museum is perhaps the most iconic of all the London museums. Perhaps slightly overwhelming for little ones it is best explored in segments. Key highlights of the collection have to be the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, Benin Bronzes and the Lindow Man!

You can beat the queues and book a tour here! 

Free things to do in London that aren’t museums!

Explore some of London’s Famous Department Stores

Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty’s, Fortnum and Masons and Hamleys are some of London’s most iconic shops! It’s free to browse but be warned this could get expensive!

Covered markets

London has in my opinion got some of the best markets in the world! And luckily given the fickle British weather some of them are indoors! The best indoor markets in my opinion are

  • Spitalfields – selling contemporary and vintage clothes, bespoke children’s toys, home items and artisan food products .As a bonus there is a antiques market on a Thursday!
  • Greenwich Indoor Market – a UNESCO World heritage site and is the perfect accompaniment for a trip to the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark!
  • Covent Garden and Jubiliee Market – in a great central London location.

Visit Platform 9 and 3/4

For Potterheads you can go to Kings Cross Station and visit Platform 9 and 3/4 and even have your photo taken with a disappearing trolley! Be warned that you need to get there early so you don’t have to wait in a long queue!

If you don’t mind the weather you can do a Harry Potter walking tour which includes Platform 9 and 3/4 – book online here! 

Indoor Things to Do in London on a Rainy Day with Kids

London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum isn’t free but it is a great day out for the family. Offering children a chance to get up and close to transport of yesteryear.

It is best to book your tickets in advance here to beat the queue!

Bonus: The collection storage area of the London Transport Museum in Acton opens twice a year and offers behind the scenes access to the museum collection.

Cutty Sark and the Maritime Museum

Newly restored after fire, the Cutty Sark will have children in awe. Being able to climb aboard and see under this ship is a visit not to be missed. The National Maritime Museum is a nearby and great accompaniment especially visiting the Great map in the atrium

Please note: while the Maritime Museum has free entrance the Cutty Sark charges admission! It is best to book your tickets in advance!

For current Prices and availability CLICK HERE

The Cutty Sark opens daily from 10am until 5pm, with tickets admission for adult at £12.15, while child over 4 (Age 4 -15 years) costs £6.30 and free for anyone under 4.

London Aquarium

A brilliant family friendly attraction! Could be coupled with a visit to the London eye!

You can book your tickets in advance here!

London Dungeons

Definitely one for older children and teenagers. Get a fright at London dungeons at any time of year! Be warned there is a scare factor!

You can book your tickets in advance here! 

Puppet Theatre Barge

The Puppet Theatre Barge is a London institution. a 50 seater theatre on a barge has great shows for all the family. Located in little Venice! This is great for toddlers and younger children in particular!

Harry Potter studio tour

A short train ride out of London you can get to the Harry Potter Studio tour! A must for any Potterhead! Be warned it is essential to book your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment!

It is imperative to book these tickets in advance with plenty of notice! 

Other fun things to do in London on a rainy day

Emirates Cable Car

The only cable car in London and a great fun way for children and adults alike  to see London from up high!

Take a cruise down the river!

As long as it isn’t too windy the boats will run! Take a cruise down the river and see all of the best sights of London by boat!

You can book your tickets here! 

Tower Bridge

Many people know the iconic tower bridge but did you know that you can walk across and learn about the engineering feat that made it? Children will love walking across this icon!

You can book your tickets in advance here! 

London Eye

A London icon on the beautiful south bank of the Thames! Pre booking tickets is a must to try and avoid the queue!

Tower of London

From learning the towers gruesome history or simply admiring the crown jewels! There is something for every interest at the Tower of London!

You can buy your tickets in advance, including Crown Jewel exhibition here!

Westminster Abbey

Go and relive the royal wedding or just marvel at its beautiful architecture.

St. Paul’s cathedral

This place definitely has a wow factor that will even impress the kids. There are multimedia and family trails to make the visit fun for kids to1

Hampton Court Palace

Literally my favorite palace in the world. Hampton Court has something for everyone. From learning about the gruesome history of Henry VIII to the fun maze or admiring the lawn tennis court. Hampton Court Palace is a fabulous day out and can be coupled with a trip down the Thames too!

Hampton Court can get busy so we recommend buying your tickets in advance!

You can get your entrance tickets via Viator online HERE

There is more London day trip inspiration here!

Royal observatory

Another World Heritage site, the observatory sits on a hill above Greenwich Park! Also the home of GMT!

Kensington Palace

William and Kate’s current abode. Kensington Palace is a fab place to visit especially for lovers of royal dress!

Kensington Palace can get busy so we recommend getting the Skip the Line Ticket in advance!

Kenwood House

Newly renovated, The House is situate in the beautiful Hampton Heath area of London

The Shard

One of London’s newest icons. Children will love seeing the view from London’s tallest building!

You can book tickets in advance in here 

Chiswick House

Located on the West Side of London, visitors can marvel at the beautiful Palladium House and if the weather clears up you can also explore the beautiful Gardens!

Barbican conservatory

Gardens might not be the first place on your mind to explore in bad weather but the beautiful indoor conservatory at the Barbican will make you feel like your outdoors while staying dry!

West End show

For me London is the home of theatre. From musicals to Shakespeare, the London stage has something for everyone even the littlest theatre fans. Make sure you check what family friendly shows are on during your visit.

BFI IMAX

The largest IMAX in the UK. On a rainy day this is literally the best place in the UK to watch a film!

The Science Museum also has an IMAX theatre!

Madame Tussaud’s

The place for all celebrity loving teens.

You can book your tickets in advance here! 

Take a bus ride

The Routemaster Bus is one of London’s most iconic designs! Take either the Heritage Route 9 or 15 bus route to experience travel on one of London’s best buses! You could try an afternoon tea bus tour for a quirky take on this one! 

Sporty Indoor Activities in London

House of vans

This indoor but outdoor skate park on the Southbank is shielded from the weather and is a great place for older kids to learn to skate!

Crazy Golf

Who knew that London was a centre of crazy golf! There are plenty of places to go and enjoy crazy golf for young and old alike

Bowling at Bloomsbury Lanes

A London icon! This 50s bowling lanes are a great place to go for bowling in central London! In the evening, the place has more of an adult vibe with hard milkshakes and entertainement!

Escape rooms

I have recently fallen in love with Escape Rooms and London is home to dozens! My personal favorite is in the Kings Cross area!

Play ping pong

Love Ping Pong! Then Bounce in Waterloo is the place for you!

Crystal maze live

As a child of the 80s I was all about the crystal maze! The chance to live my favourite show is just too tempting! Older children will love this interactive challenge and is something I can’t wait to try

Adult Things to Do in London on a Rainy Day

Afternoon Tea 

Afternoon tea is a British institution and there are some great family friendly options out there including a Charlie and chocolate factory themed one! I can’t wait to go on my first mummy daughter afternoon tea date!

For more ideas on fitting afternoon tea into your London itinerary check out this post!

Michelin starred dining in London

London is home to some of the world’s best restaurants! One of my favorite thing to do on a rainy day is head to one of them and enjoy one of their good value set lunches! Much cheaper than the a la carte menu but just as delicious!

Eat dim sum in Chinatown!

Chinatown is one of my all time favorite areas on London! If there is a quick rain shower I love dipping into one of the restaurants for a quick bite of dim sum!

London pub

Is any visit to London complete without a visit to a proper British pub? And unlike other parts of the world pubs are fine to visit with littles in tow especially if you are ordering food!

Fuller’s brewery tour

If you are willing to travel to the West side of London you can do a tour of the London brewery fullers! A very British experience

Visit a gin distillery

Gin is definitely the drink du jour in London! My favorite gin spot is the City of London Distillery! 

Ballie Ballerson

Ever get jealous of children and ball pits? Well no longer! Head to Ballie Ballerson for some adult ball pit time complete with DJ!

For more quirky things to do in London check out this post!

Or buy an umbrella and just enjoy the city like a real Londoner!

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3 Comments

  1. October 22, 2018 / 11:15 am

    I love this. How perfect because it is always raining in London. But, it is still so beautiful and fun. We had one sunny day out of 7! But, it didn’t stop us at all. It’s part of the fun. Great post.

  2. October 22, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    I got so lucky when I went to london – I hardly had any rain! But this was back in like 2001! And no kids LOL! I would love to do the London Eye, Harrods is great – what is crazy golf?!?!?! I def need to check into that!

  3. October 27, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    What a fantastic list! I have to admit, walking around London’s parks (or along the Thames) is my favorite activity…and that is waaay nicer in the sun. Still you found so many good things to do on rainy days!!

    If all else fails, follow Londoners and plonk yourself down by a fire in a pub!

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