Did you know that even in the height of a lovely London summer, there’s still a chance that at least one rain shower will fall every three days? On average, despite a fairly mild climate overall, it rains in London 156 days out of every year – so it’s wise to have a contingency plan in place just in case... With that being said, here are six of our favourite rainy day attractions in London, for if the skies do open.
London’s Natural History Museum is absolutely huge, and it’s very, very interesting. You’ll find it on Exhibition Road in South Kensington along with the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (both also worth visiting). It has over 80 million specimens that span 4.5 billion years of evolution on earth. You could probably spend an entire day here and still have more to see, so just make sure you get to the Darwin Centre to see Archie the giant squid and don’t miss the large mammals hall! Best of all, admission to the museum is free.
This might seem counter-intuitive, because of course bright blue skies are generally seen as a very good thing when it comes to views over a city. But the London Eye is actually pretty cool even in the rain (there’s a reason it’s open all year round, after all). The view is still incredible. You will still see all of London’s iconic cityscape open up below your eyes. You might not be able to get as good photographs through windows with raindrops on them, but you are likely to get shorter queues and more space to yourself in the carriage, so forget about Instagram and enjoy the moment!
Madame Tussauds has opened up in cities all over the world now, but the Madame Tussauds on Marleybone Road in London is the original, biggest and best one. It’s a London institution and you could not find a better place to while away a rainy London afternoon than marvelling at the attention to detail and amazing craftsmanship of its thousands of incredible wax models. Take a selfie with Kylie Jenner, get face to face with Donald Trump… but remember there’s a lot more to do here than just that. Get swept away in the story of Sherlock Holmes, see a 4D Marvel movie, go behind the scenes to see how the waxworks are made… plan to spend a few hours here. There’s a lot to see. And yes, it is crowded, but that’s because it’s good.
The West End can be expensive, and tickets can be hard to get for some of the more popular shows… so if you wake up on a rainy morning in London, get straight online and see if you can book last minute tickets to a matinee! There are often great deals on shows that haven’t sold out, or you can even find tickets to a preview of a show that hasn’t officially opened yet. A very magical way to spend a rainy London afternoon.
Afternoon Tea is about as quintessentially English an experience as you can possibly have while in London, and to be honest we’d recommend it on the sunniest day of the year… but there’s something particularly lovely about sitting in a beautiful warm and elegantly decorated room, with a plate full of cakes in front of you and hot tea on tap, while rain buckets down outside on the streets of London.
And not just because it’s the most practical thing you can do on a rainy day, but because you’ve probably never seen an umbrella shop before, and if you have, you probably haven’t seen one like this. James Smith & Sons, purveyor of high quality and beautifully crafted umbrellas, have been keeping Londoners dry since 1830, and their Oxford Street store is well worth a visit. If it’s not raining, go here anyway. You might see an ornate walking stick that you never knew you needed.