London is famous for its grey drizzling rain that seeps through your jacket and chills your bones. But this is no reason to stay at home, as London is also defined by it’s 300+ museums, countless cafes and myriad of other fascinating undercover activities.
A RAINY DAY GUIDE TO LONDON: MUSEUMS, CAFES AND MORE
This guides gives you some ideas for spending a warm, dry day exploring indoor London.
Wander Museums and Galleries
Not only does London have a lot of museums and galleries, it also has some of the oldest and biggest in the world, many which are free to visit. Five of the best that can occupy you all rainy day long are:
Tate Modern – one of the newest big museums in London, Tate Modern is houses in the former Bankside Power Station by the River Thames in Central London. The building itself, with its concrete turbine hall and long internal escalators is worth the visit, but you’ll also find contemporary and modern art across all mediums, and a well-stocked art book and gift store.
National Portrait Gallery – even if art is not your thing, wandering through the rooms of date-arranged portraits offers an interesting perspective of English characters and society. The gallery also holds exhibitions on the ground floor, which you can see for a small fee.
British Museum – this British collection of historical artefacts is truly something to behold. You could quite easily spend a whole rainy day inside the museum and still not see the all the wonders on show. The Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and the Reading Room are three of the favourite exhibits, and the glass-roofed foyer can mesmerise you while you enjoy an English tea with jam and clotted cream.
The National History Museum – another vast museum with almost too much to see, this is a great pick if you enjoy nature, science or seeing really old things, like dinosaur bones and fossils and minerals.
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) – just up the road from the National History Museum, the V&A is London’s art and design museum, showing clothes, jewellery, tools and arts from cultures all around the world. Of particular interest are the rooms of British and European artefacts giving you an insight to how the royals may have once sipped tea, brushed their hair, dressed, dined and even slept. To extend your rainy day adventure, check out to see what free evening activities are on and what paid art and design classes are on offer.
Curl Up in a Cafe
With no shortage of cosy little cafes, London is a great city for spending a day with a book and a hot beverage… or four. Perhaps head for Soho, which is known for being particularly thick with cafes and book stores, or Shoreditch and Old Street area, which are known for cafes and boutiques selling art and designer delights. Some of my favourite London cafes that indulge the day-long stay include Flat White with its scrumptious brew, Look Mum No Hands with its Old Street views, Camera Cafe with its creative community and homey feel, and Black Lab Coffee House, with it’s soothing tunes and lounges.
Feed Your Brain and Culture Cravings
If you feel like a rainy day is best spent soaking up a bit of knowledge and culture, perhaps try some of the following activities.
Go to a free lunch time or evening lecture at The National Gallery or The Royal Society of Arts.
Check out some of the Poetry Society cafe events and Bookslam gigs in your rainy evening.Hit up the Book Club for a range of evening gigs, classes, quizzes and other fun stuff.
You could also go to a matinee show in London’s famous West End theatre district.
Go to the Library
Whether you need a new holiday read, have some travel administration to get sorted, or simply get excited in the presence of books, London libraries are a great place to be on a rainy day. The Westminster local libraries are a great place to start. Many libraries have older novels for sale for as little as 10 pence, have extensive travel guidebook sections, offer free wi-fi and are full of odd-ball characters.