It’s fair to say that rain is pretty common in London. It’s also rather unpredictable and days can go from brilliant sunshine to pouring showers in seconds.
Londoners are used to this odd weather, but if you’re coming from elsewhere for a visit, it can be a bit of a shock! Luckily, London isn’t the sort of place you can only enjoy during spells of good weather. In fact, London is so prepared for wet days, that the number of things to do on a rainy day are just as high as the number of things you can do in the sun.
To help you make the most out of a trip with unpredictable, wet weather, we’ve put together a guide.
Does it rain every day in London?
A common myth is that is rains every day in London. Before we go into rainy day activities, let’s dispel this straight away!
According to the Met Office Climate data, ‘over the 30 year period, there were 106.5 days of rainfall per year on average (which counts as a day in which 1mm of rainfall or over fell). This means that there was rainfall on 29 percent of days per year and on average it didn’t rain 71 percent of days per year. Average rainfall is 557.4mm with 1410 ‘sunshine hours’.’
There are more rainy days in Miami (at 135) and Orlando, Florida (117) than there are in London. New York City clocks in at 122 days and 1,268mm of rain. Washington DC, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and Mexico City all have more rainy days on average in any given year than London. Myth busted!
What to do in London if it rains?
First of all, pack an umbrella. Regardless of the time of year, it’s best if you go prepared, even for the odd shower. There’s a lot of walking to do in London, whether you’re exploring London on foot or jumping on and off the underground or buses, and it’s much more pleasant if you’re not in damp clothes.Pack waterproof shoes and jackets too, especially if travelling in the peak rainy seasons (December to March).
However, even if you do forget these items, you won’t have to travel far from your accommodation in Hyde Park to purchase them in stores. You can also get special deals on London hotels during this time, so don’t automatically dismiss travelling during this season. After all, London during the festive winter season is really special.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, we can look at the fun things you can do in London in wet weather.
Where can I go on a rainy day in London?
There are a million and one indoor activities to enjoy in London during wet weather and we’ve put together our favourites to get you inspired for your trip.
There are endless wonderful markets in London, and this one is particularly special for many reasons. Best of all, it’s ideal for wet weather as it’s mostly all indoors.
Camden is a hot spot for tourists, and after half an hour there, you’ll understand why. Explore Camden’s famous collection of bohemian stalls and shops which are connected via a network of old horse tunnels. Stock up on anything and everything from retro and antique furniture to books, quirky crafts and clothes while waiting for the rain to clear.
If nature is more your thing rather than shopping, there’s plenty of ways to get your fill without getting wet. Experience finches, quails and exotic fish while you stroll amongst 2,000 different species of tropical plants and trees at the Barbican’s exotic conservatory, which is all completely covered, so you can put the umbrella away.
Embrace your artistic side
The museums and art gallery options in London are endless. From the Fashion and Textile Museum in London Bridge to the Serpentine art gallery with plenty of hotels near Hyde Park London to stay in, there really is something for everyone.
The best news is, a large proportion of the city’s galleries and museums are free to wander round in, especially the main exhibitions, which means you’ll have more money for lunch – winner!
Enjoy a matinee at the theatre
From quirky independent theatres to the Grand Royale, there is something for every taste and budget in London, and some of the best theatre companies in the world call the capital home.
The Grand Royale, for example, has several matinee showings at reasonable prices, with lots of great accommodation in Hyde Park London nearby. Lots of restaurants local to the main theatres will offer reduced dining experiences for those with a ticket, so this is well worth looking out for if you’re travelling on a budget, too.
What to do in London with kids if it rains?
Travelling with little ones in tow? Never fear, there are plenty of things to do in the rain in London that will keep kids of all ages happy and dry. Here is a handful of our favourite things to do with children in wet weather.
Sea Life London Aquarium
All the fun of the sea without getting wet at this bustling London attraction that’s a must for little ones.Walk over, under and through colourful aquatic wonderlands, from tropical climates to the Arctic, and keep your eyes peeled for sharks, jellyfish and jewel-coloured sea turtles. Take a look at the feeding times for your favourite animals (they do live feedings of the penguins, for example) too!
Peter Harrison Planetarium
Or, if looking up into the night sky is more your family’s thing, a trip to the planetarium is a great, inspiring way to spend a rainy afternoon. Stargazers in Greenwich can enjoy the latest HD technology beamed onto the domed roof and discover more about the universe, with lots of shows suitable for young viewers.
Get your adrenaline pumping as you tackle an escape room together at one of the various options around the city.
They’re becoming so popular today that there are a number of great choices for those with slightly older children, from escaping bank vaults to ‘stealing’ the Queen’s crown jewels.
Catch a film
London boasts some beautiful independent cinemas, from quirky and creative to the grand and royal. A family film can be a great way to escape the rain for a few hours, and it gives you a chance to rest your feet after a long day of exploring.