A rainy day in London doesn't mean you have to spend the entire day in museums! Save this list of the best indoor activities in London so you're prepared when the weather doesn't cooperate!
There are plenty of indoor activities in London to choose from when the weather isn't ideal for outdoor pursuits...and guess what...it doesn't have to be a museum. If you're like me and a bit “museumed out”, continue reading for things to do in London when it rains that are a bit more exciting!
Top Indoor Activities in London for a Rainy Day
1. Harry Potter Warner Brother Studios
One of the best indoor activities in London FOR FAMILIES
You'll never find me upset over a rainy day in London as it's the perfect excuse to visit The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour. Since pretty much every person in the world knows the name Harry Potter, chances are you or someone in your group is a Harry Potter fan (high-five fellow HP nerds!).
Harry Potter Warner Brother Studios is a must. Even if you aren’t a big HP fan, it’s still extremely cool to see a live set and learn how the movies were made.
I’ve been twice and could easily go a third time with everything there is to see. Plan on spending at least 3 hours here for a quick run-through and don’t forget to try the butterbeer in the back lot.
Getting tickets beforehand is a MUST. I recommend taking the bus as it’s a quick ride in a Harry Potter inspired double-decker. All information on getting there can be found on the website.
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2. Afternoon Tea
One of the best indoor activities in London for foodies
Afternoon Tea should be experienced on every visit to the UK and is easily one of the best things to do in London on a rainy day. It's particularly cozy to sip hot tea and nibble on warm scones as you watch the gloomy weather outside.
Afternoon tea is an institution in the UK and one of the experiences I most look forward to each time I visit. It should absolutely be at the top of your list for how to spend a rainy day in London.
3. Theatre District – See a Show
One of the best evening activities for a rainy day in London
London’s Theatre District has quite the reputation. Offering world-famous shows at decent prices (every show I've seen in London has hands down beaten NYC in performance and price).
Book tickets in advance or visit the famous TKTS booth in Leicester Square to find a deal on shows that day. Most tickets will be 50% off. Don't hesitate to book a few shows or plays if the weather forecast predicts several rainy days.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
A must for any visit to London whether it's raining or not
St. Paul's Cathedral is the fourth largest church in Europe with an eye-catching 365-foot dome. It's a sight not to be missed and perfect for a rainy day in London...you won't feel guilty for spending extra time to take in every detail when the weather isn't great.
Climb up 257 steps to the base of the dome to reach the whispering gallery. Whisper into the wall and your friend will be able to hear you on the opposite side. The perfectly curved wall carries your whisper all the way around and has made this quite a popular tourist activity.
Buy your ticket in advance to skip waiting in the rain if there is a line.
5. Westminster Abbey
One of the best indoor activities in London for history buffs (that isn't a museum)
Westminster Abbey hosted the infamous wedding of William and Kate and is where you will find over 1,000 years worth of history...a perfect activity for a rainy day in London.
The Abbey is not only the site of coronations, but holds the tombs of royalty, famous poets, politicians, and other notable figures. If you want to see Westminster and skip touring around and paying the admission price, attend a free Evensong service held daily except on Wednesdays.
Honorable Mention: Sky Garden
One of the best indoor activities in London that's free
London's highest public garden is quite the stunner. Sky Garden not only has a gorgeous 2 story interior filled with plants and greenery that is beyond Instagrammable, but it also offers stunning views of the city.
Clear skies would be preferable so you can enjoy better views, but it still makes for a fun stop to watch the rain fall from the giant multi-story windows. I've been both when it's been raining and when it's been sunny. I actually enjoyed both equally. The vibe was quite moody on the day it rained. It wasn't too cloudy so I was still able to enjoy sweeping views of the city below.
Don't forget to reserve your FREE tickets in advance.
Honorable Mention: Covered Markets
A foodies dream of how to spend a rainy day in London
If the weather isn't too terrible and you're happy as long as you're doing something that's covered...a visit to some of the best markets in London is a must.
Leadenhall Market supposedly inspired JK Rowling for Diagon Alley. In fact, it makes an appearance in the first movie. There are shops and restaurants here, but I would save your appetite for Borough Market.
Covent Garden Market is a must for any tourist. The main market is a two-level, covered area filled with shops and restaurants. It's also a very popular Instagram spot. The surrounding area around the market is known for upscale shopping, dining, and pubs. Stop by Abuelo Cafe to warm up with a craft coffee and artistic cake slice. The cafe is a 2-minute walk from Covent Garden Market and it's one of my favorite coffee shops in Covent Garden.
Borough Market is where you want to save your appetite for. This food market is huge and filled with food stalls offering almost every type of cuisine imaginable It's also mostly covered...hence why it's perfect for a rainy day in London as long as it's not too cold. Diehard foodies could spend several hours here. Though, I am usually fine wandering around for an hour before I stuff myself into a food coma.
Still interested in a museum or two?
A rainy day in London does not mean you have to fill your day will multiple museum visits. There are plenty of indoor activities in London to fill several days. From covered food markets, afternoon tea, evening theater performances, and a trip to the Making of Harry Potter, you could easily fill a week-long itinerary without having to spend much time outside.
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