Indoor activities to do in London on a rainy day

London’s parks and shopping streets are all great to explore when the sun is shining, but there’s still an abundance of fun activities in the capital that can be saved for a rainy day. From quirky museums and afternoon theatre to indoor markets and adventure zones, you can pack your day with entertainment to ensure the weather doesn’t dampen your mood.

1. Putt your way through a maze of junk

With four different crazy golf courses to try out, each with their own novelty feel, you can putt your way through a rainy day at Junkyard Golf Club. Located in the heart of Brick Lane and with a distinctly east London vibe, the mix of UV lights, pre-loved junk and bizarre holes offers fun for all the family.

Woman holding crazy golf club and balls, Junkyard Gold Club
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Junkyard Golf Club

2. Take to the slopes

Pop by London’s largest indoor ski centre in Chelsea where you can try out skiing or snowboarding for the first time or enhance your existing skills. The speed and angles of the hi-tech slopes at Chel-ski can be adjusted to match your ability, while the centre’s highly trained staff are on hand to keep you safe while you’re having fun!

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Chel-ski

3. Get a head for heights

Found adjacent to Chel-ski, Clip n Climb provides plenty of indoor climbing opportunities on a rainy day. Clamber up the Skyscraper to reach new heights, tackle the infamous Vertical Drop Slide, take a Leap of Faith or hurry your way up the Speed Climb. There are 21 climber wall challenges available and you don’t need any prior experience to give it a go! Just undertake a safety briefing, clip on your harness and off you go – all under the watchful supervision of the centre’s friendly staff.

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Clip n Climb

4. Get a taste for modern art

Home to international modern and contemporary art, including a wealth of high-quality exhibitions and showpiece collections, the Tate Modern can be enjoyed no matter the weather. Found in the former Bankside power station, near to London’s Millennium Bridge, you can explore works by some of the art world’s most influential and innovative figures.

Bankside sign in front of Tate Modern
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Tate Modern

5. Explore one of London’s most iconic markets

With its cobbled streets and iconic wrought iron and glass roof, Leadenhall Market dates back to the 14th century. What was once a thriving meat and poultry market is now home to a number of exclusive boutique retailers, fine restaurants and cafes. Escape from the rain to discover its luxury shops and dining options, and to spy the backdrop for the Leaky Caldron and Diagon Alley, as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

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Leadenhall Market

6. Catch a matinee show in Theatreland

Many of London’s West End theatres host matinee performances of their hit shows on selected days throughout the week. Check online for the latest times or stop by one of the many box offices in Theatreland to see what tickets are available for unmissable shows including Les Misérables, The Lion King and Mamma Mia.

The Lion King musical stage production
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Theatreland

7. Dive into ocean life

Delve into an underwater world at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, where you’ll find everything from sharks and sea turtles to colourful sea horses. Watch as sting rays glide through the water, stroll under the sea on a walk along the ocean tunnel and embark on a journey of discovery through the aquarium’s many different zones. Sea Life London provides a rare opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s most endangered seafaring creatures – and all without getting wet!

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SEA LIFE London Aquarium

8. Off to the dungeon you go

Alternatively, venture below County Hall on London’s South Bank to discover tales of the capital’s dark past at the London Dungeon. Theatrical actors, immersive scenes, a plethora of special effects and several thrilling underground rides help bring the past alive as you journey through 1,000 years of the city’s history.

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London Dungeon

9. Venture inside for afternoon tea

Venues across London offer an abundance of luxurious afternoon tea options, well away from the rain outside. From tucking into delectable dishes during afternoon tea at Oblix or Aqua Shard at the Shard, to relaxing in the picturesque surroundings of Claridges or Fortnum and Mason, you’ll find a number of unique twists on the British classic, often featuring a delicious array of seasonal produce.

Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Aqua Shard
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The Shard

10. Discover masterpieces of European art

Overlooking Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery houses an exceptional collection of artworks from around the world. Its walls are home to famed works by some of history’s most talented artists, including Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Vincent Van Gogh, Raphael and JMW Turner. Escape from the rain and discover the stunning collection for yourself at this free masterpiece of a museum.

The Bathers at Asnières, an impressionist painting by French artist Georges Pierre Seurat in the Djanogly room of the National Gallery in London
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The National Gallery

11. Explore maritime history

Uncover tales of treasure and distant lands by embarking on an interactive family adventure across the Great Map at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Step onto the giant atlas in the centre of the museum and be guided by the touch-screen tablet, packed with immersive games and stories of voyages, pirates and treasure. A number of family-friendly trails can guide you through the museum’s galleries, uncovering a raft of maritime tales and stories as you go.

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National Maritime Museum

12. Flip out in the city

With three sites across the capital, Flip Out offers trampoline parks and an array of indoor entertainment. Alongside parks in Brent Cross and Wandsworth, the newest Flip Out at E6 near East Ham is home to rows of interlocked trampolines, indoor caves, numerous climbing walls and a 100-metre long potholing zone! There’s also dodgeball, a laser maze and a children’s soft play zone, providing plenty of ways to keep the kids busy!

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Flip Out

13. Explore London’s free museums

Avoid the rain and venture into a world of art and design at the V&A, home to a collection of more than 2.3 million objects that detail more than five millennia of human creativity. From architecture and fashion to jewellery and sculpture, the museum’s eclectic range of exhibits showcases human innovation, imagination and inventiveness. Alternatively, travel back in time to uncover the history of life on earth at the Natural History Museum or discover a world of human ingenuity at the Science Museum, both of which are nearby.

Family looking at sculptures of animals at the V&A Museum, London
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V&A

14. Wander among butterflies

No matter the weather, you’ll find hundreds of free-flying butterflies at the Horniman Museum and Gardens Butterfly House in Forest Hill. The tropical indoor garden is home to species from all over the globe, including a number of rare and beautiful creatures. See taxidermy and skeletons in the Natural History Gallery that showcase Britain’s past, dating back to a period when Georgian and Victorian explorers were discovering more about the world, and celebrate human creativity and adaptability in the World Gallery. Should the rain ease, it’s the ideal excuse to explore the Animal Walk, a chance to experience close encounters with the centre’s resident alpacas, sheep, rabbits, goats and more.

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Horniman Museum
10 Dec 2019(last updated)