By Jessica Russo
Okay, everybody knows that London is a rainy city - that's why there's so much to do indoors! When you see that little raindrop icon in your 5-day forecast, have no fear. In a city filled with fascinating museums, indoor markets, cozy cafes, and vibrant theaters, we promise you will not miss out. So, zip up your raincoat and pack an umbrella - you've got exploring to do!
Photo by Instagram user @creative.louis
Browse the markets
Market culture is huge in London. And what's a better way to spend a rainy day than to walk around a colorful indoor market and sip a cozy cappuccino? Try unique foods, discover crafty shops, and find sentimental souvenirs you'll treasure forever.
Markets are a feast for all the senses, and are a great way to immerse yourself in London's cool culture. You'll find everything from hipster coffee stands, to international favorites, to traditional English fish n' chips. Come hungry - these markets are filled with tons of sweet and savory treats to sip and sample.
- Leadenhall Market
- Address: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT, UK
- Camden Lock Market
- Borough Market
- Address: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
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Get your museum on
London is home to some of the best museums in the world. And guess what? They're all free! From history and science to art and photography, London's most-visited museums are jam-packed with fascinating exhibits.
- British Museum
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Natural History Museum
Pro-tip: The Natural History Museum and the V&A Museum are right next to each other. With a two-minute walk between these two amazing museums, make sure you hit both.
Photo by Instagram user @londontheatredirect
See a show
Mosey over to London's bright, bustling West End - also known as the Theatre District! Forget about the weather and head inside to cheery singing, colorful sets, and mesmerizing dancing. Musicals have the power to brighten up even they grayest of days.
If you consider yourself a lover of the classics, head to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank to witness a Shakesperian masterpiece in a historic setting.
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Strut through Harrods
This famous department store is as classy as classy gets. Whether you're looking to treat yourself or casually window-shop, Harrods is a quintessential London classic. Once you make your way through the old Victorian aisles of designer clothing and beautiful accessories, consider having an elegant lunch at any of Harrods' restaurants, or afternoon tea at the renowned Harrods Tea Room!
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Ride the London Eye
The tan and gray shades of London's skyline look like a painting against a white rainy sky. Hop on the London Eye and spend 30 minutes "oohing" and "awing" at postcard-worthy views. If you've been waiting for the perfect pic to post on Instagram, the London Eye will deliver.
Pro-tip: While the pods of the wheel are enclosed, you may need to wait in the "queue" outside. While the wait is usually a quick twenty minutes, Fast Track tickets are available to purchase online. Fast Track tickets are a little pricey, but sometimes it's worth it to skip the line.
Photo by Instagram user @london.westend
Relax on a tour bus
London is a big city with tons to see and do. A rainy day is the perfect time to sit in an iconic red tour bus and get an overview of the city. This way, you can get your bearings, take photos of famous sites, and decide which ones to re-visit when it's nice out. Many tours offer hop-on/hop-off options, so you can always explore if the rain lets up!
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Get classy at afternoon tea
Pinkies up! This English tradition is the perfect rainy day fix. Warm up with steamy tea and munch on sweet and savory snacks like scones, pastries, and savory finger sandwiches filled with cucumber, smoked salmon, ham, and more. Turn your afternoon tea into happy hour with a glass of bubbly!
Here's a list of our favorite afternoon tea spots:
Be sure to make a reservation!
- The Wolseley
- The Ritz
- Dean Street Townhouse
- Mr. Fogg's Residence
- Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson - yes, it's Alice in Wonderland themed.
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Cast a spell at Harry Potter Studios
Wingardium Leviosa! Channel your inner Harry, Hermione, or Ron on the real sets of Harry Potter! Located just north of the city in Watford, The Making of Harry Potter by Warner Bros. is an authentic behind-the-scenes glimpse into the films. Walk through Diagon Alley, sit in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, and experience the Forbidden Forest! Hop on the Hogwarts Express and immerse yourself in magic.
Pro-tip: Tickets must be purchased in advance! You can buy tickets here or search the web for discounts!
Photo by Instagram user @lukeanthonyhughes
Drink they grey away in a pub
London's pub scene is one of the best in the world. Sip on a gin cocktail or say "cheers" with a pint of ale! Pubs in London are often historic, and boast amazing interiors that come with a story. The warmth of friendly locals, live music, and delicious pub food will make you forget all about the weather outside.
Here are five of our favorite pubs:
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
- Address: 145 Fleet St, London EC4A 2BU, UK
- The Churchill Arms
- The Old Bank of England
- Address: 194 Fleet St, London EC4A 2LT, UK
- Lamb and Flag
- Address: 33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB, UK
- The Harp
- Address: 47 Chandos Pl, London WC2N 4HS, UK
Tour the Tower of London
As long as you don't mind walking from building to building, the main exhibits of the Tower of London are all indoors. In fact, a grey foggy sky can actually add to the mysterious, spooky feel of this historic site. If the rain stops, enjoy a lovely walk over the famous Tower Bridge!
Photo by Instagram user @valigiaaduepiazze
Catch a flick at Electric Cinema in Notting Hill
We all know that going to the movies is a classic rainy day activity, but there is nothing typical about Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. This adorable movie theater fits in perfectly with the charming, old-school neighborhood of antique shops, cafes, and candy-colored homes. Inside this retro theater, you'll find classy red seating and a grand auditorium. It looks more like a musical theater than a movie theater!