As a family we love a trip to London and look forward to it for weeks, we wake up and look out of the window and 9 times out of 10 it’s nice and our plans for the day are fine. However, that other option it’s not great means we have to adapt our plans sometimes and do something different. Over the years we’ve asked friends and family what they would do and decided that it would be good to share these ideas with you. So if you ever find yourself in London on a Rainy Day then here’s our guide to fun things to do with kids on a rainy day in London.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids in London
There are so many different activities you can do I’ve tried to split them into sections depending on your mood and what you as a family fancy doing on the day.
Visit a Museum
There are so MANY museums in London, it can be difficult to know where to start I’ve chosen my favourites but there are plenty more to choose from. These are museums that when I was little I enjoyed visiting and my kids have too.
Natural History Museum
Out of all of the museums in London, this is the one that we return to time and time again. It’s so vast that there is plenty to see and just the dinosaur, fossils and insects areas are enough to keep my kids and myself entertained all day. Find out more about why it’s our favourite with our Tips for Visiting the Natural History Museum.
Visit the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at Saatchi Gallery
Until May 2020 the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition is at the Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square Tube station London. Over the 2019 Christmas period, there is a special family pass available. Read our review of the exhibition and find out more details about the family pass with our Family Review of Tutankhamun at the Saatchi Gallery.
Right next door to the Natural History Museum the Science Museum is another favourite of ours. We sometimes would visit both in the same day picking up new exhibits in both and revisiting favourites but more often than not it’s a full day out. I love the science museum for kids once they are in school.
Unlike the Natural History Museum which appeals to even young children the science museum is a little more advanced, we started to visit once both mine were in school after a failed visit the year before where my youngest got bored and demanded to see the dinosaurs next door. Whether that was because she was disappointed she didn’t get to see what she wanted or just because she was bored we will never know.
My parents often talk about the Horniman Museum and urged us to visit as it was one that they remembered from living in London. It’s a mix of arts, anthropology/culture and natural history as well as some beautiful gardens to visit.
When I want to explore some history the British Museum is my favourite to visit. From the British History through to that of the Egyptians and Greeks there is always something to see. Don’t forget to look up a Mummies nose in the Egyptian area as you can see straight into it’s brain!!!
Royal Museums Greenwich
With 4 different museums to visit including the Royal Observatory and planetarium, Cutty Sark a historical sailing ship as well as standing on the Greenwich Mean Line with one foot in the east and one foot in the west Royal Museums Greenwich has plenty to see and explore.
There are so many stories set in and around London or featuring London it’s hard to choose but I would recommend 3, a classic, a modern and a create your own experience. Well worth visiting with kids on a rainy or not so rainy day in London.
Charles Dickens Museum
A classic author that resided in London during the Victorian age and the stories that he wrote brought to life the differences in society in Victorian London. The Charles Dickens Museum is based in the house where he wrote Olive Twist and other books. As well as being where great literature was written it also gives a glimpse of what it was like in a Victorian home at the start of the reign of Queen Victoria.
The Making of Harry Potter
From Victorian literature to one of the biggest selling series and franchises in the world. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. The Making of Harry Potter is one of my favourite attractions to visit in London. It contains set secrets to the films, hands-on experiences and guides you through the development of the stories and some movie magic. Fly a broomstick, explore the Forbidden Forest or even taste some Butter Beer. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU NEED TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME FOR THIS ATTRACTION.
Create your own stories with the kids in this fantastic interactive experience at Discover Centre. Expand your imagination as your visit the 2 floor Story World and “write” your own stories or book to attend storytelling sessions which until early July featured books by Julia Donaldson.
Kids have a lot of energy and using it up can be taxing especially if you are on your 3rd of 4th day of rain. After hosting the Olympics in 2012 London has some great sports arenas, teams and of course family fun. Choosing just some was difficult but these two are our pick of the best for Kids and you to do.
Skating at Alexandra Palace
Whether it’s the middle of winter or August 1st then if you fancy putting on your skates and heading off on the ice get to Alexandra Palace. As well as lots of other activities they have a year round skating rink that you can enjoy with the kids.
Swimming and adventure at the London Aquatics Centre
Built for the Olympics the London Aquatics Centre has 2 50m pools and 1 diving pool hosts an Inflatable Aquatics session on weekends and school holidays. These fun sessions are like an adventure course on water. Children need to be over 5 for smallest of the inflatables and over 8 for the bigger and higher and more adventurous.
See a Show
As a teen, this was the one reason I came down to London regularly the West End Shows – and they are still a draw. I love a good muscial, or theatre show and some of the best performances can be found in the many theatres in the West End of London.
Discover what’s on at the moment on the London Theatre website.
See the Sights
Without even visiting anything London is a huge draw just to travel around. With iconic red double decker buses – some open top and some closed top as well as the Underground or Tube! Just travelling around the city can be an experience for kids.
Take the Tube
Grab a classic Monolopy board with London Names and then get tickets for the tube (children under 11 are FREE) and make it around the board on the different tube lines – it helps to get a sense of where things are in London as you head east, west, north or south on the lines. Find out your routes and more information on the London Transport Site.
Do the full red bus tour of London
Many years ago I showed a group of friends from Seattle around London before we headed off to a conference. It rained ALOT, but one of the things we did do was take one of the many big Red Buses around London. I had never done it before and seeing the sights from the top of the bus was a lot of fun. I’d do it again with the kids and be tempted to get off and explore as well even in the rain.
Unlike the tube you do get to see a lot of the different sights of London and can add some things that you want to see whilst you are there when the weather improves.
There is plenty more to see in London and I couldn’t include everything but these would be our Top Picks of Rainy Day Activities to do with Kids in London if you find yourself looking for inspiration.