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How come it alway rains in the school holidays?
It pours down. Endlessly. And we all get cabin fever.
AND just need to get out.
BUT don’t fancy standing nose-to-bum with EVERY other family in London to see the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum.
OR the Mummies in the British Museum.
OR Madame Tussauds. OR the London Dungeon. OR the Aquariaum.
OR go to soft play – aaaarrrgggh! – AGAIN!
BECAUSE they are all heaving with other grumpy, wet people.
So what on earth are you meant to do on a rainy day in London with kids?
There’s actually a whole heap of fun indoors stuff for kids in London that does NOT get crazy full.
AND quite a lot of it is FREE stuff – *marked in the list below.
PLUS I’ve got a cunning tip for you – at the bottom – that will help make the pricier stuff affordable.
So here you are … a massive list of places to go with kids on rainy days in London …
Rainy Days Out In London With Kids
1. The Mid Sized Museums
London’s big museums are brilliant. But on a rainy day, they’re rammed.
One soggy bank holiday we had to queue in the rain to get into the Imperial War Museum!
But luckily London’s got a bunch of great medium sized museums fewer people know!
- Museum of London* – London history from the Romans to the Rolling Stones
- Horniman Museum* – cross between Natural History & the V&A
- RAF Museum* – unbelievably cool planes galore!
- Maritime Museum* – fab hands on galleries for little & bigger kids *closed til 30/10/17
- National Army Museum* – everything for little soldiers
- Wellcome Collection* – cool science & medicine exhibits
- Museum of London Docklands* – everything about the river Thames
- Brooklands – motor-tastic PLUS more planes – not all indoors but enough to keep dry
- Planetarium – travel through space at the top of Greenwich Park
- Museum of Childhood – toys galore and lots of holiday and weekend activities
2. Big London Houses
Another handy option for rainy days are London’s big houses.
I’m sure you know your local. And a few famous ones.
BUT did you know there are over 30 grand houses to visit in London. WOW!
And the biggies are perfect for rainy days with the kids …
- Hampton Court – amazing grounds but SO much going on indoors on rainy days
- Ham House – the National Trust run lots of activities for kids
- Eltham Palace – half uber glamorous 30s mansion-half Tudor palace, LOADS for kids
- Kenwood House* – stellar collection of world class art at top of Hampstead Heath
- Sutton House – not enormous but good one for littlies
- Forty Hall* – beautiful grounds BUT lots of indoor activities as well
- Apsley House – the Duke of Wellington’s house in the corner of Hyde Park
- Eastbury Manor – another small National Trust East London house good for littlies
- Syon House – the Duke of Northumberland’s beautiful west London castle
- Osterley Park – big old National Trust palace – surrounded by cows! – in Brentford
3. Go Underground
If it’s raining, go underground!
You WHAT? Yep really!
London has two seriously cool underground offerings your kids will love …
- Chiselhurst Caves – 22 miles worth of – very spooky – underground caves near station
- Postal Museum – with it’s very own underground railway!
4. London Ice Skating
OK London’s museums and stuff are super cool.
BUT if it’s raining AND raining AND raining – we all need to burn off some energy.
AND ice skating is perfect. It’s officially exhausting!
There are permanent London ice rinks at:
- Alexandra Palace – with the MOST stunning location!
- Streatham – very close to Streatham station
- Lee Valley – 15 minutes from Clapton overground
- Sobell – in Islington about 10 minutes from Holloway Road tube
But for something really cool try:
- Queens Ice & Bowl in Queensway where you can go Ice Karting!
Or IF money’s no object – check out cash saving tips at bottom – you can ski in London at …
- Chel-ski – offers single sessions for kids and families, but you need to book ahead
- The Snow Centre – it’s a bit far out in Hemel Hempstead but bigger
5. Trampolining in London
Trampolining is another fab way to stop the kids BOUNCING off the walls.
When it’s chucking it down outside.
For some serious jumping action try …
- Flip Out – in Wandsworth, Brent Cross and E6
- Oxygen Free Jumping – Park Royal and Croydon
- MegaJump – Borehamwood
- Jump Giants – further out at Thurrock and Slough but just off M25
6. London Rock Climbing
Rock climbing’s another great rainy day in London with kids option.
As it burns off their physical AND mental energy.
There are climbing walls in leisure centres across London.
But for something a bit more challenging – for 5 and ups – try:
- Clip N Climb in Chelsea
This was the first big climbing wall we went to and is a great place to start.
BUT to really stretch bigger kids try ..
- Westway Climbing – with walls over 14 metres high
- Arch Climbing Wall at the Biscuit Factory
- Castle Climbing Centre – in an old Victorian pumping station!
On these walls you HAVE to do an introductory session the first time you go.
AND do check height and age restrictions.
OK! So that’s already 37 cool places to go with kids on a rainy day in London!
Need some more? Here you go …
7. Small London Museums That Work In the Rain
You’d think you’d be in and out of London’s small museums too quick when it’s raining.
But some of the crammed-to-the-rafters little London museums actually do keep kids gripped!
We have spent hours geeking out in the tiny – and empty! – but brilliant …
- Vestry – odds and sods of domestic life plus a prison cell and early car – FAB!
- Grant – weird and wonderful natural history from brains to elephant hearts!
- Petrie – one of the world’s best Egyptian collections just round from the Grant
- Ragged School – experience a Victorian classroom. SIT UP STRAIGHT YOU THERE AT THE BACK!
If your kids have done the Victorians at school you could also try …
- 18 Stafford Terrace – for a costumed tour of a Victorian family house
We’ve not done yet. But on our wish list.
8. Forgotten Bits Of The Big Museums
OK so we all know London’s big museums are a nightmare on a rainy day.
BUT there are forgotten bits to them where it is less hectic …
- British Museum – come in the back Montagu Place entrance and check out the Americas
- Natural History – go in the side entrance AND skip the dinosaurs for bugs and mammals
- Science Museum – check out the Journey Through Medicine and only hit the super popular Wonder Lab first thing or at the end of the day
9. The Cathedrals
Let’s be honest, you may get groans from your kids if you mention cathedrals.
BUT heh, people come from all round the world to see …
… which does make them busy but much less so in the autumn and winter half terms.
The downside is, these two are expensive!! BUT don’t forget we do also have …
… which is FREE. Right by Borough Market. AND the location for a very scary Dr Who episode!
Beat that St Pauls!
10. Cinema & Theatre
Now of course London’s theatres and cinemas ARE super pricey.
But it’s a pretty good way to spend a rainy afternoon with kids.
AND there are ways – see bottom – to make them cheaper.
You can always get last minute theatre tickets from the official Theatre Society ticket booth in Leicester Square. Or online or by phone – if you don’t mind agency commissions – from London Theatre Direct, Love Theatre, Theatre Tickets Direct or Ticketmaster.
And for an amazing cinema experience your kids won’t forget, remember the …
- IMAX Waterloo – Britain’s biggest screen, a WHOPPING 20 metres high & 26 metres wide!
11. Ten Pin Bowling
Or if your kids have still got energy to burn off there’s ten pin bowling at …
- Bloomsbury Bowling – close to the British Museum so could combine
- All Star Lanes – in Holborn, Bayswater, Brick Lane & Stratford
- Hollywood Bowl – at Surrey Quays
- Rowans – in Finsbury Park, a bit cheaper than the fancy new ones
- Palace Superbowl – old style fun in Elephant & Castle
So there you go! 54 places to go with kids in London on a rainy day!
BUT there is one more brilliant thing you could do …
… and that’s go to the woods AND get wet!!!
12. Get Wet In The Woods
Yep seriously! London has truly amazing forest and woodland.
And as long as it’s NOT teaming down.
And you’re not completely MUD PHOBIC … it’s the best fun ever.
You get plenty of cover from the rain. BUT under foot it’s gorgeously squelchily muddy.
Yes everyone gets filthy. But it’s the stuff memories are made of.
Right here in London. In the rain.
You can get the lowdown on all London’s best woods here …
*Bonus* Saving Money On London Days Out With Kids
OK. So you’ve got a BIG LIST of stuff to do on rainy days with kids in London.
BUT how do you stop it costing you a small fortune?
Well I’ve got a whole bunch of tips on how to save money on days out in London.
BUT my BIGGEST tip is to get family & friends to help by giving your kids experiences NOT stuff.
None of our kids really need new toys do they? So ask for vouchers & membership cards.
£10 cinema, theatre, trampolining or whatever vouchers from grandpas, aunties, party guests etc.
They ALL add up! And help BIG time!
AND share with anyone who buys your kids gifts.
It will keep the house clutter free. AND help the whole family enjoy London whatever the weather!
P.S. For more ideas for fun days out in London follow Family Fun London on Facebook …