What to do in London when it rains


There are plenty of great outside attractions in London, but with the unpredictable weather it is worth remembering there are also lots of fab family things to do inside.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

If the skies are looking a little grey, then consider heading to the Sherlock Holmes Museum – located at, of course, 221b Baker Street in the City of Westminster.

Owned and run by the Sherlock Holmes Society of England, the museum celebrates everything to do with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous detective Holmes and his sidekick Dr John Watson.

Visitors are able to step back in time to Victorian London, with each room packed with objects related to the many cases of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

The museum is open from 9 am until 6 pm every day of the year (except Christmas Day).

To get to the museum, the nearest London Underground station is Baker Street – it is on the Bakerloo Line, Circle Line. Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line and Jubilee Line.

Brunel Museum

An affordable day out can be had at London’s Brunel Museum. Opened in 1961, the museum was initially called the Brunel Engine House but underwent a name change in 2006.

The museum is housed in the former Brunel engine house on Railway Avenue and was a vital part of the landmark Thames Tunnel project.

Designed by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and his son, the engine house was home to a number of steam-powered pumps that removed water from the Thames Tunnel during its construction and its day-to-day operation.

Perfect for a rainy day, the museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. A bonus is that children aged under 16 are entitled to free entry.

Visitors can learn all about the Thames Tunnel and the problems addressed during its design and construction.

The tunnel, which connects the districts of Rotherhithe and Wapping, is more than 1,300 ft in length and is located around 75 ft below the river bed. Part of the tunnel is actually still in use today as part of the London rail network.

The museum also looks at other projects undertaken by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father as well as explaining the long-term impact on British engineering history.

Anyone visiting the museum is also entitled to entry to SS Great Eastern – a steam-powered iron sailing ship that was Brunel’s final creation.

The Brunel Musuem is in the London Borough of Southwark and benefits from strong transport links.

For those travelling via the London Underground, the nearest stations are Bermondsey and Canada Water (both on the Jubilee line), while overground rail services stop at the nearby stations of Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays.

There are also plenty of connecting local bus services available, with nearby stops located on Rotherhithe Street, Salter Road and Lower Road. This includes the 381, C10, N381, 47, 188, N47 and P12.

Drivers will find limited parking places close to the museum because of its central London location, however, the nearest car parks include Hawkstone Gate Car Park, Butlers Wharf Car Warehouse Car Park and Tobacco Dock Car Park.

Aim for a strike

If the weather is less than favourable then it could be a great time to enjoy a game of tenpin bowling.

The game has been popular in the UK since the 1960s and the capital’s alleys offer a lot more than a simple game.

One of the best bowling venues in the capital can be round in Bayswater. The All Star Lanes bowling alley and restaurant can be found on Porchester Gardens off Queensway, next to the entrance of Whiteleys shopping centre and close to Bayswater London Underground station.

There are a total of six lanes on offer – with up to seven people allowed to play per lane. Games can only be booked in advance, and during very busy hours the lanes are reserved for those dining in the restaurant because of the strong demand.

All Star Lanes Bayswater is unique in the area as it combines the traditional tenpin bowling alley with an upmarket American-style diner, as well as the chance to enjoy a few cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Tenpin bowling is a relatively straightforward sport, with each game divided into ten rounds, which are called frames. Within each frame, a player is given two chances to knock down all of the pins.

The number of pins knocked down is added up each time. If a player manages to knock down all ten with their first ball, this is called a strike and bonus points are awarded.

Getting good at bowling takes a lot of practice but there are a number of tips that could be useful for the complete beginner.

After a fun bowl, then the experience can be completed with a meal in the diner-themed restaurant. The dishes on the menu are largely American cuisine. This includes all the traditional burgers with the trimmings, as well as classics such as buttermilk chicken and BBQ glazed ribs.

There is also a wide range of milkshakes and soft drinks to pick from. Families will also be pleased to see the child-friendly menu, with fish fingers and pasta making an appearance.

All Star Lanes has also opened a number of other venues across London – in Bloomsbury, Brick Lane and Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre.

Madame Tussauds

There are few attractions more famous than the legendary Madame Tussauds. One of the most popular venues in the capital, the waxwork museum often has a queue of visitors – so it pays to get there early, especially on rainy days.

Visitors can see a collection of waxworks of figures famous in many different ways – politics, art, music, history, sport and even comic book stars.

Perhaps the most famous are the Hollywood stars with A-lister waxworks including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. There are also a number of royals represented in the form of Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Diana Princess of Wales.

Madame Tussauds is close to a number of transport links. If travelling by London Underground then the closest option is Baker Street, a mere five-minute walk away and with excellent access to the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines.

For those who prefer mainland rail stations then London Marylebone is around ten minutes’ walk away.

Tickets can be long, but if you wish to skip the queues then it could be worth splashing out on a special VIP ticket. The ticket can be purchased in advance online and buyers are able to enter the venue via a special fast-track entrance.  The tickets also include entry to the special 4D Marvels exhibition and the Star Wars experience.