Explore London

Three Perfect Rainy Day Activities

With a period of unsettled weather forecast for the UK over the next thirty days, it seems we’re all going to need a range of activities to choose from – come rain or shine! Today’s focus is on staying entertained during drizzly weather; and, fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in London when it rains - particularly following the recent government announcement that theatres and other indoor performance venues can slowly start to re-open. Hurray!

Please note that, at the time of writing, all information contained within this blog is correct. However, due to the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, things can change quickly – so it’s always advised to check with the venue or operator before visiting. Thank you for your understanding!

Thames Cruise
Photo Credit: Flickr/Henry Burrows

See London from a New Perspective: Boat or Bus!

A cruise along the River Thames is one of the most exciting and unique ways to see a variety of London landmarks – and, as an added bonus, many of the boats have sheltered indoor areas, which means you can tick off lots of iconic sights without getting wet (or leaving your seat!). What you’ll see depends which tour you choose, but many routes will take you past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and even the London Eye (depending where you start or finish).

Another great – and slightly unusual – way to see the sights of London is to go on a bus tour. Many tours are held via the capital’s famous red double-decker buses, ensuring that you get into the spirit the moment you jump aboard! Once on the bus, you can relax in comfort, soaking up the city’s culture, history and special atmosphere, and learning secret facts and fascinating London tidbits from the operator’s experienced guides. If you don’t want to be tied to a nonstop tour, you can choose a ‘hop on, hop off’ option, which allows you to disembark and rejoin along the route according to your preference.

Thames Cruise

Head Straight to the Top

The London skyline is famous for lots of reasons – and there’s no better way to enjoy it than from a tall vantage point. Whilst many of the best scenery-gazing spots can be found outside (check out our recent blog ‘Perfect Picnic Spots in London’ for some handy hints), there are some great indoor spaces with panoramic views, too.

For unsurpassable views, you can’t beat The Shard: a monumental feat of architecture with an interesting history (did you know that architect Renzo Piano sketched out his initial plan for The Shard on a napkin whilst dining in a restaurant?!). You’ll need to purchase a ticket in advance to attend; then, when it’s time for your visit, you’ll whizz up 68 floors at a whopping rate of 6 metres per second, reaching the top in less than a minute. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll gaze out at 360-degree panoramic views spanning 40 miles from 800 ft above the city. Phew!

If you’d like to take in the sights whilst sipping a chilled glass of wine or tucking into a tasty meal, however, we’ve got you covered. For contemporary British grub, look no further than the Oxo Tower Restaurant, which can be found on the eight floor of the Tower: a modern setting with impeccable views and classic food, located conveniently on the South Bank. Or, for something a little edgier, head to Aviary, a trendy rooftop bar and restaurant in Finsbury Square. Aviary’s varied menu offers everything from Szechuan crusted tuna and burgers to delightful bar snacks like chorizo and sweetcorn croquettes. Food and a view – yum!

Thames Cruise
Photo Credit: Flickr/Kandukuru Nagarjun

Enjoy an Indoor Performance

As of August 15th, socially distanced indoor performances have been given permission to resume in London – which is great news! Indoor performance pilots, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s socially-distanced new show, which was performed by Beverly Knight at the London Palladium in July, have been successful – which means that many venues are now planning to re-open their doors.

More shows are being announced all the time, but right now theatre fans can look ahead to: the world premiere of Sleepless: A Musical Romance - a new musical based on the hit film Sleepless in Seattle - at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre; a socially-distanced autumn season at the Bridge Theatre, which will incorporate 12 one-person plays; and the re-opening of the enduringly popular West End show The Mousetrap.