Fun Activities for a Rainy Day in London
Looking for things to do when it’s raining in London? From crazy golf to vintage bowling, social darts, board game cafes and the famous Kensington Museum triple here are the best fun things to do in the capital when the skies open up…
Photo: Sixes cicket
1 Play Monopoly Lifesized, Tottenham Court Road
Who doesn't love a game of Monopoly? There are four jumbo-sized iterations of the game to try these holidays that all add something new to the much-loved board game. Make your way around the board in teams of 4-6 as you take on dance-offs, stealth-based challenges and solve riddles and puzzles as well, as you battle it out to rule over London. Suitable for ages 9 and older. Closed Mondays.
Address: 213-215 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PS
2 Sixes Cricket Club, Fulham & Fitzrovia
Live your test match dream at Sixes, an indoor cricket simulator with venues in Fulham and Fitzrovia. Test your batting skills with standard batting nets, or there’s virtual reality cricket and UV cricket too where your bat and ball (and cocktails) glow in the dark under special lights. Book a 30 minute, 60 minute or 90 minutes session, depending on how large your group is, and try a cocktail or two and tuck into a British BBQ themed menu for fuel.
Address: 170 Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 5QB
3 Go Virtual Clay Shooting at Clays, Moorgate
Guns and booze almost never work well together, however, at Clays, a virtual clay shooting venue and and bar, they kind of do. The venue spans across two floors and features12 booths which can be booked by groups of up to 20 people for a 90-minute session, and is suitable for pros and novices. The game has been developed using state of the art technology that tracks the gun’s movements with sub-millimetre accuracy, so if you miss, you only have yourself to blame. There’s also a bar serving food and a selection of smashing cocktails that can only improve your aim, right?
Address: 55 Moorgate, City EC2R 6LL
4 Electric Shuffle, London Bridge & Canary Wharf
Electric Shuffle arrived in London Bridge in 2021 August, bringing the fast-paced game to Bermondsey Street. Shuffleboards have been enhanced by vision technology, so it’s not your traditional game. Book a game, try the brunch menu (Thursday to Sunday) or catch a comedian, DJ or band. Shuffleboard sessions tend to book out, so book in advance and early, although you can try your luck with a walk-in. There’s also a sister location in Canary Wharf and semi-private shuffleboard playing areas.
Address: 10 Bermondsey St, SE1 2ER; 6 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ; 10 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, E14 4EY
5 Gravity Southside Indoor Entertainment Centre, Wandsworth
Set over three floors, this newly opened indoor entertainment centre is rammed-packed with fun things to do – whatever the weather is doing. There’s a go-kart race track, a 14-lane bowling alley with augmented reality, a golf course that sees you putt against iconic New York sights, and an e-sports gaming arena which has the best games on the latest consoles. If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, there’s shuffleboard, a digital darts zone, old school arcade games and something called the electric gamebox as well which is a ‘hyper-immersive 60-minute adventure’ which will remain a mystery until you actually try it out.
Address: Wandsworth High St, SW18 4TF
6 Trampolining, various locations
Flip Out at East Ham, Brent Cross, Croydon, Wandsworth
More than just trampoline parks, Flip Out centres are hives of indoor activity for people of all age ranges who like to do more than just bounce. As well as rows of inter-locking trampolines, the three-storey arena also features a giant super-slide with an almost vertical 30ft drop, a network of indoor caves, a 100-metre indoor potholing zone, 12 themed climbing walls, plus a laser maze, cyber tower, ninja warrior course and dodgeball. Flip Out centres also have sessions for people with additional needs, over 18 parties, and tiny tots sessions as well as a host of deals and packages for families.
Address: The old Gala Bingo Hall, 281 Barking Road E6 1LB; Centrale Shopping Centre, Frith Road, CR0 1TA; Staples Corner Retail Park
Geron Way NW2 6LW; Bendon Valley, Earlsfield SW18 4LZ
Oxygen Freejumping at Acton, Croydon, Greenwich
If you like trampolines, then check out Oxygen Freejumping in Acton, too, which has 150 interconnected trampolines, a mega airbag to practice your moves, a super squishy foam pit to leap into, ninja warrior course, volleyball and dodgeball courts, plus Little O toddler trampolining sessions with adult supervision.
Address: 15 Vision Industrial Park, Kendal Avenue W3 0A; The Colonnades Purley Way, Croydon CR0 4RQ; The O2, Greenwich SE10 0DX
7 Indoor Crazy Golf, various locations
Swingers, West End, City
Swingers is a triple threat, with street food, amazing drinks and competitive socialising, and the vibe is 1920s country golf club. It has two venues: on in the West End, near Oxford Circus and the other in the city, near Bank. The original 16,000 sq ft venue in the city has two bespoke nine-hole crazy golf courses, five cocktail bars, three street-food vendors, a two-storey clubhouse with gin terrace and nightly DJs.
Address: 15 John Prince’s Street W1G OAB; 8 Brown’s Buildings EC3A 8AL
Junkyard Golf Club, Shoreditch
Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch has a more east London vibe, with four crazy golf courses so you can putt your way through all sorts of bizarre holes – think UV garage, scrapyard slides, circus freaks and jungle bathtubs. You can also grab a snack from the main bunker bar, from hotdogs to salted caramel popcorn, as well as novelty cocktails like the Jaffa The Putt and Tropic Like It’s Hot.
Address: 88 Worship Street, Shoreditch EC2A 2BE
Plonk, Borough Market, Camden, Hackney
Check out Plonk, too, which has three locations around London – but not all of them are undercover. For rainy days, head to either the Camden Market outpost or the one at Borough Market, which has been styled out in floor to ceiling street art in the arches underneath London Bridge. There’s also a Plonk in London Fields but it's outdoors. And watch out for the Plonk popping up in Shoreditch soon.
Address: Arches B, C, D & E, Montague Close SE1 9DA; Unit 63 The Stables Market, 842 Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AH; Arch 407 Mentmore Terrace E8 3PP
Birdies at Battersea, Stratford, Angel
Battersea crazy golf centre Birdies latest location opens in Angel this July (Jul 15), bringing with it tried and tested fan favourite holes Hazard, Kinetic, Steps, Infinity and Roulette. There's also another course in Stratford's adult playground, Roof East, but as the name suggests, this one is outdoors and in the fresh air.
Address: 6 Arches Lane Battersea SW8 4NR; 7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Road E15 1XE; Level 1, Angel Central, 31-32 Parkfield Street, N1 0PZ
8 Social Board-Gaming
London on Board, various locations
Get your mates together and nerd out over some quality board games. Many of London’s best pubs have a good selection of boards, but up your gaming at London on Board, a friendly social board game club for anyone – novices and veterans – aged 18 and over. The group gets together almost every day of the week and meet-ups are free to attend; bring your favourite game, or learn one that someone else has brought along. All meet-ups are scheduled online and you can RSVP on the group website (locations vary).
Draughts Board Game Cafe, Dalston & Waterloo
Then there’s London’s first ever board game bar, Draughts Board Game Cafe in Dalston and Waterloo. Crowdfunded into life, the cafe has a huge library of over 800 board games. For £10 each, you and your friends can spend the night playing your favourite board games, from Hungry Hippos to Cards Against Humanity. There are also tournaments, themed evenings and workshops led by professional board game designers, as well as high quality food, snacks and a range of local craft beers, ales, ciders, and wines.
Address: 41 Kingsland High Street, E8 2JS; 16 Leake Street SE1 7NN
9 Skateboard at House of Vans
The House of Vans, a free community space below the arches of Waterloo station, is dedicated to Vans and the skate culture it embraces. It hosts free learn-to-skate sessions for all ages every weekend with pads, boards, helmets and a locker provided. There’s also a cinema room that puts on free screenings across a wide spectrum of genres, from family friendly to box office blockbusters and foreign language films, exhibition space and cafe serving up all-American classics.
Address: Arches 228-232, Station Approach Road, Waterloo SE1
10 Do the South Kensington Museum Triple
Take cover from the harsh elements in one of Kensington’s many world-class, free-entry museums. All are located near Exhibition and Cromwell Road, so it’s easy to spend the day exploring the lot of them. Visit the dinosaurs or investigate the Earth’s birth and ecology at the Natural History Museum, appreciate some of London’s most historic art and design artefacts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, or delve into the genius of technology at the Science Museum.
Address: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington SW72DD
11 Electric Cinema, Portabello &White City
Relaxing at the cinema is an age-old outing, and there is obviously no shortage of venues in the city. The Electric Cinema, however, on Portobello Road and in White City is a cut above – taking the notion of comfort and amplifying it to the extreme. Not only does this cinema provide a selection of luxury leather armchair and footstool combos for general seating and a spread of couches in the rear, but one can also find six double beds stationed in the front row – that’s right, beds.
Address: 191 Portobello Road W11 2ED; 2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR
12 Fuller’s Brewery Tour, Chiswick
Take your pub trip one step further and tour Fuller’s Brewery, which brews award-winning beers including London Pride, ESB, Chiswick Bitter, London Porter, Bengal Lancer, Honey Dew and 1845, plus bottled beers like the brewery’s Brewer’s Reserve and Vintage Ale ranges. You can just have a mosey around, or you can upgrade the experience to a tasting tour – why not?
Address: Chiswick Lane South, Chiswick W4 2QB
13 Try The Troubadour, Ealing
This raffish café was conceived in the 1950s and has hosted musical gigs for talents including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Jimi Hendrix. Monday is comedy night, Tuesday is Jimi Hendrix night and there’s plenty more going on from songwriting circles to jazz and live DJs. The bistro-style food is delicious – The Troubadour was even recognised as Les Routiers’ Café of the Year 2014. It’s quite a popular joint so it may require a little advanced booking, but the experience should be well worth it.
Address: 263-267 Old Brompton Road SW5 9JA
14 Ballie Ballerson, Shoreditch
Split over two floors, Ballie Ballerson in Shoreditch boasts an impressive ball pit with over 200,000 plastic balls as well as foam toys, rubber rings and a DJ playing funk, bass and techno tunes. Play fight with your mates in a giant ball pit with light, art and balls to produce mind-bending visuals, before heading upstairs to the graffiti-clad bar and dining space for pizza, fries, craft beers and nostalgic cocktails like the Skittle Sour and Hubba Hubba Bubba. On a weekend, check out their bottomless brunch deal.
Address: 97-113 Curtain Road, Shoreditch EC2A 3BS
15 Indoor Bowling, Various locations
On oldie but a goodie, a trip to the bowling alley never fails to while away a couple of rainy hours. Here's London's best.
Also try Bloomsbury Bowl for karaoke rooms and Ray's Pizza Diner, Hollywood Bowl at the O2 Arena Greenwich (which also has an arcade and some new virtual reality experiences), Surrey Quays, Finchley and Tolworth. All Star Lanes is in Brick Lane, Holborn and both Westfield centres. And if you like to keep things cheap and cheerful, check out Palace Superbowl in Orpington or Lewisham Lanes.
The Croc, West End
Stylish bowlers should head for The Ham Yard Hotel near Piccadilly Circus, which has a spectacular basement bowling alley called The Croc. The original 1950s bowling alley has monochrome bowling ball returns with original features such as hand warmers and visible return runs, solid maple bowling lanes, vintage bowling shoes and bowling pin lamps.
Address: Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
If you’re looking for an all-in-one entertainment venue, QUEENS in Bayswater offers 50,000 square feet of ice skating and bowling. There are two cafes, too, with food provided by the delicious denizens of street food, MEATLiquor, plus an awesome retro video arcade.
Address: 17 Queensway, Bayswater W2 4QP
Rowans, Finsbury Park
If bowling and pool is more your style, American-style alley with retro vibes Rowans might be the place to go if you’re in Finsbury Park and it start raining ropes. Good for families as well as bunches of friends, there’s also karaoke, and the option to boogie your socks off on a Friday and Saturday night.
Address: 10 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 2DF
16 Play Darts at Flight Club at Bloomsbury Islington Shoreditch, & Victoria
Darts has been given the a Millennial makeover at Flight Club, a social darts hangout with venues in Shoreditch, Bloomsbury, Victoria and Islington. The venues are cool, there are cocktails and craft beers, as well as sharing plates, pizza paddles, burgers and salads. Oh yes, and darts, with fast-paced multiplayer games, dart-tracking technology, instant scoring (no maths, phew!) and multiple throw lines to level the playing field. There’s weekend brunch packages with bottomless pizza and prosecco, too.
Address: 55 New Oxford Street WC1A 1BS; 56 Upper Street N1 0NY; 2a Worship Street EC2A 2AH; 6 Sir Simon Milton Square SW1E 5DJ
17 Explore Everything at the Royal Museums Greenwich
Whether you’re just a big kid or an actual child, the Royal Museums, in particular the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, have plenty to occupy curious minds with should the sky open up (and even if they don’t). Discover epic voyages of the past, uncover stories about female pirates and track currents and winds using live data. You can also star gaze in the planetarium while watching one of the galactically brilliant shows that are regularly put on.
Address: Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF
18 Enjoy the Butterfly House at the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill
It’s always sunny at the Horniman Museum and Gardens Butterfly House, a specially planted tropical indoor garden where you can immerse yourself in hundreds of free-flying butterflies. See species from around the world, look out for rare butterflies like the Horniman’s Swallowtail, and watch them hatch out in the puparium as you learn about the life-cycle and behaviour of these beautiful creatures. Once done, go have a look at the museum's Animal Walk, Aquarium, and Nature Base with their alpacas, jellyfish, bees and other wonderous animals to look at.
Address: 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ