I can’t believe it was only a month ago that I wrote A Sandpit Special. Back then, I was freshly Mat-leaved, the sun was shining and I was optimistic that this baby was going to be with us really soon. Now, it’s been torrentially raining for weeks, I can’t remember the last time we visited a park….and still no baby. Spring sprang and then it sprang away again, it seems. But no-one can sit around watching Tree Fu Tom on iPlayer all day long so Roo and I have ventured out every day in our wellies and waterproofs (Roo only). We have got very wet and occasionally miserable but it’s better than climbing the walls at home. In the same spirit, I’m going to stop moping about the weather, check out my google search terms (e.g. “what to do with a toddler in the rain in London”) and compile a roundup for you of the Best Rainy Day Places in London. Fact.*
This might be very specific to us because it’s nearby and is often an emergency back-up when the neighbouring one o’clock club is shut. But they serve coffee and have big aeroplanes to look at, so I’ve found you can kill many a rainy afternoon there.
Not at all local to us but easy to get to by public transport (important to avoid long walks in the rain) and full of things to divert a small child. Beware – everyone else in East London may have the same idea as you, including several school trips. The indoor sandpit can get vicious at times.
In my opinion, rainy day places should be free. It’s in the nature of them that you wanna just dash in when the clouds turn a bit threatening. But if you have already paid your £13.50 and therefore have unlimited access for year, it’s as if it is free. Many a dull day has been redeemed by a drive on the buses here.
I have been to the Royal Festival Hall in the rain more times than I can count. In fact, whenever I hear the words “Royal Festival Hall” I’m instantly reminded of the sound and feel of wet denim on shiny floor. I went there just yesterday with wet shoes and a wetter toddler. I attempted to go there on Friday but was denied access due to Barclays’ AGM (there were protesters outside, who were presumably fellow mothers) and had to go to its child-unfriendly sister the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Not the same at all! But every other day of the year, it’s a warm, inviting, comfortable place to dry off and wait for all this rain to blow over.
Where better to go on a rainy day than London’s most exciting museum? There is so much to do there that you won’t even be able to fit it all into one rainy day. It’s easy to get to and there are rarely long queues. I like to keep it as a treat for Roo so we don’t go too often, but it would definitely be my rainy day venue of choice.
Honourable mentions to The National Army Museum, Museum of London and The Horniman Museum. All worthy rainy-day places but each in their way a little random for us to get to, and what’s the point of a rainy day place if you get soaked on the way? Let’s ignore for now the 20 minute walk home from Royal Festival Hall, where my dried-out shoes get resaturated. I never said this was objective, OK? Or in any way rational….
*By this, you can read “opinion”