What to do on a rainy day in #London

“I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining” Groucho Marx

Oh me Oh my!!! here you are with just 3 days in London and it’s raining!!!!

Now what?  You can’t go watch the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, no point taking the Hop-on Hop-off bus,

Hop on Hop off bus tours
Hop on Hop off Bus Tours

 unless you enjoy sitting in a downpour and getting soaked!  Can’t stand in the queue at The London Eye (for the same reason) and the sheltered area around Big Ben will be jam packed with other tourists determined to catch a glimpse!   What can you do when its raining in London?  

Well lots really!  There are a multitude of museums, most of which are FREE to visit! For example:
The British Museum (Russell Square – Piccadilly Line)

The British Museum on a sunny day
The British Museum on a sunny day

Natural History Museum (South Kensington – District & Circle Lines)
The Science Museum ( same as natural History Museum)
amongst many others.
Then there are the paid attractions you could visit:
Madame Tussauds (Baker Street – Bakerloo and Jubilee Lines)
The London Dungeon (London Bridge – Northern Line)
The Tower of London (although a lot of this is also outdoors (Tower Hill – District & Circle Lines)

You could also enquire about bookings for the Theatres in the West End, many have last minute special offers.

Garrick Theatre near Leicester Square
Garrick Theatre near Leicester Square

Other places of interest you could visit for free:

Covent Gardens

The Museum of London:  With 350 years of history, their mission is to inspire a passion for London and documents the history of London from Roman times to the present.

The Bank of England Museum: a hidden treasure down a side-road, off the Bank of England. The absolute highlight – the opportunity to lift a genuine gold bar!

St Paul’s Cathedral: enter for free –
St. Dunstan’s Chapel:
Head up the main steps, and enter on the left-hand side. Inside you’ll find the queue to buy tickets but keep to the left and you can enter St. Dunstan’s Chapel for free at any time. This is open for prayers all day but is well-frequented by visitors too.
The Crypt Area:
The Churchill screen/gates divide the refectory and the crypt so can be seen for free when visiting the cafe/shop/toilets.
Attend a Service:  There are services every day in the Cathedral and all are welcome to attend.

Gresham College:  an educational institution of higher learning, has no students and does not teach courses but exists to provide free public lectures. The free public lectures have been running for over 400 years.

Free Lunchtime Recitals at St. Olave’s:  St Olave’s Church is a small medieval church. St. Olave’s is a peaceful place to listen to music, with a lively lunchtime recital series.  Samuel Pepys, London’s 17th century diarist, and his wife Elizabeth are buried here.

The London Stone: Although it’s age and original purpose are not known, this fragment of a 3,000 year old piece of limestone was for years considered to be the symbolic heart of London, although it has been suggested that it was the point from which the Romans measured all distances in Britannia.

Guildhall Art Gallery: Located in the historic heart of the City next to the medieval Guildhall.  The Gallery was established in 1885 to house and display paintings and sculpture belonging to the Corporation of London. The present building was opened to the public in 1999 and admission to the Gallery is free on Fridays and after 3.30pm on other days. There are free Friday tours of the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Roman Amphitheatre showing highlights of the Gallery’s permanent collection. The tours take place every Friday at 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm. Booking is not needed.

Roman London’s Amphitheatre:  Beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery and discovered in 1998, the site is now a protected monument.
London’s first Roman amphitheatre was built in AD70 from wood then renovated in the early 2nd century with tiled entrances and ragstone walls.  The amphitheatre was used for entertaining soldiers and the public with animal fighting and public execution of criminals, as well as religious activities.  After the Roman’s left in the 4th C the amphitheatre lay derelict for hundreds of years. In the 11th C the area was reoccupied and by the 12th C the first Guildhall was built next to it.

Whitefriars Crypt:  The crypt, which stood beneath the lodgings of the mediaeval priory in the City of London, unearthed during building works in 1895, is thought to date from the late 14th C, constitutes the only visible remains of a mediaeval priory that belonged to a Carmelite order known as the White Friars. The site was first home to a religious institution in 1253.  At its height, the priory stretched from Fleet Street to the Thames, bounded by the Temple in the west and Water Lane (now Whitefriars Street) in the east. The ground contained a church, cloisters, garden and cemetery.   Although there is no direct public access to it, it is possible to view the crypt from the outside of the building in it’s present location.  Nearest Tube Stations: Temple & Blackfriars.

The Clockmakers’ Company:  Established by Royal Charter granted by King Charles 1 in 1631, ranks 61st in the order of precedence of the 108 City of London Livery Companies. The oldest surviving horological institution in the world,  it’s motto is “Tempus Rerum Imperator” Latin for “Time is the Commander of (all) things”. 

The Clockmakers’ Museum: Situated within the Guildhall Library in the City of London, is the oldest, and is considered by many to be one of the finest collections of clocks, watches and sundials in the world.

10 thoughts on “What to do on a rainy day in #London”

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