8 things to do with kids on a rainy day in London
Mumsnetters' advice on how to have a great family day out in the capital - without getting wet
1. Walk with dinosaurs and have a sleepover
National History Museum SW7 5BDNearest tube: South Kensington
Suitable for: ages 2+ (sleepovers 7+)
"I've been to the NHM many times over my 30+ years and I still learn something each time I visit. The whole place is geared up for families. Get there early (just before opening time) and do the dinosaurs straight away, then make use of the picnic area in the basement for toilets and an early lunch, before heading next door to the Investigate area while it's still quiet."
"We recently booked one of the nights at the NHM. It isn't cheap (not far off what you might pay for a hotel in that part of London) but for me, the whole kid experience makes it worth the money."
2. Enjoy some hands-on science experiments
Science Museum SW7 2DDNearest tube: South Kensington
Suitable for: ages 2+
"Five floors of exhibits with something for everyone, and even during the school holidays you can still find quiet bits. I also have to commend them on their excellent food outlets serving a wide variety of really nice food - AND two indoor picnic areas."
3. Brush up on your naval history, and explore the night sky
Suitable for: ages 2+
"I love Greenwich. The Royal Observatory is great. The National Maritime Museum is free to get in and has what they call a 'hands on' gallery. My older two love it there; loads of things they can have a go at."
4. Drive a train and repair a tube
London Transport Museum WC2E 7BBNearest tubes: Covent Garden or Leicester Square
Suitable for: ages 2+ (excellent soft play) / train simulator 7+
"Excellent and very kid-friendly. Yes, it's expensive [for adults], but your ticket will last you the year, so if you go a few times it's very good value. We took our two-and-a-half-year-old at the weekend and he had a great time running around, driving buses etc. There's lots to do and see, and it's very interactive."
5. Admire the jewels and scare the DC
Tower of London EC3N 4ABNearest tube: Tower Hill
Suitable for: ages 6+
"Go to the tower as soon as it opens and lookout for 2-for-1 vouchers. I'd recommend seeing the Crown Jewels as early as possible as the queue for them got longer as the day went on."
"My son (16) particularly enjoyed the White Tower with the exhibition of arms and armoury - including some of Henry VIII's armour. If you're travelling with young or sensitive children, though, avoid the torture exhibition in one of the towers; it's not really suitable for little ones."
6. Southbank - because you simply must
"There's always loads going on here, and lots of it is free. Check online at Southbank Centre; they do lots of bookable children's shows/productions. Around that area you've also got the London Eye, a massive children's play area with big wooden climbing frame, the Dungeons and the Sealife Centre. Not many shops, but loads of restaurants, including Giraffe."
7. Wander open-eyed around Harrods' toy department
"Harrods went down so much better than Hamleys. It's an exciting treat; beautifully set out and with amazing, outrageously expensive things."
8. Enjoy the great outdoors, indoors
Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BYNearest tube: Monument
Suitable for: all ages
"Indoor gardens with a spectacular 360-degree view of London. The garden itself is not large but there are three levels and, this being a glass building, it is worth a visit just for the view. You do need to book tickets, but it is free. Everyone will love it."
Don't feel you have to actually *do* much at all; riding the tube and escalators in the big city is an adventure in itself for many kids - just try to avoid rush hour.
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Last updated: about 2 years ago