Your Rainy Day London Guide
Don’t let a little rain turn your amazing English vacation into a bloody nightmare. With an average rainfall of 156 days a year, you might be out of luck without a brolly to keep you dry. Ok, enough with the cheeky puns. Even if you think your day is hampered by rain, there are so many sites, activities, and places to go when you don’t want to get wet, it just depends on what you’re in the mood for!
Shop ‘til you Drop
Westfield – At this giant indoor mall, you get the best of everything. A variety of stores and boutiques lines the expansive walkways. If you’re in the mood for food, they’ve got that too! Top off your day with a session at the gym (just kidding), or a short walk to the cinema. There are two Westfields located in London for added convenience.
Covent Garden – This indoor plaza is perfect for a unique gift to take home, so you’re not stuck with mugs featuring the queen’s face (not that those wouldn’t be some great souvenirs). At this sprawling architectural masterpiece, you’ll find handmade goods ranging from jewelry to socks. Scope out the many stores to find vintage goods and fun items from around the globe.
Harrods – This iconic department store has so many sections you could get lost for hours. Don’t worry though; with a full restaurant, deli, a fresh bakery, and of course, a tea store, you won’t go hungry or disappointed. While you’re nibbling on fresh produce from The Vegetable Butchery grab some wine from vineyards across Europe. After your fill, check out the jewelry displays with millions in fine diamonds, crystals, and other precious gems. The kids will love the children’s department complete with games, toys, and clothes.
Hamley’s – Speaking of kids, take yours to this GIGANTIC toy store for an epic experience they won’t forget (I know I didn’t). The oldest and largest toy store in the world, you’ll find everything a kid could dream of over seven floors of fun. Stroll through different floors hosting interactive experiences where your kids (or you) can play with trucks, test out balls, and even channel their inner Gryffindor on the Harry Potter floor.
See the Sights
Victoria & Albert Museum – In her last public engagement Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1899, starting what is now a magnificent museum full of history, priceless art, and cultural icons from as early as the 1500s. Feast your eyes upon the seven Raphael Cartoons as original designs for the Sistine Chapel in 1515. The fashion galleries house numerous court dressings sure to dazzle any Renaissance man or woman. Don’t miss any of the amazing museums scattered around London with enough artifacts to fill several days!
Westminster – Home to the Famous Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, you’ll hear this attraction long before you see with hourly chimes. Tour the opulent Westminster Abbey and see where every coronation since 1066 has taken place. Walk the steps of kings and queens of yore and see where Queen Elizabeth sits for royal events and weddings. See the graves of over 3,000 notable British figures in the Abbey including Jane Austen, Isaac Newton, and the Bronte sisters.
Thames River Cruise – See all the famous sites without getting wet! Numerous companies sail along the Thames to different popular stops. You can find everything from an afternoon tea cruise to dinner to jazz and really experience London’s finest gourmet dining with a view. Float by the Tower Bridge, London Bridge, London Eye, Westminster Abbey and more while listening to great commentary about the history and uses of these landmarks. No cruise is complete without a glass of bubbly.
High Tea – This ain’t your granny’s high tea, so whatever your tastes and interests are there’s something for you. If you’re near the Science Museum, take a fancy to the science afternoon tea at The Ampersand Hotel complete with dinosaur shaped desserts and planet mousse with clouds of dry ice. Your inner science geek will love it.
Want a better view? Reserve a spot at the popular B Bakery for afternoon tea in a double decker with gourmet finger sandwiches, cupcakes, and beverages. You’ll also get some interesting facts as London passes you by. If you’ve got dietary needs (kosher, halal, vegan, nut-free), you’re in luck; most tea halls can accommodate a wide variety, so you can enjoy tea too.
Day Spa – Mere feet from large attractions like Piccadilly Circus and The London Eye are fabulous day spas that whisk you away from the hustle for rejuvenating and relaxing services. A variety of spas offer plenty of services ranging from regular massages to bizarre treatments like a face bootcamp. Pick your poison and let the “aaah” begin.
Orient Express – Travel in opulent style aboard this train that takes you to cities around the country in flair. The locomotive is styled after 1920s luxury with magnificent colorful fabrics and white glove service. Ride through lush greenery on your way to quaint towns like Canterbury, Folkestone, and Bath, or book a spot for a special event like Mother’s Day brunch and murder mystery lunch.
By: Devyn Woolsey
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