When it rains in London, the parks don’t do you much good. Of course there are cafes in the bigger ones – but in general, you’re trapped until it stops raining.
And this is England. Once it starts, it never seems to stop. Much like a hormonal woman watching Titanic (or, if you’re me, Toy Story 3. I know, I know.)
But there are other things on other. Museums. Cafes. Restaurants. So whilst I’m trapped inside by the rain and overtime at work, here’s a run down of my favourite things to do when the heavens open – which, lets face it, is most of the time when it gets to September. (Also since I did a run down of things to do in the sun, it seemed appropriate.)
1. Natural History Museum
There’s always fun exhibits on. You can wander around most of it for free, but there’s a charge for some of the more interesting areas. I don’t think there’s much open now – but soon enough there’ll be the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, and in February there’s Britain: One Million Years Of The Human Story. Am actually quite excited for that one!
An ice rink also opens come 31st October and they usually do a Night at the Museum, where they show you artefacts they have that are surrounded by folk lore. They even have a cursed jewel, said to have left all it’s owners dead in it’s wake…spooky!
2. Pubs. Millions of Pubs.
This was on my sunny list, but there’s nothing nicer than sitting inside a cosy pub, with a fire or at the very least central heating, with a pint (or a glass of wine if you have to get all sophisticated on me) and a friend. When it gets closer to Christmas they break out the mulled wine and cider too, and even in winter a lot of the pub gardens have blankets, shelters and heaters for you to snuggle under.
One of my favourites is The Coach And Horses on Barnes High Street. They have a huge garden, blankets freely available and heaters you control yourself. It’s kind of refreshing to be sitting outside, watching it pelting down around you but not getting wet yourself. There’s often deals on the food too – we got 2 courses and a bottle of wine for £20. The staff were friendly; even though you needed a form for it they allowed us to fill one in there and then.
Another one is The King’s Head, Roehampton. You may know these are both Young’s pubs, but even though they are a part of that group they’re all so different that to be honest – you’d never notice. The King’s Head has been refurbished recently – its warm, the food is gourmet (if pricey) and the staff are really friendly. We went there as a group for dinner and drinks at Christmas, and they bent over backwards to make us welcome. We’re hoping to go again this year!
To be honest, many of the nicer pubs are further out. In Central London they are either ludicrously expensive or small and dingy, but that could just be lack of exploration on my part. There are some lovely little ones in Chelsea or Kensington. The two above just happen to be my favourite for rainy days!
3. Camden Market
Most markets are free to the open air and generally quite miserable in the rain, but Camden is different. Most of it is undercover, and you can shelter whilst looking at the odd little knick knacks found throughout. There’s the book store full of old copies of classics; a store hung all over with gas masks (I kid you not); a shop guarded by a giant robot statue and that essentially houses an all day rave. Then of course there’s the food stalls.
You can get a good container of tasty curry there for £4. It was just the right size to quench my hunger I was pleased to say, and cheaper than what you’d get practically anywhere else. If curry isn’t your deal, there’s Thai, Chinese, Burgers, Pizza, you name it – it’s there. You can also puff away on shisha at the Moroccan cafes dotted about, or investigate the Stables Market. Horses were once housed there and there are now some impressive statues to commemorate that.
4. Book Shops.
Brick Lane Book Shop being my current favourite, although there’s another in Balham (unfortunately I don’t know the name) but I plan to investigate it very soon. It’s dark and smells of old paper, perfect for hiding. My favourite kind. I love the old places, the different places, the independent places. Waterstones and WH Smith are great – but you find the real treasures in the old, forgotten stores or the charity shops. I can happily spend hours hiding away in London book shops (although after reading on someone’s blog they went into a book shop only to find it was a front for a somewhat dodgier kind of deal, I’m a bit more careful before stepping inside…)
London is brimming with coffee shops. And I’m not talking about your Costas and Starbucks and Prets. There’s a whole world of cafes to explore – I even have a book full of them.
Proof. There’s me, and I have the book. Can’t say better than that.
I’m now on a coffee trail throughout London. I’m thinking every 2 weeks, or maybe once a month if it gets a bit pricey, of trying out a new place in that guide. I’ve already got my sights set on the closest one…roll on Thursday…
Now this is my personal favourite. But it’s also somewhat boring, so I won’t spend too much time on this. You get the gist!
Any way happy rainy day to you all, I hope you’re having a fun packed day of…well, fun.