Rainy day activities for children in London

On a rainy day like today it can be difficult to know what to do with a three year-old.  Our two bedroom flat just isn’t big enough to exhaust him so that he will sleep soundly at night (something that is really important to me).  Cygnet needs action, fresh air, activity, a good old run around.  Yet, when it is raining, the last thing I want to do is to hang around in the local park or even venture to the local soft play where ever other family in the vicinity will have taken their children.  These are my top rainy day activities for children in London:

The London Transport Museum, Covent Garden

We are a big fan of the London Transport Museum.  We bought a family ticket online in January for £16 and it is valid for a year.  We have been to the LT museum at least five times already this year.  Cygnet loves to climb on and drive the buses, to watch the models of the London Underground and to point out the model horse poo under the horse-drawn trams on the top floor.

The Tate Gallery

Now this might seem like an odd venue to take a three year old.  I certainly don’t take Cygnet into see the Turners or the Monets, but I can get him to look at the sculptures and some of the brightly coloured abstracts. 

The Tate actually put on loads of activities for kids.  Tate Britain is hosting a free art and technology festival for families on Saturday 24 March 2018.  We often go to Tate Modern where the slope in the Turbine Hall (the main hall) is a great surface for racing toy cars.  I doubt many of the art aficionados are particularly impressed, but Cygnet and I have spent hours racing cars down the smooth concrete. 

Tate Modern currently has fun striped carpet in the Turbine Hall (see photo).

Rainy day activities for children in London

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington

The Natural History Museum has recently re-opened again fully having exchanged the skeleton of Dippy the Diplodocus  (he’s touring the world apparently) from the main entrance hall with a skeleton of a blue whale.  Cygnet is a great fan of the Natural History Museum because Andy from Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures (on CBeebies) works there.

Unfortunately the magic grandfather clock that transports Andy back in time 220 million years to see the dinosaurs doesn’t actually exist, but the staff are great and will fabricate a story about Andy being on a prehistoric adventure in the clock rather than break the magic and the pretence.

Rainy day activities for children in LondonRainy day activities for children in London

The Southbank Centre, London Waterloo

This is a really easy and chilled out venue near London Waterloo.  In the summer the fountains are on outside and your kids can get soaked.  In the winter there are often activities going on inside for kids and even if there aren’t there are so many kids around that Cygnet will always find someone to play with.  Thanks to many hours spent at the Southbank Centre Cygnet (a three year old and an only child) has got quite used to asking 5 and 6 year olds if they will play with him.  They also do a reasonable cup of tea!

The Science Museum, South Kensington

Right next to the NHM (above) and no less busy.  Wonderlab is great for kids but a little costly.  There are loads of other activities in the museum too.  We haven’t been recently, mainly because Cygnet is obsessed with the Natural History Museum thanks to Andy and CBeebies, but the Science Museum is a good day out and we will go back again soon. 

P.S.  Also, have you been to Vauxhall City Farm?  

What are your rainy day activities for children in London ?  

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  1. March 18, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    Great list here. I’ve never visited London but have always wanted too. #KCACOLS
    Beth Owen recently posted…Safer Sleep WeekMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      Thanks Beth

  2. March 18, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    I think we might have to visit the London Transport museum as my little loves buses and pretending to drive. Sounds like he would love this. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:27 pm

      I’d recommend it – obviously. It is great fun. Pen x

  3. March 19, 2018 / 9:41 am

    You are so lucky living in London with all these wonderful museums. I love the history museum problem is you need more than one day with it. The tate is another fab place to explore and see many varieties of art X #anythinggoes

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      Yes, we are lucky. We often just pop in for an hour or so. Pen x

  4. March 19, 2018 / 11:54 am

    I had to look several times at the carpet. I was not sure if it was stairs or carpet. Cool place! #anythinggoes
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    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      It is definitely a carpet, and yes indeed, very cool. Pen x

  5. March 19, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    We love visiting the Tate whenever we’re in London. It’s also nice to walk down Southbank when the weather is kinder x #AnythingGoes

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      Yes, I love the Southbank too. Pen x

  6. March 19, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    If we lived closer, I’d love to take our 8 yo to some of these. While many museums are free to get in, it’s often getting there and eating while you’re there! #kcacols
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…5 reasons pets are good for a childMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      Yes, you’re right. Getting there is fine for us because I just use the travel card that I have for work anyway. Eating is a little more expensive, although NHM do a great packed lunch for kids for £5. Not super cheap, but not mega expensive either (in London terms anyway). Pen x

  7. March 19, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    I;m desperate to take my children to the Natural History Museum! It looks awesome! #Anythinggoes

    • thesingleswan
      March 19, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      I am a big fan. You can also access all but the special exhibitions for free. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 22, 2018 / 9:28 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  8. March 21, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    I love the natural history museum. I took my 11 year old there, no wait he’s 12 now, jeez it goes too quick! He loved it and so did I. I need to click through on your link to see if they do it for my youngest who is 9 (or something like that!) as I heard that they had stopped. Great post Pen.

    • thesingleswan
      March 22, 2018 / 9:27 pm

      Thanks Mainy. I am glad I have another decade of going to the NHM. Pen x

  9. March 23, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    I want to talk L to London soon, he is obsessed with Big Ben and “where the queen lives” – bloody Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for. I will definitely keep the LT Museum in mind, he would love that! #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      March 25, 2018 / 7:21 pm

      He might be a bit disappointed I’m afraid, Big Ben is hidden by scaffolding at the moment. Sorry! Pen x

      • thesingleswan
        April 1, 2018 / 9:09 pm

        Do! It is great. Pen x

  10. March 25, 2018 / 8:16 am

    Some great suggestions here! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      March 25, 2018 / 7:20 pm

      Thanks Rachel. Pen x

  11. March 25, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    I haven’t been to the Natural History Museum in sooooooooooo long. I think I was a kid. I will definitely have to take Snappy here. #kcacols
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  12. March 28, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    London is a couple of hours drive from us, so we don’t get there too often. But when we do we always try and get to the Natural History Museum, absolutely love it there.

    • thesingleswan
      April 1, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      You can’t beat the NHM. Pen x

  13. March 29, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    We love all of these places you’ve listed. My boys especially love the Transport Museum. We’re planning on heading there again hopefully over the Easter Holidays. Vauxhall City Farm is lovely we went a couple of years ago as it’s right by my husbands work. The park next to the farm has a lovely little play area too. We’re lucky we have a couple of farms close to us that have a fantastic indoor soft play area with trampolines, soft play, slides and all sorts. #KCACOLS
    Maria recently posted…Mr Tod’s Lair & Easter Extravaganza at Willows Activity FarmMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 1, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      Yes, we often go to Vauxhall city farm too. It’s great. Pen x

  14. April 2, 2018 / 10:50 am

    Visited London last week with my nephew and was disappointed after seeing those all scaffolds around big ben.

    • thesingleswan
      April 5, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      I know, it is disappointing isn’t it? Pen

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