16 best indoor activities for a rainy day in London with kids

Rainy and windy outdoors? Don't worry! London has plenty of exciting and fun indoor activities for kids and the whole family that are completely weather-proof.
Written by Visit London Editors Edited by Coralie Modschiedler 20 May 2024
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Whether it's meeting a dinosaur, stargazing or watching a family show, you can be sure of a fun day out, whatever the weather, with the following indoor activities for kids in London.

1. SEA LIFE London

The SEA LIFE London aquarium is home to 500 species of aquatic life, from sharks and piranhas to Nemo-style clownfish. Don't miss the daily feeds and talks, where you see sharks and species usually found in coral reefs and rainforests enjoying their lunch. This excellent indoor activity for kids in London is a much nicer way to surround yourself with water than being soaked outdoors!

Prices from £27.00 Book now

2. London Dungeon

Escape the rain by heading underground into the huge London Dungeon beneath County Hall on the South Bank. Take a thrilling 90-minute tour of London's grisly history which includes live shows, underground rides and terrifying special effects. Screams guaranteed!

Prices from £29.50 Book now

3. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Have a magical day out with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter. See first-hand the sets, costumes and props used in all the Harry Potter films, and step inside some of the films' locations, including the Great Hall, Dumbledore's office and Hagrid's hut. It's the ultimate Harry Potter experience!

Prices from £89.00 Book now

4. Madame Tussauds London

Walk down the red carpet and strike a pose with more than 250 celebrity wax figures at Madame Tussauds London, one of the best indoor activities for kids in London. Spot the royal family, join sports celebrities and step on stage with music icons, from Madonna to Ed Sheeran, before immersing yourself in the Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie and meeting heroes and villains from Star Wars movies. 
Prices from £33.50 Book now

5. Royal Observatory

Part of the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory is home to Greenwich Mean Time, the Meridian line and London's planetarium. There's plenty to do, after you've jumped between the eastern and the western hemispheres! Take in a planetarium show, see London's only public camera obscura, or visit the time galleries.

Prices from £18.00 Book now

6. Tower Bridge

Uncover the stories of the unsung heroes of Tower Bridge in the City of London and discover one of London's most secret spots: the magnificent Victorian Engine Rooms. Download the free Family Trail App to transform your mobile into a working wrench to tighten the bolts of a shaky engine and into a shovel to throw coal in the boiler to power the bridge!

Prices from £12.30 Book now

7. Discover Children's Story Centre

Do something different at Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford. Here, you'll find some of the most fun indoor activities for kids in London: you can dress up, explore a secret cave and even visit a pirate ship! Aimed at families with children aged 0 to 11, it makes for a fantastic day indoors. And if the weather does pick up, you can head outdoors and explore the Story Garden.

Prices from £9.00

8. Barbican Centre

The Barbican is Europe's largest arts centre all under one roof, including three cinemas, two art galleries, a library, foyers and shops. On offer are accessible, fun and inspiring activities for the whole family to enjoy. Rain? No problem!

9. Horniman Museum Free

The Horniman Museum in south-east London is packed full of exhibitions and activities about the cultural and natural world. Hear musical instruments from around the globe, gaze at a Fijian reef in the aquarium or follow a special gallery trail. The Horniman also holds special events, such as storytelling, puppet workshops, and arts and crafts.

10. Natural History Museum Free

Meet a life-sized blue whale or a roaring T-Rex dinosaur. At the Natural History Museum, kids can delve into the Darwin Centre, get hands-on at the Investigate science lab or shaken up in the earthquake machine. Some charges apply.

11. Science Museum IMAX

Snuggle down into your seat and wait for your eyes to boggle at the Science Museum's amazing 3D IMAX screen. Experience a rocket launch in the Space Station, float with jellyfish in Deep Sea, or meet orphaned orangutans in Born To Be Wild! Caught in a sudden rain shower on the Southbank? Head to the BFI IMAX instead.

12. More London museums for kids

Royal Academy of Arts' exhibition. Image courtesy of the RA.
Find plenty of family events and indoor activities for kids in London's best family-friendly museums. View modern and contemporary art and design installations at Tate Modern and the Design Museum. While the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts are great for learning about painting and art history, the British Museum offers visitors two million years of human history and culture to explore. Most museums also offer free entry – a good excuse to spend an entire day wandering galleries!

13. Top London shows for kids

London hosts lots of family-friendly theatre shows, from lively musicals to wonderful puppet shows. The capital is also home to an array of special children's theatres, which put on amazing productions just for kids.

14. Top toyshops in London

The Hamleys shop front and Regent Street sprawling across with a red bus and black cab driving along.
The world-famous Hamleys shop. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Whether you're after retro toys or film merchandise, London's toyshops offer it all. Budding scientists will love the gadgets and kits available at the Science Museum Shop, while Harry Potter fans won't want to leave the Harry Potter Shop. Don't miss old favourite Hamleys, or newer options such as the LEGO Store in Leicester Square.

15. Climbing walls and indoor playgrounds in London

The adrenaline-pumping Leap of Faith at Clip 'n Climb in Chelsea © Clip 'n Climb. Image courtesy of Clip 'n Climb.
From indoor adventure playgrounds to climbing walls, you'll find plenty of fun indoor playground activities for kids in London. Take the littles ones to Kidspace Croydon, featuring mini go-karts, a climbing wall and sky trail. At Coram's Fields, under-fives can also enjoy the indoor rooms of soft play equipment and craft activities in the morning drop-in sessions. Older kids will love bouncing about on trampolines at Oxygen Freejumping.

16. Indoor toddler activities in London

Ready to explore the ocean? © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Image courtesy of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
From fantastic indoor play areas inside some of London's most iconic museums to baby disco, discover the best indoor activities for toddlers and babies in London.

Find more free things to do with kids, including some of the best attractions in London for the whole family and things to do in London with kids. Download the Visit London app for more inspiration while out and about.