Things to do in London when it rains
#1. Enjoy a Dog-friendly Covered Market
If you love shopping or tasting street food, there are some good alternatives to do so on a rainy day without getting wet or tangled with leash and umbrella. In fact, as we anticipated on our social media posts earlier this year (and we are still planning a full guide about these), there are a many dog-friendly covered markets you can visit.
- Old Spitalfields Market and Spitalfields Market. If you live in East London, Spietalfields Market offers an incredibly wide range of choice of stalls for food, clothing, bric-a-brack, jewellery, and so much more. You can even find a dog products stall of Edwin UK. | | Closest station: Liverpool Street
- Mare Street Market. Mare Street Market is an indoor market just around the corner from London Fields. As soon as we walked in on our visit, we found four dogs! Not really need to ask if they were welcome, everybody seemed to adore dogs. This is a very beautiful small market, which has a florist, a delicatessen and liquor store, a bar, a records shop and even a pop up podcast recording studio. It is well-heated too. From there you can pop at Netil Market too (which however is not completely covered). Perfect for: brunch and flowers. | 117 Mare Street, Hackney, | Closest station: London Fields Overground station
- Greenwich Market. Greenwich Market is an indoor market with food, antiques, fashion and jewellery stalls. There is a small part which is outdoor, at the entrance. | 5B Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ | Closest station: Cutty Sark DLR station
- Mercato Metropolitano. While Borough Market unfortunately does not allow dogs, just a bit Southern you can have brunch at the Mercato Metropolitano. As we anticipated back in March on our Facebook page, this indoor market allows you and your friend to eat so many different cusines, from Mexican to Italian, and it is well heated so you have a warm place to spend your time. Next door there is also an Italian deli where you can shop delicious typical products that you won’t be able to find at the supermarket. | 42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR | Closest tube station: Borough
- Hay’s Galleria. Also on the South bank of the river, you can have a walk at Hay’s Galleria. | 1 Battle Bridge Lane, SE1 2HD | Closest station:London Bridge
- Tooting Market. Tooting Market was recommended to us by a blog reader, but we haven’t visited yet. | 21-23 Tooting High St, SW17 0SN | Closest station: Tooting Broadway
- Leadenhall Market. Leadenhall Market in not a huge one, but a beautiful galleria where to have a stroll with your dog. Probably good to avoid Sundays, since it is becomes pretty desert and many shops are shut. | Gracechurch Street, EC3V 1LT | Closest station: Monument
- Covent Garden Market. In Central London, Covent Garden is the perfect choice for your rainy day out with your four-legged friend. With its stalls, shops and cafes and music and art performances. | The Market Bldg, WC2E 8RF | Closest station: Covent Garden
#2. Enrol to a dog-friendly gym
If you are a fan of spin or boxing, the Dog House Fitness, in Balham, is a dog-friendly heaven. We wrote about it earlier, but if this is not quite what you are after, don’t worry: we have put together a full guide about dog-friendly gyms in London, so you can pursue your new year’s resolution without guilt (of leaving your dog at home) or excuse! Fitness, crossfit, pilates, yoga, pick yours.
#3. Pretend to be in Paris at the oldest music hall’s bar in London
On of our favourite places in East London is the Wilton’s Music Hall. The area where the Wilton’s is located is definitely not glamourous, but when you turn the corner on Graces Alley, you will find yourself in a place that looks like Paris. It is a hidden pearl, that only theatre passionates seem to know about. And even less people know that its bar is dog-friendly. Apart from drinks, they also serve pizza and small plates, but just check in advance because the kitchen is not open daily. Well-behaved dogs of any size are welcome. In our experience some of the waiters will bring a water bowl for the dog. Please note that you can’t take your dog to the shows.
1 Graces Alley, Shadwell, E1 8JB | Closest station: Shadwell Overground and DLR stations
#4. Visit a dog-friendly museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Yes, Tower Bridge Exhibition is dog-friendly. We were very positively surprised too, when we discovered it by chance, during a chat with the Monument’s staff earlier this year. Since our review (blog post here), dogs who visited it gave us enthusiastic feedback and we think you may enjoy this too. You can make it a day out, really, as there is much to walk around in the walkways and in the engine rooms. There are some lovely dog-friendly places where you can conclude your day out in the area. One that we love is The Watch House on Shad Thames, just a few minutes walk from the Engines Rooms, where you can have a good breakfast/brunch/coffee.
Opening times: daily 9.30am-5.00pm last admission / Tickets: £9.80/£8.70 advanced ticket online
Tower Bridge | Closest station: Tower Hill and Tower Gateway stations
The Brunel Museum
The Brunel Museum, in Rotherhithe, is a very small one. All about the Thames Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel and its engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. If you want to learn more about it, we talked about a visit in this blog post.
Opening times: daily 10am–5pm | Tickets: £6/£4 concessions
Railway Ave, Rotherhithe, SE16 4LF | Closest station: Rotherhithe Overground station (paces away from the museum)
The Kennel Club Art Gallery and Library
We recently had the chance to visit the Kennel Club Art Gallery and Library and they have some very impressive collections. Their opening times are unfortunately incompatible with those of people with a regular full-time job, since it is open from Monday to Friday, but if you are lucky enough to have time during the week or work close, you take your dog with you to see some interesting art and research about dogs. All about what to expect from a visit and how to plan your own in this post.
Opening times: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm on appointment
1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London W1J 8AB | Closest station: Green Park
The Thames River Police Museum
Another small museum is the Thames River Police Museum, in Wapping. Open on appointment, you can wonder how many things can fit in such a small space. If you get the Hon. Curator to tell you more about it, your visit will definitely be interesting! We visited it during the Open House London initiative with Argo the dog and had a great time.
Open on appointment | 98 Wapping High St, St Katharine’s & Wapping, E1W 2NE | Closest station: Wapping Overground station
#5. Go shopping with your dog
When it rains one may be tempted to retreat to a mall and sort out some shopping. Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge (we’ll keep digging as usual), most shopping centres/malls do not allow dogs. Think of Westfield or Canary Wharf Shopping Centre. However, you can still shop indoors with your dog at some department stores in Central London. Some of them apply some restrictions, such as House of Fraser, Selfridges and Liberty. Others do not discriminate among small and large dogs and don’t require carrying them, making your life easier, such as John Lewis (new policy) and Fenwick. All about these in our department stores guide.
If you prefer small independent stores or chains not in malls, obviously that won’t be totally rainproof as you’ll be walking from one shop to the other, but there is luckily more dog-friendly choice than you think, in London. We started with a guide about Covent Garden and Fitzrovia’s stores welcoming dogs, also featuring a map, which you can find here.
#6. Participate to an indoor dog-friendly event
Dog-friendly cinema screenings, doga (dog yoga) classes, dog cafes (like popular pug cafes and others), dog brunches, dog parties, indoor fun dog shows, dogs take over the theatre. There seem to have been a huge growth in the number of dog events in the past year, including many indoor dog-friendly events and in the new year we are sure there will be even more. You can find the upcoming ones listed in our Dog Events Calendar. From this month we will be also add the tag “indoor event” (and “outdoor event”) so you can more easily find your preferred type.
Rainproof routes to reach your destination
By public transport
When searching for the best public transport options on Citymapper’s app, you can find a handy “Rain safe” section at the bottom of the results screen.
If you are travelling with a large dog and are looking to avoid escalators or with a dog in a buggie, and so you are looking for step-free access, though, Citymapper does not offer the option of planning an escalator- or step-free routes. Don’t worry, though, you can use a lovely feature of TfL’s journey planner, about which we extensively talked in this post. In addition, you can select the option for “routes with the least walking” to be able to avoid how much time under the rain possible.
By taxi or minicab
The most comfortable solution to travel under the rain may be a minicab or taxi, although that may not be the fastest if you get stuck in a traffic jam. We put together a guide about the dog-friendly taxi apps that may come in handy if you decide for this option.
Looking for more? We will add more indoor things to do with your dog to escape rainy and cold days on the go. Stay tuned!
Is it a sunny day? Find all inpiration: