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© Borough Market via Facebook

How to Spend a Rainy Day in London

7 February 2019 Billie Manning

If lounging in the sunshine is your bag, perhaps you’d like to try the Canary Islands. But if you're looking for somewhere that's just as magical come rain or shine, London is for you. Here are London Calling’s top tips to help you factor wind/rain/snow/any manner of ‘icky' weather occurrences into your plans. They'll get you positively praying for precipitation!

1. Dig up some jewels at a covered market
Borough Market is London's oldest fruit & veg market, and more interestingly in this instance: covered. Over 100 stalls sell home grown produce, often available for sampling. Since it’s only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays you may instead want to visit the Camden Stables Market - open all week - or the Electric Market at the Electric Ballroom, which is on Sundays. Camden has long been renowned as a hub of the alternative fashion scene, and today there’s 700 traders in the Stables Market alone. This market also offers a fantastic historic setting with more commemorative bronze sculptures than you could dream. Lastly, Spitalfields Traders Market is open 6 days a week with the largest market on Sundays (it’s closed on Saturdays) and hosts restaurant chains alongside hand-made jewellery stalls.

westminster abbey church cathedral
Image © Westminster Abbey via Facebook

2. Make a visit to holy ground
London is home to more famous churches, chapels and cathedrals than anywhere else in England and unless you’re commencing a church-crawl of London, you'll have to make some ruthless decisios on which ones to visit. Start with Westminster Abbey, founded by Benedictine monks in the 10th century. The present church is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, a treasure trove of artworks and artefacts, and final resting place to some very big names. Follow up with St Paul's Cathedral. The present church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire, and more recently the cathedral has been the location of Jubilee celebrations for the Queen, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. For something a bit more off the beaten track, try visiting Saint Bartholomew the Great.

3. Shelter from the storm aboard the HMS Belfast
With a whopping nine decks to explore, the HMS Belfast is a safe bet when horrendous weather is showing no signs of abating. A trip aboard this marine beast is great for kids and history enthusiasts: learn about life on board this warship during the Second World War and beyond, including sleeping in tightly-packed hammocks during duties in Arctic waters, or the morning of D-Day. You can also explore the interactive Operations Room or the ‘Gun Turret Experience’.

the london library interior book stacks
Image © The London Library via Facebook

4. Take a quiet moment in one of London's libraries
If you’re looking for somewhere to duck into during a heavy shower, a London library could well be the best ‘duck-in’ you ever make. It's possible to while away days just inhaling that wonderful musty scent and enjoying the calm away from the storm. Your best bets are the London Library, the Old British Reading Room in the British Museum, or the National Art Library in the V&A for creative sorts.

5. Get giggling in the cheap seats
If your spirits still need a-lifting come evening, then you sure are a grouchy thing. Pop along to The Comedy Store in Leicester Square. It’s a cosy place, with reasonably priced tickets and drinks. An especially great night is King Gong on the last Monday of the month, although this is ill-advised for those with sore throats - heckling is the name of the game. Alternatively, go and watch Singin' in the Rain at the Palace Theatre. And then skip through London, singing in the rain - dare you!

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