What to do when it rains in London!

Yes it does rain in London and, despite the drought warnings we have been bombarded with lately, it has been raining for the last couple of weeks.  Gardeners and the people who run the water supply have been happy but the rest of us are looking forward to the sun shining again.  Luckily there are loads of things to do in London when the rain comes down and here I’ve listed just a few as a full list would go on for pages!

In bad weather (and good days too!) I usually head for a museum or art gallery – they are free, warm and dry and house some of the greatest treasures in the world. You can see the amazing Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles or gaze at the paintings by everyone from Rembrandt through Van Gogh, Matisse and Monet, to Jake and Dinos Chapman by dropping into the British Museum, The National Gallery and the Tate Modern.  If you are strong enough to face the queues, you can marvel at the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

British Museum
National Gallery
Tate Modern


Natural History Museum

Travel by the underground and you’ll be sheltered from the weather and you can get around London easily and quickly. For those of you who love shopping, either head for a large department store such as Selfridges or Harrods and you’ll be there for hours, or disappear in one of the huge Westfield shopping centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford and you can easily lose a whole day.

Westfield Shepherds Bush

On a wet evening, you can’t beat a good play or film. London’s ‘theatreland’ will delight you with the stars (at the moment we have Danny Devito and Cate Blanchett on the stage and recently had Keira Knightley and Kevin Spacey), with great musicals like Billy Elliot and Phantom and newer ones like Sweeney Todd. The National Theatre will give you meatier fare, the off West End theatres like the Donmar Warehouse give you a smaller more intimate experience and don’t forget to check out the ballet and opera too!

National Theatre

Last but by no means least are the thousands of pubs and restaurants which provide shelter from the rain and some of the top cuisines in the world and certainly the most variety.You have everything from Heston Blumenthal’s amazing Michelin starred Dinner,  Gordon Ramsay’s own top restaurant and Koffman and Ducasse through to cheap and cheerful pub food with lots of fish and chips on their menus. You can find just about any cuisine in the world and London’s food scene is immensely rich and varied so look beyond the chain restaurants and find something special and memorable. 

Hopefully these ideas will keep you dry when you visit London and you could be surprised by beautiful sunshine instead, in which case you’ll be able to find open air versions of almost everything on this list!

Bye for now.
Sue Hillman
Twitter: @itsyourlondon

Promenading and visiting the Royals

Last week started with a visit to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (see photo) , my only concert this year which is a bit of a shame given that the season has over 70 to chose from but it’s been a busy summer. We saw a Mendelssohn Piano Concerto and Mahler’s 10th symphony which was completed after his death. I preferred the concerto tho’ the symphony had some great percussion – drums, symbols and gongs all together at times.


The Royals had the pleasure of my company twice this week – well, they were not actually there at the time but we only missed Princes William and Harry by a matter of an hour or two. Firstly we went to Clarence House which is the London residence of Charles, Camilla and the princes. An interesting and not too long a tour of this historic house – particularly good for those who have a penchant for the Queen Mother. Afterwards we had lunch in St James’s park and strolled to the National Gallery for the Corot to Monet exhibition of landscapes There was time for afternoon tea (of course!) in the gallery restaurant with a great view of the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square so we could watch the goings on in comfort. We finished off the afternoon by dropping into the foyer of the National Theatre to see the photographic exhibition ‘Public Faces, Private Places’ and list to the free jazz – the Damon Brown Trio – who were really good.
More great photos at the Getty Images Gallery where I caught the end of their current exhibition – Londoners Through A Lens – wonderful black and white images of everyday Londoners mostly from the last century. It really made me think about using black and white more as I always go for colour photos (see my website itsyourlondon.co.uk for some of my images).
The other royal visit you ask? A weekend with the family in Norfolk was marked by a trip out to see the seals at Blakeney Point and then a drive over to Sandringham House. No sign of the royals to welcome us there either but the Game and Country Fair was full of tweeds, waterproofs, dogs, horses and hawk flying demonstrations. It’s a different world…. Norfolk is about 3-4 hours drive from London and is a great way to feel a long way from a big city but it’s good to be back!
Bye for now.