Rain, Rain Go Away!

You’ve heard it all before from me. The summer of 2012 has been absolutely miserable here in the UK, and after a few days of decent weather at the beginning of September we have now been unceremoniously plunged into the rain and cold of autumn.

At the time that I am writing this it has now been raining rather heavily for 24 hours straight, and the MET office predicts that much of the UK could receive a month’s worth of rain in the next 24 hours. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Well, one can only spend so much time complaining about the weather, and at some point you just have to suck it up, pull out your wellies and get on with things. All I have to say is that I’m quite happy that we won’t be in the country much through October – roll on Canada and Portugal!

So, what do you do if you’re visiting the UK and get treated to some of the nation’s notorious rain? While one would always prefer to spend their holidays basking in beautiful sunshine, the UK is one of the better places to be subjected to less than stellar weather. With rain, wind, and cold being a regular occurrence in the British Isles, most places are pretty well set up for bad weather activities, so there are no excuses for sitting in a hotel room feeling miserable and lamenting your bad luck.

UK Rainy Day Activities

Visit a Museum

Rainy Day Activities - Visit a museum

Lady Lever Art Gallery – Port Sunlight

One of the best things about the UK is that all National Museums, and many smaller regional museums are 100% free! Free is my favourite price. No matter what city you are staying in there is sure to be at least one museum to visit, where you can stay dry and not feel like you’ve wasted your day. My favourite museums? Obviously the big guns in London are worth a visit – the V&A, the Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, and the controversial British Museums. Liverpool is also home to some great museums, including the International Slavery Museum and the Tate Liverpool. Both Cardiff and Edinburgh have national museums that are worth a visit, as well. Find a full list of free UK museums here.

If traditional museums aren’t your thing, don’t worry, the UK is also full of strange and unusual private museums that are good for a laugh and/or shock. These museums may not be free but they are still sure to offer quite a lot of entertainment for a meagre fee. Spend your rainy day learning all about mustard in Norwich, or tea pots in Kent, all the while collecting some strange stories to bring back home.

Indulge in Afternoon Tea

Rainy Day Activities - Afternoon Tea

Lamenting that the cakes are almost all gone

When it is wet and cold outside there are few things nicer than munching delicious treats alongside a steaming pot of tea. Nothing is more English than afternoon tea and a rainy day is just as good as any other for indulging in it. You won’t feel rushed to finish up quickly before heading on to something else – just sit back, relax, and perfect your posh tea-cup hold.

Afternoon tea need not be expensive, so don’t worry if you don’t have deep pockets. The price is always going to be higher at hotels, so try looking elsewhere to keep the cost down. I can personally recommend the Tea Rooms at Oddfellows in Chester where my mom and I spent a lovely afternoon last year, but there are lots of little cafes and restaurants in every city that offer some version of afternoon tea. Just make sure you turn up with an empty stomach!

Time Travel at a Country Estate

Rainy Day Activities - Visit Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle via. Flickr

Oh, how I love Downton Abbey, or really any period drama for that matter. I’m sure it would have been an exceedingly difficult society to live in, but on TV it just looks so romantic and elegant that I’m willing to ignore the technicalities for an hour a week.

Downton Abbey and many other period dramas like it are filmed on location at grand country estates throughout the UK, many of which are open to visitors throughout the year. The National Trust cares for many, and others remain in the private hands of ancestral families who have called the buildings home for centuries. The 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon still reside at Highclere Castle, the real-life Downton Abbey, just as their family has since the late 18th century.

If you’re planning a trip to a historic house just make sure you check their opening schedule in advance because some are closed over the winter for important conservation and preservation work.


If you’re visiting the UK you have to be prepared for some rain, no matter what the time of year. Remember your Scout training and be prepared – pack a rain coat and an umbrella and try not to get too disappointed when you pull open the curtains in the morning to reveal yet another over cast sky. Take advantage of the sunny days when (or if) you get them, and then head inside during the rain, all the while telling yourself that it just wouldn’t be England if there wasn’t a little rain.

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4 thoughts on “Rain, Rain Go Away!

  1. Pingback: The Threat of a Washed-Out Holiday « A Crafty Traveler

  2. Pingback: Headline News: Summer Sun Shines in England! | A Crafty Traveler

  3. Pingback: Life in the Land of Tea and Crumpets | A Crafty Traveler

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