Rainy Day City Guide: Activities to do When the Sun Doesn’t Shine

It’s fair to say we’re not blessed with the best climate here in the UK. No matter the time of year, we know all too well that a spot of sun can’t be relied upon – and any outdoor adventures need to come with a solid plan B. 

Fortunately, we learned to work around our deluges and downpours long ago. In cities the length and breadth of the UK, you’ll find plenty of indoor and undercover attractions that won’t be tainted by a spot of the wet stuff. 

Here are just a few of our favourites. 

London
The Electric Cinema. Nestled away in the elegant streets of Notting Hill, The Electric is a one-of-a-kind cinema. One of the oldest in the capital, its opulent architecture is matched by the luxurious, velvet-lined armchairs and beds you’ll kick back on while you catch a flick. It’s the perfect place to get cosy for a couple of hours while it pours down outside. 

Sea Life London Aquarium. Right at the heart of London beneath County Hall, this ironically-wet attraction is the perfect place to seek refuge. You’ll delve into an underwater wonderland, packed full of incredible species from waters around the globe. Visitor favourites include the swift sharks and sea turtles. 

Peter Harrison Planetarium. If you’re looking to get as far away from the British climate as possible, why not journey into space? The Peter Harrison Planetarium can take you anywhere you like, from the surface of Mars to the centre of the Sun. Take a seat as you watch a visual spectacle unfold all around you, as you begin to unlock the secrets of our universe. 

Manchester
National Football Museum. Whether you’re a fan of the beautiful game yourself, or you’ve got a footie-mad little one in tow, the National Football Museum promises hours of fun. Based in the city’s iconic URBIS building, it tells the story of the sport from the very beginning, displaying rare and one-off memorabilia along the way. There’s plenty of interactive exhibits to keep young minds occupied too.

Junkyard Golf Club. This crazy golf comes with a twist. Choose from three bizarre nine-hole courses, all of which are assembled from reclaimed and recycled junk. Featuring everything from a jungle bathtub to a scrapped car, it’s hours of weird and wonderful fun. 

Museum of Science and Industry. Journey through some of Manchester’s greatest achievements at the MOSI. This museum delves into the city’s industrial past, with the world’s first passenger railway station onsite, before exploring the scientific discoveries that have taken place since. With so many interactive exhibits it’s an excellent choice for young families. 

Liverpool
Museum of Liverpool. Sitting on the famous waterfront, the Museum of Liverpool explores the city’s rich social and cultural history. Through old artefacts, replicas and live exhibits; Liverpool’s contribution to the world is explored in incredible fashion. 

British Music Experience. From The Beatles to The Zutons, music seems to run through Liverpool’s veins. That’s why it’s the home of the British Music Experience, a vast collection that charts the country’s musical output – and its impact on popular culture - from 1945 right up to the present day. 

Liverpool One. Shop til’ you drop at Merseyside’s premier retail quarter. Home to top stores like Urban Outfitters, Topshop and Zara - as well as popular eateries including Five Guys and Red’s True Barbecue – everything you’ll want from a days’ browsing is right here. Though open-air, there’s enough shelter throughout the development to ensure you won’t get wet. 

Birmingham 
Library of Birmingham. Thought to be among the largest public libraries in Europe, the new Library of Birmingham opened in 2013. Beneath its eccentric exterior is a vibrant learning space, packed full of one-off collections, learning spaces and comfy corners to settle down with a coffee in. If you’ve managed to pack an umbrella, brave the rain for a moment and step onto the rooftop terrace, where you can take in panoramic views over the city. 

Bullring. Since reopening in 2003, Birmingham’s Bullring has cemented its title as one of the country’s best shopping destinations. From high-fashion favourites like Cos and Hugo Boss, to the iconic Selfridges store and restaurants including Chaophraya and Mowgli, there’s plenty to keep you entertained from morning til’ night – all under one roof. 

Ikon Gallery. Experience contemporary art when you head to the city’s Ikon Gallery. Housed inside a grand neo-gothic school building, it boasts a packed-out schedule of exhibitions from international and local artists alike, and entry is completely free. 

Experience all of these fantastic attractions when you book your next city break with Novotel. 

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