Family Days Out

Things to Do on a Rainy Day

We have plenty of historic places in which the family can hide, play and enjoy a great day out, whatever the weather may have in store.

If you're looking for rainy day ideas, take at look at some of our favourite activities or check out the map of our rain-proof places.

You can also check the individual property pages of the sites you'd like to visit for the most up-to-date information.

A father in a wheelchair and his young daughter enjoy exploring the Stonehenge visitor centre

Rain or Shine Stonehenge

The state-of-the-art visitor centre at Stonehenge includes an exhibition of artefacts brought together for the first time, and gorgeous interactive displays about this wonder of the prehistoric world. Don't miss the virtual 360-degree experience, which allows you to 'stand in the stones' as you are transported back in time.

Buses can take you from the visitor centre up to the stones themselves, so you can stay dry for as long as possible.

Visit Stonehenge
A re-enactor with mutton chops, wearing a brown bowler hat and a golden waistcoat entertains children at Bolsover Castle

Get Hands-On At Bolsover Castle

On a clear day, Bolsover Castle's prime location atop a Derbyshire hillside offers stunning views across the Peak District. But if the heavens open, families can head inside the Little Castle and Riding House to learn about 17th-century life with the hands-on exhibitions.

Visit Bolsover Castle

Explore the Home Of Charles Darwin

A unique day out in Kent, Down House offers an insight into the life of Charles Darwin, father of evolution theory, and weather-proof fun for all the family.

Step inside the house and discover the very rooms in which Darwin's ideas formed the basis for pioneering biological science, even the study where 'On the Origin of Species' was written, still as it looked at the time. Kids will love the hands-on interactive exhibits on this one-of-a-kind day out.

Visit Down House
Two siblings stir a huge medieval cooking pot in Dover Castle's Great Tower while their parents do the same with another pot behind them.

Go below ground at Dover Castle

There are plenty of fascinating indoor spaces to explore at Dover Castle, making this a brilliant choice for a rainy day out. 

Choose between exploring the recreated medieval palace in the Great Tower, complete with a royal bedchamber and atmospheric kitchens; or going down into the castle's wartime tunnels where projections and real film footage bring to life the dramatic rescue of the British Army from Dunkirk. Don't miss the subterranean operating theatre and wards of the Underground Hospital. And if it's STILL raining, check out the First World War fire command post, or the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and Queen's Regiment Museum.

Visit Dover Castle
A mother and daughter look into a case of Roman remains at the Richborough museum

Explore rainproof Roman remains

There's a brand-new weatherproof museum to enjoy whatever the weather at Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre. Head inside to see remarkable relics uncovered at Richborough over the last 100 years. We love the ancient coins and elegant hairpins that really bring the Romans to life. Don't miss the fun video game where you'll be immersed in Roman-era trading routes. Or race your family to build a monumental arch like the one that once stood in Richborough's town centre.

Visit Richborough Roman Fort
A young boy in a pirate hat rides a large brown soft play 'horse' at Pendennis Castle

Wet-day play at Pendennis Castle

Rain won't stop play at Pendennis Castle in Cornwall – there's an indoor, castle-themed soft play centre that's perfect for little ones and, of course, completely weatherproof! Situated near the cafe in this, one of Henry VIII’s finest seaside fortresses, the soft play provides a brilliant space for under 5s to explore while you pause to enjoy some tea and cake. Older kids can complete the Castle Explorers Family Trail around the site.

Visit Pendennis Castle
Three smiling girls try on various hats in front of a dressing table and mirror at Marble Hill house

Head inside Marble Hill

Marble Hill's freshly conserved interiors will brighten up any wet-weather day. Kids will love following the family trail with Fop the dog, trying on hats in Henrietta's dressing room, learning about the unique life of Henrietta Howard, and thinking about the precise shapes and spaces that make up this gorgeous Palladian villa.

Visit Marble Hill

Hide from the rain at Boscobel House

Hide from the rain in a royal hiding place! Boscobel House in Shropshire once provided Charles II with a place to escape Cromwell's forces following his Civil War defeat in 1651. Today families can take an atmospheric candle-lit tour around the house, including the priest hole where Charles II hid. Then meet the resident farmyard animals while exploring the historic stables, barns and dairy and learn about life on this once-thriving Victorian Farm.

Visit Boscobel House
Two blond boys play on an interactive at the Richmond Castle museum

Rainy day fun at Richmond Castle

The museum at Richmond Castle provides an excellent option for a wet-weather day out. Inside, you can learn all about the castle's long and varied history, from the 11th century Norman conquest, to its occupation by the northern Non-Combatant Corps during the First World War. There's an interactive area for kids in the museum, where little ones can learn about some of the castle's famous characters.

Visit Richmond Castle
Image: Young girl with umbrella in the Quarry Garden at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

Go wild at Belsay Hall

If the weather's wild outside, take a walk on the wild side inside at Belsay Hall in Northumberland. Head to the medieval castle where the Wild Man of Belsay will tell you the story of the Middleton family who lived here for more than seven centuries. Look out for the old cooking range and fireplaces in the 18th-century wing. Then head for a warming cuppa and some treats in the new cafe: sample a regional stottie cake, a flat round loaf, indented in the middle, and filled with delicious hot meat.

Visit Belsay Hall

Rainproof Places: Mapped

 Place(s) To Stay


  • Multiple places
  • Place

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    English Heritage membership offers an unlimited annual pass to more than 400 historic sites across the country PLUS FREE entry for up to six children.

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