I hope you saw this coming… when That’s Ramallah Baby wrote about things to do in London when the weather is good, of course I was also at the same time thinking about things to do when the weather is the opposite! It looks like the good weather in London is over for at least a couple of days – not surprisingly at all! However, there are still so many things to do that I absolutely love, and sometimes I even look forward to bad weather because it feels like you cannot do them when the weather is good.
1. BFI archive – for free!
This is probably the closest thing you can get to exploring London without getting wet. The British Film Institute, by Waterloo Station on Southbank, has a very quiet Mediatheque in which you can borrow headphones and rummage through their film archive. There is so much footage that it is easy to get information overload, but luckily the BFI regularly adds suggested features and collections on their website. Here are some to try:
- Exploring the hidden parts of London
- Exploring LGBT films and clips from nineties
- And lots of stuff about WW2 and Britain’s collonial era
2. Draughts Boardgame Bar
This is my favourite place to spend a rainy or cold afternoon with friends, drinking beer / tea, snacking on brownies (amazing!!!) or sandwiches, and playing one or several of the hundreds of games this place has on offer. It is so much fun to do something different and also to check out the subculture of Londoners who seem to love to do this on a more regular basis.
This is how it works: Arrive at the place and register for a table. If it is too busy then (it does get busy), put your name on the list and have your beverage of choice while waiting. They have recently changed their rules so that you can stay at a table for four hours before being asked to leave, so this makes tables available fairly frequently, although I have had to wait 40 minutes before.
Once you have a table, or while you are waiting for one, you can check out their huge array of board games, from fun, light-hearted party games to full on strategy games that you would probably struggle to complete in four hours! The staff there are also trained as advisers and can help recommend games to you. They will also sit with you for a while to explain the rules of the games to the group.
The gaming fee is something around £5, but this provides you with unlimited games to play while you are there.
My favourite games are:
- Snakeoil – where you have to persuade your customers to buy very dubious and strange products. Hilarious!
- Camel Up – an easy to learn game that involves racing camels but has a lot of dimensions that make it fun and exciting. It won the prestigious Game of the Year award in Germany last year.
- Dixit – beautifully designed cards are used to tell stories and then guess which card the storyteller used… hard to explain but it also won the German Game of the Year award and it is very fun.
The bar is located in Hackney.
3. Exploring a new neighbourhood by bus
I think that public transport tourism is very underrated and something that should be done more often. Just this morning I came across an article in the Washington Post about a lovely bus ride on the 139 Bus from West Hampstead to Waterloo. A quick further search on the Internet reveals several other routes that are suitable… so get yourself in the front seat on the top of a double decker bus, preferably a new Routemaster designed by Thomas Heatherwick, who is absolutely amazing in everything he does (he also designed the cauldron for London Olympics among other things). Here are some links to suggested bus routes. Most of them take you through the main sites of London, but as explorers it is nice to hop onto any bus and just see what happens!
- From the Visit London website
- Info on the Number 11 bus, though this is a terrible old-school website
- Here is another blog post I found, which does involve some walking but looks like it covers the main sites with some additional info
In Ramallah, there are also very interesting bus routes and I have decided to blog about them in the near future.
Sorry about not having photos today but I hope you enjoy the post anyway!