Outdoors activities for rainy days

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so grab your wellies and waterproofs and get the family out for some wet weather fun.

From gardens, parks and woodlands, to castles, mills and mines, we've got hundreds of places to explore, treasures to unearth and fascinating facts to discover. Whatever the weather, you’ll find fabulous ways to make your day with us one to remember.

Here are our top 10 ideas for having fun if the weather turns bad:

    Discover wild waters

    When it comes to impressive falls and spectacular cascades, the wetter the weather the better. From wild waterfalls to rushing rivers, or even bubbling puddles, take the opportunity to see the power of nature at a river near you.

    Top spot: Aira Force waterfall, Lake District
    Explore this beautiful series of falls and cascades nestled in enchanting ancient woodland. There are deep ravines with high bridges over the most impressive falls, as well as tumbling streams and cascades, but don't go too close.

    Go underground

    Hide away from the rain by heading deeper underground. From crypts and cellars to tunnels and mineshafts, explore our hidden places and you’ll forget all about the weather outside.

    Top spot: Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Carmarthenshire
    Experience 2,000 years of gold mining in this Welsh valley with a guided tour of these unique mines.

    Wet and wild nature

    The rain brings all sorts of amazing creatures out of hiding, so brave the weather and you never know what you might find. From animal tracks to sticks and shells, be a wildlife detective and see what natural wonders you can discover.

    Top spot: Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
    Find the weirs and ponds in the middle of the park, home to all kinds of wildlife, plus look for deer, mini-beasts or much more. And if the weather closes in discover the fossils and taxidermy in the saloon or head underground to the twists and turns of the Brewhouse tunnel.

    Puddle jumping

    Get your wellies on and make a splash to tick off one of your 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾. See how many splashes it takes to get the water out of a puddle, or throw in leaves, twigs and pebbles and see what effect they have – run wild and have fun while everyone else is hiding away.

    Top spot: Tyntesfield, Somerset
    Watch giant puddles form in the drained boating lake and set sail.

    Seek secret shelter

    Many of our glorious gardens have temples, grottos, follies and caves to find and explore – why not jump from shelter to shelter as you discover each one?

    Top spot: Stowe, Buckinghamshire
    With over 40 temples to choose from, stretch your legs in style as you guess their hidden meanings and choose your favourite one.

    Take to the waves

    Come rain, shine or thunderstorms, autumn brings the warmest waters of the year around the UK. If you've caught the surfing bug you know that dreary days mean quieter beaches and less chance of pesky drop-ins from other boarders.

    Top spot: Godrevy, Cornwall
    Discover the awe-inspiring expanse of sandy beaches around St Ives, frequented by surfers, seals, birds and café-goers alike.

    Look up

    You call tell a lot from watching the sky – keep your eyes peeled to see what clouds are floating by, enjoy swathes of low-lying mist, or even keep an eye out for lightning or a rainbow. Check out our wet weather detector (pdf) to find out what the clouds, plants and animals are telling you about the weather.

    Top spot: Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire
    Enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the summit of this distinctive hill. It's a short but steep walk to the top but well worth it.

    Outdoor classrooms

    From bug hunts to beach cleans, canoeing to composting, and rockpooling to recycling, there’s so much to learn about the outdoors whatever the weather.

    Top spot: Stackpole, Wales
    Stackpole’s award-winning eco centre is moments from beaches, lakes and woodlands and has adventurous environmental activities for all the family.

    Time for tea

    A sudden downpour is the perfect excuse to pop into one of our cosy tea rooms or restaurants. Eat a delicious home-cooked lunch, stop for a cup of tea, or give in to the urge to eat a big slice of cake.

    Top spot: Kingston Lacy, Dorset
    Stop off for great fresh, local food and produce, including prize-winning scones. Anyone for a cream tea?

Not convinced? If the wet weather and changeable sky are putting you off there are numerous places for great days out and in come rain or shine. Discover our rainy day recommendations for both indoors and out.