England is a green and pleasant land for a reason. It does rain here occasionally, hence the lush and verdant reputation. Of late there has been slightly more precipitation than even the most stalwart Barbour jacket-sporting Brit is used to. But I’ll let you in to a personal secret:
I love rain.
Bring on the wellington boots. Unleash the waterproof coats. And maybe crack open a very windproof umbrella courtesy of James Smith & Sons and then I am ready for a proper yomp through puddles and glisteningly wet London streets. It’s never bad weather, just bad clothing.
But I love rain even more after a rainy walk, when I’m tucked away indoors listening to the tic tac of raindrops upon the windows. So here are my favourite spots in London to enjoy the sound of rain tic-tacking whilst one revels in civilized and warm comfort.
Kew Gardens – The glass houses at Kew Gardens are utterly exceptional. The collection of flora within is the result of some serious plant-hunting in the 19th century, which botanists have continued to cultivate. Enjoy Decimus Burton’s Palm House whilst the heavens above pour onto the elaborate glass ceiling. For the locals it’s as good a tropical holiday but with the promise of decent tea within easy reach and the chance to talk about the weather.
The Orangery at Kensington Palace
The Orangery at Kensington Palace – Oooh. This is chic. When it stops raining you’re only a short stroll away from where the Duke, Duchess and Prince of Cambridge live in a glorious 17th-century palace. In 1704 Sir John Vanbrugh designed the Orangery as a sun-filled building to grow – you guessed it – oranges and other citrus fruits in a Northern European rather than Mediterranean climate. Today enjoy an English afternoon tea with champagne whilst contemplating the calming beauty of a rainy afternoon.
The Great Court at the British Museum
The Great Court Restaurant at the British Museum – This has a special location under Norman Foster’s spectacular Great Court. The restaurant is just across a bridge from the Ancient Egyptian collection and only a couple of metres below the glass roof. Perfect for families whose children will have enjoyed peering at the mummified mummies and whose actual mummies and daddies probably need some sort of sustenance.
The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection – If you love a bit of Rococo chic in your art then you’d best head across to the Wallace Collection come rain or shine. It’s housed in a 18th-century building and a few years ago someone had the ingenious idea of covering the courtyard with – you guessed it – a glass ceiling. Hooray for the Wallace Restaurant! It’s ticky tac heaven for rain lovers like myself. The café is also a very good spot for chaps keen on wooing culturally-minded ladies and, a few months later, for said chaps to meet said ladies’ parents.
SushiSamba in the Heron Tower – It’s a Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant between the 38th and 39th floor in a glass tower in the City. If you’re a discerning gastronome keen to partake of the culinary delights that London, world capital of all things foodie and great, has to offer then you’ll be coming here. On a rainy evening you can enjoy amazing views, slightly blurred into a streaming soft focus from all those rivulets, whilst partaking of a wagyu gyoza followed by a moqueca mista.
So there you have it, dear London Perfect readers. Even in the face of seemingly soggy meteorological inevitability there is much joy and comfort to be had. Tootle pip.
Zoë F. Willis is a writer and Londoner from afar. You can read more about her adventures and creative exploits at thingswotihavemade.blogspot.co.uk.