When temperatures spike, it may be a shock for some guests to find there aren’t many London sights with air con – a mix of the town’s historic buildings and Britain’s erratic summer time climate means it’s not all the time important and may’t essentially be added on later.
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So what do you do when there’s a heatwave in London, particularly for those who’re visiting the town with children and want to flee the warmth?
I’ve picked out a number of the important vacationer sights in London with air con, air cooling or locations to go the place you received’t soften whereas the heatwave lasts.
London within the warmth: have to know
Keep in mind that even these locations which have air con have a tendency to not be as fiercely chilly as different nations – I’ve wanted to place additional layers on when going indoors within the US and Asia prior to now, however probably the most you’re prone to discover is a pleasantly cool expertise.
And whereas London’s museums and galleries all the time have to hold their treasured reveals in a local weather managed atmosphere, that doesn’t all the time translate right into a managed local weather for guests – even the place there’s a cooling system, you received’t stroll in to gusts of icy chill.
A mixture of massive crowds and the Pure Historical past Museum’s Grade I listed constructing means this explicit attraction usually will get very heat inside – if you’re going, the dinosaur gallery has low gentle and generally is a little cooler.
The British Museum has air con in some areas however many are cooled solely by followers – and the preferred galleries can get very busy, whereas the Nice Court docket’s great glass roof doesn’t make it the best spot.
And the London Transport Museum has some huge open galleries to slot in its assortment of double decker buses and different classic transport, however there’s no air con right here both.
To discover a assured cool spot in a museum, take a look at the momentary exhibitions – an important tip from Museum Mum, as the federal government scheme which insures loans has strict guidelines about environmental controls so these are an ideal place to flee the warmth in London.
London sights with air con
When you’re on the lookout for a museum in South Kensington to remain cool, the V&A ought to high your record – not solely does this Grade I constructing have air con however there’s a fountain within the courtyard too.
The Postal Museum
Much less well-known than a number of the different London museums, the Postal Museum is much more tempting within the warmth – in addition to air con, the underground tunnels which as soon as delivered mail throughout the town are additionally pretty and funky.
Not used to move mail, you possibly can nonetheless experience the Mail Rail prepare throughout your go to (though do keep in mind that it may be hotter contained in the carriages than within the tunnels).
Museum of London
The Museum of London additionally has a cooling and air con system inside, so you possibly can uncover the town’s historical past, proper from the times when hippos lived the place Trafalgar Sq. is now – and presumably welcomed the solar.
EDIT: The museum is now briefly closed till reopening in its new web site at Smithfield in 2026
Nationwide Maritime Museum
When you head right down to Greenwich (and a breeze on one of many river boats is a particular bonus if you can too discover a shady seat), the Nationwide Maritime Museum has air con.
The realm across the large map can get heat, however with tales of Polar adventures (in addition to Tudor piracy and Pacific explorations), there’s loads to find inside when you keep cool.
Tate Trendy & Tate Britain
With thousands and thousands passing via the Tate Trendy’s galleries alone, air con has all the time been important to guard the artworks – with the added bonus of defending the guests from melting as effectively.
Tate Britain additionally has air con and tends to be one among London’s quieter galleries, so you possibly can dodge overheated crowds as effectively.
The Nationwide Gallery has boasted some air con since 1949 to guard its work, in addition to more moderen air con added throughout lockdown closures.
Just like the Tate and Museum of London, there’s the added bonus that entry is free.
When you’ve acquired an attraction filled with wax works, you possibly can’t take the danger of all of them melting when the temperature rises so fortunately Madame Tussauds does have air con.
Equally understandably, the waxworks don’t do effectively with extremes of warmth or chilly, so the system tries to maintain the temperature pretty fixed, which suggests it would by no means find yourself being freezing inside.
The London Eye’s capsules are all air conditioned – however keep in mind that the glass pods are mainly mini greenhouses, so on a searingly sizzling day, you possibly can nonetheless count on it to get heat inside.
Except you might have quick monitor tickets, you’ll even be ready within the queue to board to your time slot as effectively.
Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
EDIT – NOW CLOSED: When you’ve acquired followers of the wizarding world, the momentary Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in Covent Backyard is just not solely a magical look behind the scenes of the flicks, its air con makes it enchantingly cool.
Because the identify suggests, this one is predicated round pictures (and video), though there are just a few interactive components, so higher in case your children are barely older (or full Potterheads) than for the youngest followers.
Take a look at my assessment of visiting the Harry Potter Picture Exhibition with children
London theatres with air con
Most of the West Finish’s theatres are too previous, protected or fragile to have full air con: the air cooling methods are sometimes impressively environment friendly although, at theatres such because the Apollo.
Nonetheless, some do have correct air con together with the Adelphi Theatre (Again to the Future Musical), the Victoria Theatre (Hamilton), the Theatre Royal Haymarket (for The Tiger Who Got here To Tea), the Vaudeville Theatre (Six), in addition to the Criterion.
The Lyceum (for The Lion King), Apollo Victoria (for Depraved), Cambridge Theatre (for Matilda), Prince Edward Theatre (for Mary Poppins), the Lyric (Room on the Broom), the Palladium (Magnificence and the Beast) and the Garrick (for Horrible Histories) all have air cooling.
In a slight twist of irony, for those who’re planning to observe Frozen on the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, there’s no air conditioning, so that you’ll have to depend on the motion to maintain you cool.
To examine individually, the Official London Theatre web page lists amenities for London’s theatres.
Vacationer sights in London with cooling methods
There’s no air con inside London’s well-known bridge, however Tower Bridge does have ceiling followers contained in the high-level walkways to chill guests down.
And searching down via the glass ground would possibly ship a shiver down your backbone.
However the basement rooms, together with the Backyard – a favorite of youthful children – does are inclined to get fairly heat.
In case your children are wanting ahead to visiting Far Far Away, the excellent news is that a lot of the Shrek’s Journey attraction has cooling methods to cease you overheating.
The Magic Bus additionally contains water sprays and blasts of air. Beautiful.
Different issues to do when it’s sizzling in London
When you’re trying to escape the warmth in London with children, it’s not simply air conditioned sights which might help hold you cool.
Discover the dancing fountains & splash pads
Splash pads, dancing fountains, no matter identify you give them, they’re unbeatable when it’s sizzling in London with children.
Simply behind King’s Cross, the fountains at Granary Sq. are made up of 1,080 choreographed jets – every individually managed – which squirt in patterns for youths to splash in.
Or on the South Financial institution, the Showing Rooms interactive sculpture on the Southbank Centre is a enjoyable different, with jets of water creating ‘rooms’ earlier than they vanish. It’s price figuring out that youngsters want tops on to splash right here.
Additional alongside the river, you’ll discover the Extra London fountains close to Tower Bridge, whereas there’s usually one other set within the courtyard of Somerset Home on the alternative financial institution (just some at the moment operating, as This Brilliant Land is happening). You may as well discover extra fountains at Leicester Sq..
And if splashing alone isn’t sufficient, Ravenscourt Park in west London has a paddling pool – free to make use of, however you could prebook a timed slot as numbers are restricted.
**Thames Water could also be bringing in a hosepipe ban and different restrictions, which may imply the fountains are switched off or extra restricted – all the time examine earlier than you go to**
Go to the parks
Regardless of being one of many greatest cities on the planet, London additionally scores effectively on the subject of inexperienced area, with a collection of pretty parks – Hyde Park has some nice shady spots in addition to the Diana Memorial fountain to dip your ft in.
Regent’s Park is one other nice different, or watch the pelicans at St James’s Park. However a lot of the royal parks may have just a few patches of shade to hang around when it’s sizzling.
When you’re completely happy to enterprise out of central London, Kew Gardens and the London Wetlands Centre close to Barnes are additionally nice choices to flee – there’s water play within the Wetlands Centre playground too
Head up excessive
The upper you go, the extra probability of discovering an elusive breeze – the Sky Backyard has shady areas and generally is a pretty spot when it’s sizzling in London, in addition to being one among my favorite viewpoints in London.
Stroll by the water
There are miles and miles of Thames path to discover – and whereas I’m not suggesting a protracted stroll throughout a heatwave, yow will discover a breeze off the water as you sit on the banks. The Southbank is all the time top-of-the-line choices.
Or head to the canals – Little Venice is one other pretty spot, whereas the Grand Union Canal close to Paddington is lined with cafes.
Go for a swim
Though you’ll must journey out of central London (until you’re staying in a lodge with a pool), there are lidos across the metropolis the place you possibly can have a dip.
Or head west to benefit from the seashore at Ruislip Lido – there’s a splash pad right here too, though you possibly can’t really swim within the reservoir. Unsurprisingly it’s a preferred spot on a sunny day.
Go to the Tower of London
There’s – unsurprisingly – no air con in the Tower, however as anybody who’s visited a fort in winter is aware of, thick stone partitions make for cold interiors.
So within the top of summer time, venturing into the previous royal residences might be blissfully cool. The realm with the Crown Jewels can be local weather managed to guard them.
Head inside a cathedral
Seize an ice cream
There are some incredible locations to show cooling down into an artwork kind – for the most effective ice cream in London, take a look at this nice submit from Globetotting.
Getting round London within the warmth
When you’re planning a bus tour, Large Bus Excursions could have air-conditioned areas on its buses, though it varies from bus to bus so the corporate can’t assure it.
These are usually decrease deck solely (until you’re on a bus with an enclosed higher space). Taking into account that a lot of the high deck is generally open to the weather (and likewise the place you’ll get the most effective views), you’ll have to depend on pure air cooling…
Tootbus doesn’t have air con on its buses.
For extra tips about London’s finest bus excursions with children, take a look at this submit
On the tube, the Central line is formally the most popular line, whereas the brand new Elizabeth Line has air con and is genuinely cool. In any other case, the traces which keep nearer the floor – particularly the Overground, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & Metropolis and Circle – are usually cooler than the deep traces just like the Picadilly and Northern line.
When you’d relatively journey by water, the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers service has air conditioned interiors in addition to an open part on the deck to catch a breeze.
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Pure Historical past Museum/Tower Bridge/London Underground signal courtesy of Depositphotos, all different photos copyright MummyTravels