Top Ten Rainy Day Distractions

It can be tempting to stay at home when the weather turns wet, but Oxfordshire is teeming with opportunities to have fun while staying out of the rain, whatever your age, interests or budget

Book Nooks

Curling up with a good book is the perfect rainy day activity, and Oxfordshire's many council-run libraries provide peaceful spaces to explore new stories, and often run affordable activities for little ones. Those looking to add to their own book collections can lose a good few hours in Blackwells' cavernous Norrington Room, complete with armchairs in case you wish to try before you buy!

Rolling the Dice


Widely agreed to have been the UK's and possibly the world's first ever board game cafe, Thirsty Meeples lives right here in Oxford. Cover charges are for 3 hours at a time, and with over 2,500 games to choose from and a mouth-watering range of food and drinks (we can't not mention their gourmet sausage rolls!) they'll guarantee that your rainy day will fly past.

Getting Creative

The grey skies may not inspire you with sparks of creativity, but the colourful interiors of Oxfordshire's pottery cafes just might. A fun, sociable activity for all ages and artistic abilities that will leave you with a unique memento that'll be useful for your home too.

Discovery Zones

Embrace the opportunity to be under a roof by exploring some of the city's vast collections, whatever your particular interest. You'll find fine art, centuries-old tools and quirky curiosities in the Ashmolean, dinosaurs and other prehistoric pals in the Museum of Natural History, curious contraptions in the History of Science Museum and imaginative inspiration in the Story Museum. Read our museums guide for more!

The Silver Screen

Another cultural delight that we in Oxfordshire are spoiled for choice over is cinema. The City Centre boasts no fewer than five cinemas, including the independent Ultimate Picture Palace and the arthouse Curzon and Phoenix Picturehouse, while there are options for film addicts throughout the county including the lovely Abbey Cinema in Abingdon. Our resident cinephile Russ has collected together all you need to know right here.

Hit The Road

For a different kind of virtual adventure, head to The Race Hut to try your hand at simulated Formula 1 driving. The Hut's 16 pods create a realistic driving experience (suitable for anyone aged 8 and over) and allow you to indulge your competitive side by racing against your friends. Daily Info recently tried and loved it!

A Great Escape

Unleash your inner Indiana Jones by solving puzzles under pressure - it's no surprise that escape rooms are becoming an increasingly popular day out for problem solvers and avid Crystal Maze fans alike. At Escape Hunt there are 5 different themed escape rooms, including a very Oxford-appropriate Alice in Wonderland one. The most atmospheric escape room is surely the one in Oxford Castle, while Potterheads will find magic at City Mazes.

Pint-sized fun

There's no shortage of cosy, unique pubs in Oxford where you can take shelter from any passing storms. Thanks to many now offering board games, books and different menus throughout the day, you can spend a long time in your local even if you don't fancy a tipple. Some of the best in Oxford for board games are George Street Social, the White Rabbit, Brewdog (where you can play Street Fighter) and the Rickety Press, which also offers table football.

Letting Off Steam

If you're itching to get outside but don't quite fancy running around in the rain there are lots of options for indoor sport. Oxford Brookes University have an indoor climbing wall open to the public, while Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury has a free-to-use Ping Pong Parlour. For a less rigorous but no less fun take on indoor sport, try one of Oxford's indoor golf venues: Junkyard Golf in the Westgate and Gravitee Golf in the Kassam Stadium.

Green Fingers

Just because it's wet and miserable outside, doesn't mean you have to miss out on your fix of nature! In fact, the Oxford Botanic Garden is such a popular spot that during wet weather may just be the best time to go. Discover the luscious marvels on display inside their seven toasty glasshouses, from huge water lilies to carnivorous plants.


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