Find the best indoor activities in the south west with SWR

Top indoor activities in the south west

13 December 2021

We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be, so no matter the season, it’s always a good idea to have some indoor activity ideas in the bank for those rainy weekends. From bowling alleys and art and craft activities to escape rooms and cinemas, there are plenty of fun indoor activities in the south west to keep the whole family entertained.

Whether you’re planning for a half term activity or weekend day trip, read on to find out more about the best rainy day activities in London, Exeter, Bournemouth, Reading and Poole.

Best indoor activities in London

England’s capital is jam-packed full of fun indoor activities for both kids and adults, so it’s a great destination for a day out or weekend getaway no matter the weather.

QUEENS London, Queensway

For the ultimate day of entertainment, head to QUEENS London. Begin your day by whizzing around the centre’s indoor ice rink before challenging your group to a game of ten-pin bowling. Continue the fun at the retro arcades, which feature two-pence machines, basketball hoops and all the much-loved classics. All that fun is bound to make you peckish, and with the on-site café and bar, you’re in the right place for a tasty bite to eat and a refreshing drink.

Entrance signage to QUEENS, London

To get to QUEENS London, catch the train to London Waterloo before switching to the tube. Catch the Jubilee towards Stanmore to Bond Street, then hop on the Central line towards Ealing Broadway, getting off at Queensway.

‘No Escape’ Room, Oxford Street

If you’re a fan of escape rooms, then London is the place to be. The ‘No Escape’ Rooms are known to be some of the best escape rooms in London and have great public transport links. There are a number of ‘No Escape’ Rooms on Oxford Street for you to take your pick from, including one with a spooky Sweeney Todd theme—so this activity is better for adults and older children.

Dentist's chair in abandoned room, at 'No Escape Rooms', Oxford Street London

To get here, catch the train to London Waterloo, before hopping on a nine-minute tube to Tottenham Court Road on the Northern towards High Barnet line.

Pottery Café

Unleash your creative side and head to the Pottery Café in Battersea for the ultimate crafty family day out. Choose from a selection of handmade pottery, before selecting your paints and sponges—then all that’s left is to get stuck in! If you’re feeling peckish, there are a range of snacks including cakes and cookies on offer, and you can decorate your pottery to your heart’s content while sipping on delicious artisan coffee and tea.

A hand-painted cup holding paintbrushes at Pottery Café, Clapham

To get here, catch the train to Clapham Junction, before riding for eight minutes on the number 319 bus.

Backyard Cinema

A trip to the cinema is exciting in itself, but Backyard’s immersive cinemas really take things to the next level! Backyard Cinemas take venues all around London—from churches to courtyards—and transform them into an interactive cinema experience that’s not to be missed. Located in Wandsworth’s iconic Capital Studios, Backyard's first permanent site is a converted TV-studio, consisting of two themed movie theatres for you to choose between, as well as an on-site studio bar and café.

Backyard Cinema's 'Winter Garden', Wandsworth

The nearest station to Backyard Cinema is Clapham Junction. From there, it’s just a 12-minute journey on the 156 bus.

Best indoor activities in the south west

Whether you’re planning a family day out or romantic getaway, you can find plenty of fun indoor activities for people of all ages in the south west, all easily accessible by public transport.

Tenpin, Exeter

Nothing beats a competitive game of bowling, and Tenpin in Exeter has the whole package! With 22 lanes, retro arcade machines and even pool tables for you to enjoy, you could easily spend a whole afternoon and evening here! This bowling alley is also perfect for beginning your night on the town. With a cool Cosmic Bowling option where you bowl in the dark with neon lights, and a beer pong table for an extra dose of competition, there’s plenty to do during your evening at Tenpin.

Bowlers at Tenpin Exeter

To get here, catch the train to Exeter Central, before switching to the Green bus towards High Street and riding for 13 minutes.

Centre VR, Bournemouth

For a day out with a difference, head to Centre VR in Bournemouth. As the largest virtual reality centre in the UK, Centre VR has over 100 different games for you and your group to check out—and for a real team experience, you can even work together on a multiplayer game. From laser quest-style games to a Christmas-themed adventure story, there’s a game for every member of your group.

Users playing with VR equipment at CentreVR, Bournemouth

You can get half price entry when travelling with our South Western Railway service—simply show your train tickets on arrival for your discount! Get to Centre VR by catching the train to Bournemouth, before walking for 18 minutes towards the centre.

Red House Mysteries, Exeter

For an escape room with a difference, head to Red House Mysteries in Exeter. With three thrilling challenges described as ‘popular and devilish’ to choose between, these aren’t for the faint-hearted! Become immersed in the realistic storylines as you and your group work to find the clues and solve the puzzles—will you manage to escape in under an hour?

Desk with escape room equipment at Red Rooms, Exeter

You can get 20% off your escape room tickets by showing your South Western Railway train tickets on entry. The nearest station to Red House Mysteries is Exeter Central. From here, it’s just an eight-minute journey on the H1 bus.

Art Jam Studio, Reading

Painting is the perfect indoor activity for kids-- and since there’s no worries about clearing up the mess, parents will also love Art Jam Studio! This Reading-based pottery café doesn’t just offer painting—you can also try your hand at pottery, knitting and clay work. If you’re looking for a rainy day activity for adults only, check out the studio’s adult workshops or adult pottery and prosecco classes.

To get here, catch the train to Reading, before riding for seven minutes on the number 25 pink bus to Prospect Street.

Lighthouse, Poole

If you’re looking for some added culture on your next cinema trip, pay a visit to the Lighthouse in Poole. Recently refurbished, the Lighthouse is a performing arts centre, as well as being the home of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. You can check out one of the contemporary, independent or classic films on show at the cinema, or watch one of the live theatre shows which include celebrity stand-up comedy performances, musical Christmas numbers and more.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra rehearsing at Poole Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is just a seven-minute walk from Poole station.

From immersive VR centres to fun-filled bowling alleys, there are so many entertaining indoor activities across the south west. Explore our flexible range of ticket types to find the right one for your journey. Make the most of cheap train tickets to your chosen indoor activity by going off-peak, and those with a Railcard could save even more.