Wet weekend inspiration: 21 rainy day plans

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Words by Harriet Cooper

Let’s face it, the weather in winter can be pretty damp. So if everyone is climbing up the walls at home, why not jump on a train and explore the many indoor options across the network? From toe-tapping jazz to mad science experiments, here’s how to stop the rain dampening your mood.

1 Marvel at the Stained Glass Museum

Over 125 brightly hued stained glass panels are on display at the Stained Glass Museum in Ely, dating from the 13th century to the modern day. All are displayed at eye level, so visitors can fully appreciate this ancient art.

Nearest station: Ely

2 Dive into the Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre

Get close to every type of sea creature, from sharks and sea turtles to clownfish and crocodiles, at the Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre. There are also informative talks and feeding demonstrations throughout the day.

Nearest station: Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Sealife

3 Get your skates on at Rollerworld

Colchester is home to an Olympic-standard roller-skating rink, with a floor made of pure maple wood, making it perfect for all abilities. There’s also Quasar, a cafe and a mezzanine bar.

Nearest station: Colchester

4 Take in some tunes at the Jazz Centre

This is a hub devoted to all things jazz – peruse the extensive collection of publications, recordings and heritage materials, as well as enjoying live music, workshops and film screenings.

Nearest station: Southend Victoria

Jazz Centre

5 Unleash your arty side at Sticky Earth Cafe

This Cromer institution offers up an array of creative activities including pottery decorating, T-shirt printing and canvas painting, while also serving delectable coffee and cake.

Nearest station: Cromer

6 Get on-board at Wroxham Miniature Worlds

Boasting over 10,000 sq ft of model railways, Wroxham Miniature Worlds is the largest display of its kind in the UK. Alongside the trains, explore the Lego city, model boat displays and vintage arcade machines.

Nearest station: Hoveton & Wroxham

7 Take to the skies at Imperial War Museum Duxford

Huge hangars at Imperial War Museum Duxford house aircraft and related objects, covering over a century of aviation. Get up close to Lancasters, Spitfires and Concorde, learn how they were made and discover their impact on the world.

Nearest station: Whittlesford Parkway then 7A bus

Imperial War Museum Duxford

8 Challenge yourself at Cambridge Escape Rooms

Choose from any one of a number of immersive experiences, during which you and your team will have just 60 minutes to escape. It’s nail-biting stuff – do you have what it takes?

Nearest station: Cambridge

9 Raise a toast on a Greene King brewery tour

Greene King has been located at the Westgate Brewery in Bury St Edmunds for over 200 years. Take a tour and learn how real beer is made, before sampling different cask ales in the beer cafe.

Nearest station: Bury St Edmunds

Greene King brewery tour

10 Learn about bobbies on the beat at the Essex Police Museum

Fresh from celebrating its 25th anniversary, this compact museum offers up a fascinating insight into the history of the police in Essex, from the Victorians to the modern day.

Nearest station: Chelmsford

11 Take a trip down memory lane at House on the Hill Toy Museum

This nostalgic museum has over 70,000 individual toys on display, ranging from rare Victorian dolls and much-loved board games to a Hornby train set and 80s action figures.

Nearest station: Stansted Mountfitchet

House on the Hill Toy Museum

12 Shop till you drop at Westfield Stratford City

From fashion to food, health and beauty products to homeware, this enormous shopping centre has something for everyone – not to mention a cinema, bowling alleys, playground and seasonal events.

Nearest station: Stratford (London)

Westfield Stratford City

13 See the stars at the Royal Observatory

Take a dazzling tour of the universe and learn about the night sky from real astronomers at London’s only planetarium. Afterwards, browse the displays of centuries-old clocks and timepieces.

Nearest station: London Liverpool Street

Royal Observatory

14 Keep it cultural at the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Tour the castle keep, battlements, dungeons and courthouse before wandering around the galleries, which cover natural history, fine art, ancient culture, military archives and much more.

Nearest station: Norwich

Norwich Castle

15 Spark your imagination at the Cambridge Science Centre

Interactive exhibits bring science to life, as well as a fun-packed programme of shows and activities. Science communicators are on hand to answer any questions.

Nearest station: Cambridge

16 Spend an afternoon at the British Museum

This is one of the greatest museums in the world, spanning over two million years of history. In addition to the enormous permanent collection, there are always special exhibitions, displays and events.

Nearest station: London Liverpool Street

British Museum

17 Time travel at the Ipswich Transport Museum

Ipswich Transport Museum is home to a fascinating collection of over 100 major transport engineering objects made or used around Ipswich, from buses and bicycles to lawnmowers and lorries, fire engines and a funeral hearse.

Nearest station: Ipswich

18 Discover over 10 centuries of history at Westminster Abbey

Steeped in British history, Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of no less than 17 monarchs. Join one of the daily guided tours taken by the vergers.

Nearest station: London Liverpool Street

Westminster Abbey

19 Admire the opulence at Audley End House and Gardens

Wander the magnificent state rooms at this decadent Jacobean mansion. If it’s too wet to explore the grounds and gardens, enjoy a cuppa and slice of cake in the Servant’s Hall tea room instead.

Nearest station: Audley End

Audley End House and Gardens

20 Bounce into action at Gravity Norwich

The wall-to-wall trampolines at Gravity Norwich mean you can jump to your heart’s content – there’s also a dodgeball court, airbag and slam dunk zone, plus climbing walls for everyone from beginners to pros.

Nearest station: Norwich

Gravity Norwich

21 Wrap up warm and brave the wet weather

Grab your waterproofs and wellies and head out for a bracing walk. Whether strolling along East Anglia’s coastline or in the countryside, you’ll feel great afterwards. After all, a little bit of rain never hurt anyone, right?