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Love and London community members ask me all of the time for tips on what to pack for London. Beyond the obvious items (jeans, tops, underwear, etc.), these are the things most people visiting London don’t realise they need to have on their London packing list, plus some tips on how to choose the best items to bring.
Check the weather in London
Weather is an important thing to look into when figuring out what to pack for London. A month or so before you hop on the plane, check what the typical weather is for the month you’ll be visiting. This is as easy as typing “London weather in MONTH” into Google. See what the averages are, and you’ll have an idea of what you might be able to expect.
Unfortunately, London weather can vary SIGNIFICANTLY, so you’ll need to check the forecast 1-2 days before you leave for London, and then choose clothing according to what the weather is predicted to be.
You can get stuff here
Please don’t stress about what to pack! You can buy almost anything here in London if you need it. Or just make do with what you have, that’s the fun of travel 🙂 Also, use what you have, there’s no need to go buy a whole new wardrobe just for a few days in London.
What to pack for London: Clothing
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, what type of jacket will depend, but even in the summer, unless you visit London during a “heat wave”, you might want to have a light jacket with you in the evenings.
In the winter, the temps vary but you can expect to need a down jacket, something to keep you nice and warm between stops at restaurants and attractions. I recommend something waterproof.
You could choose to bring a rain jacket, but as long as your normal jacket is fairly waterproof, that’s totally fine.
Even if it’s not forecasted to rain, bring some water-resistant shoes, just in case. These can be leather boots, some durable tennis shoes, or you can go ahead and spray water repellant on whatever type of shoe you want. You won’t typically find Londoners wearing rain boots (aka “wellies”) in the city but if the weather gets really bad you can always just buy a cheap pair from a shop on Oxford Street.
Nice outfits for dinners and evenings out
I hesitate to tell anyone what to wear on their holiday, but a tip for Americans is that Europeans, especially in major cities, tend to dress nicer than we are used to back in the states. So depending on what you plan to do in the evenings, you might want to dress a little nicer than you usually would or you might feel a bit underdressed.
When going to a nice restaurant or bar, my husband typically wears casual dress shoes (pretty much anything but trainers), as well as dark jeans or trousers and a collared shirt. I would typically wear a nice blouse, dark jeans/trousers/a skirt, and shoes with a bit of a chunky heel.
My advice is to put a couple of nicer evening options on your London packing list, and see how you feel once you arrive. Then you’ve got them if you want them, or if you think dressing more casual works for you, then just leave them in your suitcase.
Because the temps can vary widely from day to night here in London, and because it can get so hot on the underground, even in the dead of winter, layers are important. Bring plenty of options for layering, such as scarves, sweaters/cardigans, tights, and light jackets or blazers.
Hats, gloves, scarves
In autumn and winter, you’ll need hats, gloves, and scarves to keep yourself warm while exploring the city.
What to pack for London: Everything else
Don’t forget that there are different plugs here, so for your electronics that are dual-voltage, bring a power adapter. Find out how to tell if your electronics are dual voltage. Items like phone chargers are typically dual-voltage. Things like hair dryers may or may not be.
If you have an item that isn’t dual voltage, I recommend leaving it at home. You can technically use it with a power converter, however in my experience, they either don’t work very well, or damage the electronic.
Note that plugs are different in the UK from the rest of Europe, so you’ll need separate adapters. This all-in-one adapter will cover you for most of the world.
Even if it’s not meant to rain while you’re in London, it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella along just in case you get stuck in any unexpected showers.
What NOT to pack for London
Sweatshirts and sweatpants
Londoners don’t wear these in public, except to the gym, so don’t bring them with you with the intention of wearing them around the city because you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
T-shirts with writing on them
I never noticed how much Americans wear t-shirts with writing on them, like college shirts, until I came to London and no one was wearing them EXCEPT Americans. Again, they make you stand out as a tourist pretty majorly and also aren’t fashion forward, in case you care 🙂 My dad is a big fan of college T-shirts, but when we comes to visit, he goes with simple t-shirts or collared shirts when we go someplace nice.
Sundresses and tank tops
Even if you’re visiting in the summer, there’s a decent chance that it won’t be warm enough to wear your teeny little sundress or tank top. This is why it’s so important to check the forecast right before you get here before you choose what to pack for London— it COULD be really hot, in which case, your dresses and tanks will be perfect, but it could be chilly and rainy too, and you’ll end up freezing your little butt off.
Let me know in the comments if this helps you choose what to pack for London. If this is your first visit, I’ve got a free London 101 guide that gives you all the basic things you need to know for your visit here, including info on where to get some currency, how to get to the city centre from the airport, and more.