British fashion is partly defined by the country’s infamous weather. It is unpredictable and changeable and when the weather man on the television tells you that it will be sunny all week, be prepared for rain. What to pack for a trip to the UK has everything to do with the weather.
In Britain it’s easy for the traveller to stick out like a sore thumb – walking boots, convertible zip leg trousers, SLR camera, guidebook and a backpack in the middle of London can easily scream “tourist.” Sadly in some parts this can make you a bit of a target but it’s also easy to blend in with the locals. British fashion isn’t quite as chic as the French, isn’t always as slouchy as American or as zany as Australian. But then again, I’ve seen people dressed as pirates on the tube and no-one bats an eyelid.
Like anywhere, pack for the environment – are you spending your time café crawling in the cities or getting lost in Scottish wilderness? Also remember that Britain is one of those places where if you forget anything, you’ll be able to pick it up when you get there (and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.) So don’t be afraid of packing light. Try to stick to a small selection of colours to make it easier to mix and match your items.
For city exploring don’t be afraid to break the “don’t take your jeans travelling rule“. They aren’t appropriate for hiking but I can’t think of anything more ideal to wear walking round London on a frosty winter morning.
Winter is cold and 2013 has been predicted to be the coldest winter for 100 years (global warming etc.) The key is to wrap up warm – wear lots of layers, (especially if you don’t fancy bringing a heavy winter coat along) and drink plenty of tea.
Great items to have for extra warmth are tights, leggings and knee-high socks. Don’t forget the essential winter woollies either –hat, scarf and gloves.
Footwear – I find a comfy pair of waterproof ankle boots perfect. Soggy feet aren’t fun, neither are blisters. Be prepared for the wet as well as the cold.
In spring it rains a lot. I usually carry a compact umbrella with me at all times in the UK, so that I’m always prepared for spontaneous showers – not just in spring.
Spring is that transition period between winter and summer, so Layers are still important, but in the later months think about swapping that chunky coat for a regular jacket.
Transform a temperate outfit on a chilly day with a scarf, hat and tights. Skirts are fun but remember that it can get quite breezy.
If you’re in the countryside you’re bound to see waves of differing spring flowers and baby lambs, but remember to be prepared for the mud.
Summer can be very warm but can also be very wet – be prepared for both.
Be bright and bold! Crack out the summer dresses, sunglasses and hats. Once again, be aware of the breezes – sometimes jersey skirts and dresses hold their shape better than wispy skater styles.
A cardigan and a scarf are good additions to a summer outfit in case the sun decides to go in.
Keep hydrated and remember to pack the sun block!
A comfy pair of sandals are great for walking about town and the beach.
A note on bags: Personally I am a big fan of satchels for cities and rucksacks for countryside. I often feel that a satchel with a zip can be safer than many daypacks, which can also be unnecessary for city exploring.
Autumn is my favourite season in general and also to dress for. I love the crunchy leaves, the mild weather and the earthy colours.
As the transitional period between summer and winter, things start to get a little colder and milder in the autumn. Some days the weather will resemble summer, others will be cold. It’s time to think about a woolly hat and light waterproof jacket.
If you’re a skirt and dress person rather than a trouser person, then leggings and opaque tights start to make an appearance to make outfits a little warmer.
Scarves are extremely useful – sometimes when it’s not quite cold enough for a coat, then a jumper or cardigan combined with a hat and a scarf will do.
Because of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, there are plenty of British themed jewellery and accessories available at the moment. These can make great souvenirs.
When you’re planning what to pack for a trip to London and the UK, follow these travel tips to keep you in line with the fussy weather. Thanks for this helpful post Lottie! Don’t forget to check out The Ambling Explorer.
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Author Bio: Lottie is a student and traveller form the UK, currently spending a year studying in Queensland, Australia. She likes hiking, knitting and cooking roast dinners. Lottie can be found writing about her experiences and travel musings on The Ambling Explorer; she’s also on twitter @AmblingExplorer