Wondering what to pack for London and other parts of England? Read on to find out how local travelista, Lottie with The Ambling Explorer, recommends that you plan your own travel wardrobe when you travel in her home country.
What to Wear in London
What to pack for London has everything to do with the weather. British fashion is partly defined by the country’s infamous grey skies. It is unpredictable and changeable but for the most part this is the rule of thumb: when the weather forecast tells you that it will be sunny all week, be prepared for rain.
No matter the time of year, always keep a travel-size umbrella in your purse.
Dress for the weather, activity & environment – make sure you’re comfortable and always carry an umbrella with you.
Scarves are extremely versatile – in the winter a chunky knit will keep you snug whilE in the summer a lighter scarf can help protect you from the sun. If you’re not used to colder climates, still plan for “winter” weather YEAR ROUND and follow these tips on how to pack for cold weather. Layers are key!
If in doubt, bring an empty suitcase and head to the nearest Primark or H&M to stock up on cheap clothing that is both weather appropriate and locals approved!
In Britain it’s easy for the traveler to stick out like a sore thumb in walking boots, convertible zip leg trousers, SLR camera, guidebook and a backpack. Wearing this in the middle of London can easily scream “tourist” and travel gear like that is more appropriate for countryside treks in the Lake District not a city.
British fashion isn’t quite as chic as the French, isn’t always as slouchy as American or as zany as Australian. It can be edgy or conservative but one thing’s for sure, just like the rest of Europe, a good fit is everything. And when in doubt, choose dressy over casual.
Like anywhere, pack for the environment – are you spending your time café crawling in the cities or getting lost in the 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. So don’t be afraid of packing light. Try to stick to a small selection of colors to make it easier to mix and match your items.
Need help downsizing your travel clothing? Read TFG’s Pack Light Stylishly eBook!
Generally speaking, you’ll probably need some type of boot year round. Choose a calf-tall height for the winter and ankle boots the rest of the time. If there’s heavy rain in the forecast, a rubber bootie might be needed for extensive city exploration on foot. However, regular leather boots (or faux leather boots) will work just fine.
When in doubt, a tan chelsea is the go-to style of choice. These tips on how to wear ankle boots should work every season except winter when a tall boot is needed.
Plan what to pack for London and the rest of England with this packing list:
What to Wear in London in Winter
1.Paneled Blouse 2.Jumper (similar) 3. Striped Sweater 4. Plaid Sweater 5. Color Block Sweater 6. Sweater Dress 7. Long Sleeve Dress 8. Bootcut Jeans 9. Jersey Leggings 10. Jeans 11. Coat (similar) 12. Poncho Cape 13. Ankle Boots 14. Buckle Boots 15. Crossbody 16. Hat 17. Mittens 18. Scarf 19. Belt 20. Tights
December, January & February
For city exploring, bring your jeans. 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.
Wear leggings or tights under your jeans for extra warmth. These leggings are a popular choice with the TFG readers and are lined with fleece.
Winter is cold. Learn how to stay warm in cold weather using these tips – the key is to wear lots of layers, (especially if you don’t fancy bringing a heavy winter coat along), drink plenty of tea, and be prepared for the possibility of snow.
When planning what to pack for London choose tights, leggings, knee-high socks, and thermals like these for extra warmth. Don’t forget the essential winter woollies either: hat, scarf and gloves.
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.
Take a look at the best waterproof boots for travel!
What to Wear in London and the UK in Spring
1. Long Sleeved T (similar) 2. Denim Blouse 3. Sleeveless Sweater 4. Floral Blouse 5. Printed Blouse 6. Flowy Dress 7. Floral Dress 8. Ripped Jeans 9. Jeans 10. Skirt 11. Raincoat (similar) 12. Jacket 13. Rain Boot 14. Flats 15. Crossbody 16. Fedora 17. Umbrella 18. Scarf 19. Belt 20. Tights
March, April & May
Spring is that transition period between winter and summer, so layers are still important when planning what to wear in London, but in the later months think about swapping that chunky coat for a regular jacket.
Find out what to wear on a rainy day when you’re traveling!
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 so you’ll have to wear double layers underneath.
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.
While one of the waterproof boots shown above will work for most trips, here are a few more ideas.
What to Pack for a Trip to London and the UK in Summer
1. Plaid Shirt 2. Printed Sleeveless 3. Long Sleeve 4. Striped Polo 5. Short Sleeve T 6. Shirt Dress 7. Cutout Dress 8. Floral Pants (similar) 9. Culottes (similar) 10. Skirt 11. Jacket 12. Denim Jacket 13. Flats 14. Espadrille 15. Crossbody 16. Sunglasses 17. Umbrella 18. Scarf 19. Hat 20. Necklace
June, July & August
Summer can be warm but can also be very wet – as you plan what to pack for London, be prepared for both. Check bbc.co.uk/weather/ before your trip to get the most accurate forecast. Don’t be surprised if it’s grey and gloomy in the summer!
If the forecast calls for sun, be bright and bold as you plan what to pack for London! Crack out the summer dresses, sunglasses and hats. Once again, be aware of the breezes so you might want to consider layering – sometimes jersey skirts and dresses hold their shape better than wispy skater styles.
You can never go wrong with a leather jacket for cool summer days and nights.
A cardigan and a scarf are essentials layers to any summer outfit in case the sun decides to go in. Use this easy packing tip to help you transform a summer dress into an autumn one if the weather’s cooler than you expected.
A comfy pair of sandals are great for walking about town if there’s sun in the forecast but ankle boots, sneakers, and ballet flats are ideal the rest of the time.
Take a look at these London-appropriate womens casual sneakers for travel!
A note on bags: Personally I am a big fan of satchels for cities and backpacks 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.
Find out why cross-body purses are the best travel shoulder bags for women.
What to Wear in London and the UK in Autumn
1. Pullover 2. Long Sleeve 3. Lapel Loose Blouse 4. Striped Top 5. Sweatshirt 6. Faux Leather Dress 7. V Neck Dress 8. Trousers 9. Skirt 10. Jeans (similar) 11. Raincoat 12. Cardigan 13. Penny Loafer 14. Booties 15. Crossbody 16. Hat 17. Sunglasses (similar) 18. Scarf 19. Umbrella 20. Tights
September, October & November
Autumn is my favorite season in general and also to dress for. I love the crunchy leaves, the mild weather and the earthy colors.
As the transitional period between summer and winter, things start to get colder and milder in the autumn. When planning what to pack for London this time of year it’s time to think about a woolly hat and stylish travel raincoat like these.
If you’re a skirt and dress person rather than a trouser person, then leggings and opaque tights are essential to make outfits a little warmer.
These rainy day outfits are perfect for this time of year!
When planning what to pack for London, remember that scarves are extremely useful and a warm knit option will help keep you warm during this transitional season. When it’s not quite cold enough for a coat, then a jumper or cardigan combined with a hat and a scarf will do. Remember, layering is key!
When you’re planning what to wear in London, 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.
What are your tips on what to pack for London and the rest of England?
Please note: Most of Europe’s Budget Airlines have this Carryon Bag Allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airlines individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
- Lonely Planet England (Travel Guide)
- 10 Step Packing Guide for Europe
- London Summer Style Guide
- England Travel Essentials
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
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Author Bio: Lottie is a student and traveler from the UK. She likes hiking, knitting and cooking roast dinners. Lottie can be found writing about her experiences and travel musings onThe Ambling Explorer; she’s also on twitter@AmblingExplorer