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 you plan your own travel wardrobe when traveling 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’s unpredictable and changeable, but here’s a rule of thumb: when the weather forecast tells you that it will be sunny all week, be prepared for rain anyway.
No matter the time of year, always keep a travel-size umbrella in your purse.
Dress for the weather, activity, and 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 local-approved.
In Britain, it’s easy for the traveler to stick out like a sore thumb in walking boots, convertible zip leg trousers, an SLR camera, guidebook, and a backpack. Wearing all this in the middle of London screams, “tourist”! That level of travel gear is more appropriate for countryside treks in the Lake District, for example, not a city.
British fashion isn’t quite as chic as the French, and it isn’t always as slouchy as American fashion or as zany as Australian fashion. It can be edgy or conservative. But one thing’s for sure: just like the rest of Europe, a good fit is key. 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 if you forget anything, you’ll be able to pick it up when you get there, so don’t be afraid to pack 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-height for the winter and ankle boots the rest of the time.
If there’s heavy rain in the forecast, a rubber bootie would work well 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 in 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. Denim Shirt 2. Roll Neck Sweater 3. Cashmere Knit Sweater 4. Peter Pan Collar 5. Oversized Shirt Dress 6. Navy Shirt Dress 7. Skinny Jeans 8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Hooded Pea Coat 10. Winter Jackets 11. Skinny Jeans 12. Cashmere Sweater 13. Prairie Boots 14. Chelsea Boots 15. Plaid Blanket Scarf 16. Leather Crossbody
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 while walking around 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. The key is to wear lots of layers (especially if you don’t fancy bringing along a heavy winter coat), drink plenty of tea, and be prepared for the possibility of snow. Learn how to stay warm in cold weather using these tips.
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 to be 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. Denim Shirt 2. Chiffon Blouse 3. Ruffled Sleeve Blouse 4. Peter Pan Collar 5. Oversized Shirt Dress 6. Dress 7. Skinny Jeans 8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Raincoat 10. Woolen Coat 11. Skater Skirt 12. Cashmere Sweater 13. Flats 14. Chelsea Boots 15. Silk Wrap 16. Leather Crossbody
March, April, and 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, be prepared for muddiness.
While 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. Denim Shirt 2. Ruffled Sleeve Blouse 3. Tie Front Top 4. V Neck Blouse 5. Striped Dress 6. Dress 7. Shirt Dress 8. Skinny Jeans 9. Low Rise Skinny Jeans 10. Poncho 11. Skater Skirt 12. Pleat Midi Skirt 13. Loafer 14. Flats 15. Floppy Hat 16. Leather Crossbody
June, July, and August
Summer can be warm but also very wet. As you plan what to pack for London, be prepared for both. Check BBC 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! Bust out the summer dresses, sunglasses, and hats. Once again, be aware of the breeze and consider layering. Sometimes jersey skirts and dresses hold their shape better than wispy skater styles.
You can’t go wrong with a leather jacket for cool summer days and nights.
A cardigan and a scarf are essential layers for any summer outfit in case the sun is hiding behind the clouds. Use this easy packing tip to help you transform a summer dress into an autumn one if the weather is cooler than expected.
A comfy pair of sandals are great for walking around 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 women’s casual sneakers for travel!
A note on bags: Personally, I am a big fan of satchels for cities and backpacks for countryside. I feel that a satchel with a zip can be safer than many daypacks, which might 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. Denim Shirt 2. V-Neck Jersey Top 3. Chiffon Blouse 4. Peter Pan Collar 5. Oversized Shirt Dress 6. Navy Shirt Dress 7. Skinny Jeans 8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Raincoat 10. Poncho 11. Skater Skirt 12. Pleat Midi Skirt 13. Loafer 14. Chelsea Boots 15. Floppy Hat 16. Leather Crossbody
September, October, and November
Autumn is my favorite season 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, think about a woolly hat and stylish travel raincoat like these.
If you prefer skirts and dresses rather than trousers, choose leggings and opaque tights 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. 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 airline’s 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 on The Ambling Explorer. She’s also on Twitter as @AmblingExplorer.