Ah, London. My favorite city on earth. I’ve traveled a lot, but there’s nowhere quite like London.
If you’re planning your first trip to London (hooray!), you might wonder what it’s like and what to pack for London. Is everyone super formal or fashionable? (Sorta.) Do you really need to leave your jeans and sneakers at home? (YES.) Okay then… What do you need to pack for a trip to London?
I’ve been to London a dozen times between 2011 and 2021, and I lived in London for a year (2012-2013). I’ve packed my bag for London more than any other destination I’ve ever visited, and I’ve got it down to an art. If you are wondering which things to pack for London, I’m the gal to help you out. Before we jump into my packing list for London, here’s a quick refresher on why I recommend some items on this list.
What’s the Weather Like in London?
You probably think you already know this, right? It’s rainy in London… right?
Yes, it does rain in London… but it doesn’t rain all day, every day, all year long! London has distinct seasons, and depending on when you’re traveling to London will have a huge impact on the weather and what you need to pack. Here’s a brief breakdown:
Summer is London’s peak season.
You can expect a lot of tourists to be visiting London around this time. In London in the summer, you can expect warm, sunny weather.
London summer temperatures range between 55°-75°F (13°-25°C) most days. It certainly can rain (check the forecast before you pack!), but it’s not likely too. Instead, expect to dress in breathable, light clothing and bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle.
Autumn is one of London’s shoulder seasons.
Temperatures start to fall, ranging from 45°-70°F (7°-21°C) and getting colder into late October and November.
It will also start to get more rainy as the year winds down. You can see beautiful fall foliage in some parts of London (and the English countryside if you take a day trip). But you’ll want to start thinking about rain gear and layers as you pack.
Winter is London’s rainiest season.
You need to pack appropriately! Pack rain gear and warm clothing to stay dry when out exploring the city. Temperatures range from 40°-55°F (4°C-13°C) in the winter, but it’s possible to get snow 1-2 times per year.
Check the forecast and pack accordingly!
Spring returns to London with March/April showers and May flowers.
I love spring in London, as the city blooms with tulips, poppies, and daffodils.
There’s a good chance of rain in the spring in London, and the temperatures only start to get nice and warm toward the end of the season (ranging from 40°-60°F (4°-15°C)). Bring rain boots to keep your feet dry while exploring the city.
As you’ll see below, some of the items I recommend on my London packing list are more seasonal and you won’t need them all year long. Be sure to pack based on the season you’re traveling to London plus the forecast for your trip.
What You Actually Need to Pack for London
I’ll be honest: I pretty much pack 90% of the same things over and over… and I bet you do too. Also, most packing lists are about 90% of those same things, right?
So instead of giving you a London packing list that’s 90% of what you already know or are already planning to pack (yes, you do need 1 pair of underwear for each day…), here’s a packing list that’s 100% of things you need specifically for traveling in London.
Depending on the length of your trip and when you’re traveling, you might not need all of these items. Based on my own travels though, I’m confident this packing list for London is full of helpful items. It also doesn’t replicate the same list from some other destination – this one’s just for London! Where it makes sense, my husband has also added his own recommendations for what men should pack for London.
1. The Lonely Planet London Travel Guide
Whenever I’m traveling, I like to check out the Lonely Planet guide for wherever I’m going. They always have the most up-to-date info and recommendations for packing as much into a trip as possible. London is a big enough city that it has its own book, which also comes in an ebook format or you can purchase specific chapters you need.
2. A Burberry Trench
While you might not need a trench during London’s summer months, the classic Burberry trench coat is a staple in any London wardrobe, and always looks good. It’s a splurge for one trip, but you’ll get use out of it after your trip. You also might fall in love with London and move there like I did, and then it’s definitely worth having!
Excuse me while I go spend every dime I’ve earned on this blog buying a Burberry Trench now…
3. Cute, Comfortable Flats
If you take my advice on sightseeing in London, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. This is tricky since London is also a pretty fashionable town, and you don’t want to be obvious as a tourist in brand new white sneakers.
If you’re looking for travel flats, I always recommend Tieks. While these are an investment at $175 per pair, they hold up so well while traveling. I put over two million steps into my first pair! Read my review here.
Most people think London is rainy, but as you now know, there are some great sunny, warm-weather months. On those days, London is the most beautiful city in the world, and you’re going to want sunglasses.
If you’re visiting London during the rainy season, you should plan ahead to keep your feet dry and bring stylish rainboots. I know rainboots take up a lot of space in your bag, so you can either pack them with socks, underwear, and other small clothing, or wear them on the plane to save space.
Keeping with the Burberry-esque theme (but not breaking the bank), these plaid pattern boots are cute but not too crazy. You could also opt for traditional black if that works better for your wardrobe.
6. Cross-Body Purse/Day Bag
I fell in love with Cath Kidston, a London bag designer, while living there. In particular, I love her funky and colorful designs (yet not too outlandish because this is sensible London after all).
While the style I used to buy isn’t in production anymore (it’s similar to this saddle bag), there are loads of other great cross-body bags to choose from.
No matter which design you choose, having a small day bag to hold your wallet and camera and other small items is wildly handy.
7. Oyster Card Wallet
To be fully transparent, you don’t need to buy this in advance and pack it for London. You can ask for a free Oyster card wallet when you buy your Oyster card, and the Transport for London people usually have free ones for travelers. But, you gamble not getting a cool design if you do it that way!
I also love this particular design because it has a map of the London Underground in Central London on the inside. You can peek and check you’re on the right train without having to stop and look at the signs in each station (noob move!).
8. Instant Camera
London is one of the most iconic destinations in the world. While I’m sure you’re already bringing a camera and/or your smartphone to take pictures, it is a lot of fun to get actual real printed-off photos from your trip – and the Fujifilm InstaX pops them right out like a Polaroid camera.
I have this style camera that I take on Special Trips (read: always London) but there are other styles if you don’t love this vintage look.
9. Universal Adapter
Whenever you’re traveling internationally, it’s important to stay fully charged to capture all the photos and keep up on any online stuff (*cough* I never take time off because I’m a travel blogger *cough*).
A universal adapter like this is perfect, because it works for all the main zones, including the U.K. It also has two USB ports which help you charge everything up overnight in one go.
10. The London Pass
As I advised in my massive guide to visiting London, if this is your first trip to London, the London Pass is a great idea. You get reduced or free admission to sights all over London, which will help you see the most of what this amazing city has to offer.
You can purchase a London Pass that’s good for 1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 days, depending on the length of your trip.
What Else to Pack for London
Here are a couple of tips to help you pack for your trip to London:
- What to pack for London will vary a lot based on the season you visit. London’s summer months are noticeably drier and warmer than winter months. Be sure to check the forecast before you start packing for London… and pack that Burberry trench anyway because you look damn good in it.
- Adjust your packing list for London based on how long you’re traveling. If you’re only traveling to London for 1-3 days, you obviously don’t need as much clothing as if you’re making a longer trip. My rule of thumb is to pack one top for every two days of travel, and one pair of trousers for every 3 days. Don’t forget extra undergarments and socks!
- Pack for the European fashion standard. London isn’t the most fashion-forward city in Europe – and it’s not as formal as it used to be – but it’s still one of the more fashionable cities to visit on the continent. You can’t go wrong with blacks, neutrals, and solid-colored items from your wardrobe.
Have any other questions? Let me know in the comments!