Summer,  Packing Lists,  Seasonal

What to Pack for London in May

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There’s no way to deny it: London is a destination with four distinct seasons. While winters might be more rain than snow, it’s clear when spring arrives (with a burst of blooms across the city!) and obvious again as temperatures improve to signal summer is on the way.

May is a lovely month to visit London because you can sneak into the city before the summer crowds descend in earnest. The weather in the early half of the month is a bit more iffy than later; it gets nicer as May progresses, but you can still have a great time even if the forecast calls for “May showers.”

Pack for London in May Hero

No matter the forecast, you might be wondering: what should I pack for London in May? Below you’ll find some guidance; first, I’ll lay out how longer days and improving weather make May a good time to visit but still require a bit of preparation. Then I’ll share my recommendations for a May London packing list to help you put together what you need. Ready to get your suitcase sorted?

Looking for my suggestions about the top events and things to do in London in May? Click here!

May Sunrise & Sunset Times in London

One helpful piece of info when planning your trip is to have a sense of how long each day is; then you can plan as many activities as you have energy for, given the daylight hours and nighttime activities. Here’s a quick chart of sunrise and sunset times in London in May 2023:

Sunrise5:33 am5:09 am4:50 am
Sunset8:23 pm8:45 pm9:06 pm
Daylight Hours~15~15.5~16

The great part about visiting London in May is the long days – there’s plenty of sunlight as this part of the globe approaches the June solstice and the longest day of the year. (This info is also helpful if seeing a sunrise or sunset during your London visit sounds like an activity you’d like to include in your itinerary!)

London May Weather & Temperature

Longer days generally mean similarly warm weather as summer is approaching; May is the first official month that one might consider summer in London – or at least the second half of the month.

Average high temperatures in London during May are about 65°F (18°) with nightly low averages around 51°F (15°C). This is obviously cooler at the beginning of the month, and warming as the month goes on. There are usually about 8 days of rain during the month – a definite improvement from previous months.

What to Pack for London in May

London in May - Millennium Bridge

If you’re visiting London in May, you might be curious about what to pack. Given that over 25% of the month might be rainy and temperatures haven’t yet reached the hot dog days of summer, I recommend being conservative: pack for London’s spring weather (cool and potentially rainy) with a few items you can use if the weather is truly great.

  • Pack two natural fiber shirts; I love Unbound Merino’s tops (they also have long-sleeve options) which are warm but also breathable and odor-reducing so you won’t need to worry about washing them during your trip. They also look nice enough to wear every day when exploring London, which generally has a nicer dress code than many North American urban destinations.
  • Bring a sweater and a hoodie or light jacket, for laying up if there are any cool days. I don’t think you need a raincoat in May…
  • …but you don’t want the rain to stop you from getting to know the marvelous city that London is, if it is damp during your visit. So, bring an umbrella and your rain boots to stay dry.
  • Even if the forecast calls for rain, sunglasses are small enough to pack for sunny days.
  • Pack a pair of trousers and two pairs of jeans, for every 5-7 days of your trip.
  • Bring a pair of comfortable shoes. While you’ll be relying a lot on public transportation during your trip, you’ll spend lots of time walking around. It’s also nice to have a pair of dry non-boot shoes to wear around your hotel or accommodation.
  • Pack a fancy outfit; some venues and restaurants in London are fashionable and you’ll have to dress up if you want to visit them.

You can always check my list of London essentials too, so you don’t forget anything else you might need (no matter when you’re visiting).

Have any other questions about what to pack for London in May, or any items I didn’t mention that you might need? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie fell in love with London on her first trip to the city way back in 2011. Since then, she spent a year living in London and visits as often as she can (you can find her recent trip recaps here!). She launched LOMM in 2021 to help other travelers fall in love with her favorite city on earth.

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