What to Pack for London

From weather-appropriate apparel to the extras that will come in handy, packing for London is an art. Ensure you'll have everything you need, while saving space to take treasures back home.

What to Pack for London

Not sure what to pack for your London vacation? We’ll help you get prepared for your trip! Get practical tips on packing for London’s sometimes unpredictable weather, learn when it’s best to bring along a scarf and find out everything you'll want to make sure you have in your suitcase for your next trip to the UK capital. We’ve covered all the seasons in this article: what to pack for your trip to London so you can be fully prepared and can concentrate on enjoying this fabulous city - rain or shine.

Our packing rules

We spoke with some inveterate travelers to Europe who shared their absolute best tips on what to pack:

  1. First rule: when in doubt…don’t! First and foremost, everyone brings too much.
  1. If you aren’t sure whether to bring that second or third blouse, that second or third sweater or t-shirt – don’t. You will never need it and you’re costing yourself valuable luggage space for London shopping.
  1. Rent an apartment, not a hotel room. Our gorgeous London apartments are located where you want to stay in London and most of all, they have washers and dryers, so you can pack less.
  1. If you really need another shirt, a skirt, a new jacket – London is the place to shop for one. Prices are a steal during the many sales and you can shop the best brands.

What you’ll need:

London weather can really vary in spring. You’ll have beautiful, warm and sunny days and also rainy periods. You’ll want to prepare for all in an efficient way. As above, you’ll want your lightweight, hooded jacket and down vest, which you can slip into your backpack if it gets warm. 

If you haven’t found one, here’s a great shopping suggestion in London: the popular UK shop Joules does cheerful, and stylish raincoats. London is one of the design capitals of the world; you’ll enjoy finding new upcoming designers and shops. Favorites include Karen Millen, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Debenhams and Primark. On Kensington High Street, visit Jigsaw for high-end clothing or buy some upmarket ballerina flats at Pretty Ballerinas on the King’s Road. Read more about shopping in this area in our guide to Kensington.

In summer, London temperatures rise but it doesn’t always mean hot and sunny! Prepare for sun and rain. The tube, or London subway can be warm so you’ll want to wear layers such as a t-shirt, blouse and sweater - so you can remove them as needed. Packing a sweater or pashmina for evenings is wise for warm layering and also a stylish addition to day wear if the sun’s hiding. Summer sales mean you can purchase anything you might have forgotten or need at the last minute. There are incredible discounts, so you may want to leave space in your case.

Early fall can be warm, or it can be quite cold and wet toward the end of the season. It’s a trickier time of year to pack for but layering with a vest, cardigan and jacket is a good idea at this time of year. It’s best to have options for warmer days too though, such as cotton t-shirts and shirts. If you are museum hopping during the day, you’ll definitely want your ballet flats or slim sneakers too. Stay at our lovely and spacious Gloucester, a family rental that sleeps six, located moments from Museum Row and pop home if needed.

The UK winter is renowned for being cold and it can include snow. It’s lovely to see a blanket of white over the city when you are wrapped up in chunky knits, a cozy hat and scarf, and a smart and stylish winter coat. Our travelers say they only need a heavy coat in January or February. If you don’t have one, there are plenty of reasonably priced stores in London to outfit you.

Head back to one of our snug apartments where you can grab supplies and cook up a feast for loved ones after a day of sightseeing, shopping or taking in the amazing Christmas light displays.

Our bottom line is bring less and think in terms of layers, coordinating color tones and comfort. Enjoy your trip!

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