Jet setting to London this summer? Trust me, you’re going to want to do some research on what to pack for London. I referenced Google, friends and travel bloggers for advise on a London packing list before the trip, and decided to make this list of my own based on personal experience on multiple trips to the city. London is a place of beautiful architecture, bustling culture and of course, the prestigious royal family. Rolling green hills, old world architecture, and refined country style was my first experience of London, spending most of the time on the countryside visiting SOHO farmhouse in a dreamy, storybook setting. My most recent travels took me back to the city, staying in and around the main city center of London. There were views of all of the major icons including Big Ben, Buckingham palace, London Eye, Westminster and so much more. We had the chance to see the insider’s view of the Royal Windsor Horse Show from the river along the Queen’s back garden, and were surrounded by press as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally gave their first reveal of little baby Archie while we were in the city.
London is unique to US travels, as fashion is different, traffic is a bit more of a jam, and it rains… a lot. Amidst the beauty, rush, and amazing pot roast, I put together a few packing tips to help you avoid some of my own faux pas moments navigating through the city. After traveling through several countries in Europe and Asia, I’ve got my packing down to a science in order to keep the load light, while finding everything I need tucked neatly in a carry on. Here are one travel blogger’s tips on what to pack for a trip to London.
1: Lightweight sweater
Somehow, it’s easy to forget that London is further north than anywhere in the US, including NYC and Maine. Even in the summer times, it gets a bit chilly, especially in the evenings. The average temperature in June is just a high 70º, with lows in the 50º’s. When traveling to London, pack a light sweater that’s neutral enough you can pair it with most of your outfits, or grab a couple if you’re not traveling in the heart of summer. I brought a lightweight, very warm luxury cashmere cardigan from Grana. It’s my go-to grab for a neutral layer that goes with just about everything, and I wore it nearly ever day during my trip in late May.
2: Pack a rain jacket
London has a reputation for being a rainy city. There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is, the Met Office Climate data records an average rainfall of 106.5 days in a year. That’s nearly 30%, so if you’re there a few days, the odds are, it’s going to rain. The good news is, it really doesn’t rain that much. Most days hold just a light sprinkle, with a majority of partly sunny hours even when it does rain. However, if you’re traveling to London and staying more that a day or two, pack a rain jacket. There are moments when it downpours, and you’re not going to want to get stuck without some cover. Don’t want to pack a bulky umbrella? Duck your head and make a dash for the nearest pub to grab a pint and meat pie until it passes. You won’t be disappointed.
3: Sensible, comfortable shoes
As most countries in Europe, plan to do a lot of walking. Even if you decide to rent a car, parking is limited, and you’ll find yourself taking quite a trek even for a coffee in most cases. London isn’t as dressy as Milan or other fashion capitols. For the most part, dress is casual, and a comfortable pair of flats, boots or sneakers are going to be the best option for footwear during your travels. I packed along this pair of ballet flats from T&N.
You may have heard of T&N flats from press in Vanity Fair, Lucky Magazine or other mega fashion powerhouses. They’re revered as some of the softest ballet flats you’ve ever worn, and I must say, I agree. Most ballet flats tend to rub the back of my heels, these were comfortable even after hours of walking in London city.
T&N ballet flats are an affordable luxury essential that work perfectly to provide effortless style during your London travels. The quality is excellent, leather buttery soft, and the extra footpad grips on the bottom make them perfect for walking the slippery, wet streets of London. They have a variety of colors that are available for any look or occasion. Subtle gold accents give them a bit of feminine personality as well. If you’re not familiar with the brand already, there are quite a few positive T&N flats reviews out there, and you can also check out my T&N ballet flats review that covers the comfort, sizing, brand story and more.
4: Casual, timeless clothes
If you’re going to be in London in summer, pack casual. This is not a city of stilettos and evening gowns. While Londoner’s have a classic, iconic sense of fashion, they’re far from flowery, and tend to be based off of comfortable, luxury basics. You’ll find what the fashion forward girls of London are wearing in articles from Who What Wear that features a variety of street style looks from big name luxury fashion bloggers. You can find them, however, don’t expect it to be the norm. I found this article from Career Daily that gives a much more accurate take on what London girls are wearing. Jeans, blouses, blazers, luxury accessories and sensible shoes all in neutral shades is the ideal dress to blend in the casual, fashionable atmosphere of the London streets.
I traveled with a girlfriend who always wears bright colors and mixed patterns… she got a lot of stares. Not to say that’s wrong, if you don’t mind sticking out, embrace your crazy and rock what makes you feel good! But don’t expect the locals to understand.
For my trip, I packed several timeless essentials from David Lerner. I’ve been a huge fan of their casual office to cocktail essentials for years. This long maxi dress was the dressiest piece I wore, and the rest of the trip I found myself in leather leggings, bodysuits and jeans.
5: Luxury handbag
Speaking of luxury accessories, the London fashion scene has a strong rooted sense of quality and luxury in a few key items that tie their looks together. Don’t expect them to be flaunting labels like luxury fashion bloggers do in the US. Europeans understand the true meaning of luxury is an experience of the finer things for one’s own pleasure and enjoyment. A silk blouse and Italian leather handbag hold a lot more value to them as something that can be felt and enjoyed, rather than a “Gucci” plastered t-shirt with rhinestones.
Having said that, go ahead and pack your favorite luxury handbag as a chic go-to accessory to layer over your casual attire. My top pick was the new Dior saddle bag in navy, that could be worn with every outfit on the trip.
6: Re-fillable water bottle
As with any trip that will require a lot of walking, I encourage you to bring a refillable water bottle with you as you stroll the city. I brought this one from Healthish that even let’s you know how you’re doing on your recommended water intake per hour. You’ll rarely see me without it, and I can usually get through 4-5 full bottles a day. Hydration is so important, and I have no intention of sacrificing health for forgetfulness to stay hydrated. The design is also minimal and chic, perfect for the London backdrop.
7: Travel face masks
In addition to staying hydrated, make sure you’re taking care of your skin. If you’re going to be in London city, they do an excellent job of keeping the city clean. However like any big city, transportation vehicles, commercial waste, and general pollution may leave your skin feeling dry or dirty. I felt the same working in NYC so I went prepared. I brought these portable face masks from Dermalogica to help get the grime off at the end of the day. These little rapid reveal peels from Dermalogica are clinically proven to enhance radiance and visibly reduce fine lines. I’ve used many of their products before, so it was an easy choice for me. It’s a mini refreshing luxury to enjoy when you get back from your room after a long day exploring the city, or a nice way to kick off the morning while you’re enjoying coffee in the room. The travel case and small bottles made this treatment TSA friendly and a nice treat to indulge your skin.
8: UK Power adapter and power bank
Don’t forget the UK has different power outlets! Bring an adaptor or two to charge your devices. If you’re planning a long day out, a portable power bank isn’t a bad idea to carry with you in case you need a quick charge between stops. While I’m not an advocate of living on your phone, you’ll want it charged to help you find the best restaurants, views, and of course, you’re way home at the end of the day. You can even use Google maps to help you take the tube around the city like a true local.
9: Travel documents
Hopefully if you’re traveling to London, you already know to pack the basics, but for the sake of being all-inclusive, be sure to pack all necessary international travel essentials like your passport, cash and credit cards activated for your trip so you don’t get stuck without a means of currency. If you’re bouncing around from country to country in Europe, most countries do accept Euros even if it’s not their official currency. Just don’t expect change back in the same currency. London’s local currency is the pound, and you can find the best rates at ATMs rather than the high-charged exchange stations in the airports. Do pull some cash at the airport, since it will be a guaranteed ATM location. Most places will take cards, but often times taxis, food stands and other local indulgences will only accept cash.
A few things I packed and didn’t end up using…
Don’t pack heels. Or if you’re adamant on doing so, keep it to one pair. I brought 3, and didn’t wear a single one. Flats are definitely the way to go, and you won’t find the locals braving the streets in unreasonable footwear. I also over-packed summer clothes and formal wear expecting the temperatures to be a bit warmer – the safe side of London is casual, sophisticated layers. I packed a small pouch of jewelry and ended up wearing only the same minimalist essentials the whole week. Jewelry is small to pack, but it can weigh down your bag. Pack as little as what’s necessary.
To keep it simple, if you’re wondering what to pack for London, keep it minimal, timeliness and comfortable. You’re going to want to spend the most time exploring the city, soaking in the rolling green countryside, and drinking as many pints with meat pie as you can. Don’t get weighed down with access, and enjoy your trip! If you have questions, send me a message, I’d love to help you with tips for your holiday.
In accordance with the FTC regulations for Influencers, this is a sponsored post in collaboration with T&N, David Lerner NY, Dermalogica, Healthish and others. Most items have been gifted. All thoughts, comments and musings are made of my own opinion and honest, personal experience with the products reviewed or mentioned. I hope you’ve found this post informational and inspiring!