On This packing list for London, you are going to find everything you need to put in your backpack or suitcase to take with you to London and the United Kingdom.
Packing for London is going to really depend heavily on what time of year you are planning to visit London or whether you’re planning to visit London with toddlers. For example, packing for London in the Summer is going to be very different from packing for London in the winter. One thing I would say is that if you want to look good in London without overpacking, then you need to build a capsule wardrobe.
Also, to be clear this is a packing list for London because that’s where the majority of people are planning to visit in the UK. But it works as a general packing list for the UK.
I do offer some general advice for packing for different places in the UK further into the article so you can plan accordingly. Packing for a walking trip to Cornwall is going to need some extra thought, whereas if you are just visiting cities like London, Bath, and Liverpool you won’t need anything extra.
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What to wear in The UK
In the UK anything goes.
That said how people dress in the UK really depends on one thing… the weather.
Even in the summer, you can’t be sure it’s not going to be cold and rainy. In the UK hope for the best, but always plan for the worst! That means you are going to need a warm coat, good shoes, jeans, and a few jumpers, no matter the time of year.
What to wear in London
Wondering what to wear in London? London is pretty hipster, so anything goes. Jeans, dresses, funky boiler suits… wear whatever you like here!
In London, you will find most people are either wearing business wear or smart casual clothes. London is a pretty fashionable place so if you want to fit in here then maybe leave the hiking pants and boots at home.
When packing for London make sure you pack for what you are planning to do in London. If you know you are going to be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing then you are going to need to prioritize packing clothing that is comfortable but still looks good, and of course comfortable yet stylish shoes or sneakers.
If you plan on hitting the town every night then you are going to need some cute outfits. There is almost always a dress code in London bars and clubs. Often no jeans and trainers (sneakers), so do keep that in mind.
What to wear in The Rest Of The UK
The rest of London is a bit more casual than London. But again you are going to need to think about where you are planning to visit and what you are planning to do there. Use this packing list for London as a guide, but you will need to make adjustments.
If you are visiting mostly cites in the UK then your London wardrobe will be fine. If you are planning on visiting the more rural areas then you will need to pack some more casual clothing, and probably some hiking gear.
The UK has some of the most beautiful hiking, from the Cornish Coast to the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales. If you want to explore rural England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for the matter then you are going to want to pack some good hiking gear and some casual clothes. Your London clothes will be no good here. This is where you need those hiking pants and boots!
UK Travel essentials
First things first, you are going to need some solid insurance. If you don’t believe me then read this. I personally use SafetyWing Digital Nomads Insurance which is an ongoing policy that just renews each month. But before that, I used World Nomads who are the company I would highly recommend if you are backpacking. Both also cover COVID 19 now which is great news for safe travel during the pandemic!
If you just need basic insurance for a shorter vacation then I’d recommend doing a search on Travel Insurance Master.
Does anyone actually leave home without sunglasses? Even in the UK on sunny winter days, you are going to need them. I personally always travel with 2 pairs. One for day-to-day use that I normally just throw in my bag. Then a second pair that are a bit nicer which I wear when I want to take some nice pics for the gram. I always get my sunglasses from Blenders, Glassesshop, or Knockaround as they are good quality, have UV protection, and are really reasonably priced.
Reusable Water Bottle
The water in the UK is safe to drink and readily available. So having a good reusable water bottle is essential. If you are still a little worried then get a water bottle with a filter like this for peace of mind. For a bottle with extra tech, this one is self-cleaning via UVC light, is USB rechargeable, and turns any water into drinkable freshwater. It is also vacuum insulated to keep your water cold for up to 12 hours.
Let’s face it, 2020 changed the way we travel, and there is no going back. Hand sanitizer is something you can no longer travel without and I’m obsessed with this hand sanitizer holder my friend designed. You can buy them in a pack of 2 and the bottles come with it so you can top them up. Not only are they super practical so they clip on o your purse, or luggage but you can also clip your mask on there too, save throwing it into your backpack! It’s vegan leather and you can choose the cute florals (which I have) or a brown and black combo.
Luggage for The UK
It is really up to you what luggage to pack for the UK are you can easily travel here with both a suitcase or a backpack.
If you plan on covering a lot of ground then I would personally suggest a 60L backpack and a small daypack that can easily be packed when traveling. That way you don’t need to worry about dragging your suitcase down cobblestone roads in rural England.
I’ve added images and links for the luggage I have tried and tested in the UK bellow.
If security is a concern for you then I highly recommend getting in Pacsafe backpack for added security and peace of mind. I also wrote this blog post on the best digital nomad backpacks and this one about carry on luggage, just in case they are useful to you. The KnackPack is great for digital nomads with specific space for your tech and all your essentials.
You are also going to need some packing cubes to help keep all of you things organized (and squeeze in a few extra items of clothing). Plus a good laundry bag, toiletry bag, and of course a shopping bag. Alternatively get a backpack with built in packing sections like this one. It hangs like a mini wardrobe too which can be helpful instead of using hotel storage.
Other Useful Things to Pack for London
Over the years backpacking the world I’ve got packing down to a fine art and I have some essential items in my backpack that you might not think of. So here are some things you are going to need that you might not think of!
Laundry Soap and a Nail Brush – Unless you want to be doing laundry every few days, it’s best to just wash out your underwater in the shower each night. To do this I always travel with a bar of laundry soap and a nail brush. It also comes in handy to clean off marks and stains from clothes you are washing. In the UK laundrettes aren’t so common and they can be expensive.
A Travel Washing Line – I love mine, it’s so handy and takes up no room at all.
A Sewing Kit – When you are traveling sometimes you need to make-do-and-mend.
Carabiner clips – So useful for attaching things to your backpack!
Head torch – Equally as useful for camping as it is for reading in bed, or trying to find your way home in the dark.
Ear Plugs – If you are planning on staying in hostels you are going to need these!
A Whistle – I know many people worry about safety and want to protect themselves. I like to carry a whistle just in case I need to pull attention. It might not be as effective as pepper spray, but as that is illegal to fly with too many countries, this is a good alternative.
Silk Sleeping Bag Liner – Another thing that doesn’t take up so much room, but will give you a lot of peace of mind if you need it. Sometimes you might either find yourself chilly or just not wanting to sleep in the bedsheets. So hopping inside a sleeping bag liner helps you get a good night’s sleep, wherever you are…
A padlock – I recommend getting one of these locks so you don’t need to worry about keys. They are TSA approved so you can use them to lock your luggage when flying as well as using it to lock your locker at the hostel.
A sarong – I never travel anywhere without at lease 2 sarongs. I use them to replace my towel, hang over my bed in a hostel for privacy. Wrap around my hair when it’s wet, sunbathe on… I could go on and on. I even make a dress out of mine when I’m at the beach.
Spice Bag – If you are planning to do some cooking then I recommend making a spice bag so you don’t end up wasting lots of money or herbs and spices, or eating bland food for the whole of your trip. I put my spices into ziplock bags and then keep them in one of these clear bags.
Ziplock Bags – I know, I know, more plastic. But they do come in really handy when traveling and you can wash and reuse them so you aren’t throwing them away.
Coffee Flask – Great for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. It also saves you having to use disposable cups when you buy a takeaway coffee.
Clothing to Pack for London
You can see my full London, UK packing list here on Amazon. And you can also download my free UK packing list here. So I’m going to try and keep this section brief.
UK Summer Packing List
For London and travel to other UK cities, pack smart casual clothes that are lightweight and travel well. In the UK we love prints and patterns so don’t be afraid to add some color into your wardrobe!
Make sure you have some comfy shoes suitable to walk in. It’s also a good idea to pack some nice sandals as well as a pair of shoes or boots you can go out in the evening in. Many places you won’t be allowed in at night wearing sneakers.
If you are planning on venturing out into the great British countryside then pack some good hiking boots or shoes, even hiking sandals could work. Plus a waterproof coat and some quick-drying hiking clothing.
Summer Packing List
UK Winter Packing List
Planning a winter trip to the UK? You brave person you!
It’s actually not all that bad, the UK in December all lit up with Christmas lights can actually be really beautiful. When it’s not grey and raining, of course, haha.
It does mean though if you are traveling to London during the winter you will need to pack some warm and cozy layers.
For London and travel to other UK cities, you still want to pack smart casual clothes that will travel well. In the UK winter, go for more muted earthy colors, patterns are still worn a lot. You can pack the same cute dresses you might wear in summer, but just team them with leggings and a chunky cardy!
Make sure you have some comfy boots, rather than shoes to walk in. I wore these last time I was in the UK in winter and they were amazing. Waterproof, warm, and they look great with everything. I also had a pair of these cute ankle boots for going out and if I wanted something a bit smarter. It’s also a good idea to pack some sneakers for exercising.
I mostly wore jeans, dresses with leggings or thick tights, and big jumpers with leggings. Be sure to pack some light sweaters and/ or cardigans, plus a smart warm jacket or coat. I’d also recommend packing a scarf, hat, and gloves.
If you are planning on venturing out into the great British countryside then pack some good hiking boots plus a waterproof coat, fleece jacket, thermals, quick-drying hiking clothing (lots of layers), and some warm socks.
Jeans and wooly jumpers are all great options for the UK, no matter where you are.
Winter Packing List
Toiletries to Pack for The UK
You can very all of the travel toiletries I recommend here on this Amazon list. Many things you can actually buy in the UK easily, so I wouldn’t stress too much about buying a lot of toiletries to travel with. But there are some things that always try and take with me.
Technology to take to The UK
Here are some digital things I’d recommend packing for the UK.
Smart Phone – If you don’t want to take your fancy iPhone traveling, then this is a great phone with a very good camera for under $300. It’s what I personally have and shoot a lot of my vlogs on.
Camera and Tripod – I travel with this DSLR but I also have this mirrorless camera which I often take if I want to use something more discreet. I also love this tripod as I can use it with all of my cameras (even my phone), plus it’s small and light enough to fit in my daypack.
What to Read in The United Kingdom
Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist is a great companion on your trip to the UK. You can get it before your trip to help you plan out all of the best places to go. It’s a go to bucket list of the not to miss places to visit in the UK.
It’s full of beautiful photography and it goes much further than just the typical tourist traps and includes everything from coastal walks, music festivals, and hidden away pubs you must visit.
If you are interested in learning more about the upper echelons of the British aristocracy then this book abut the life of Anne Glenconner is a great read.
She has long been at the center of the royal circle as a life long friend of the Queen and her sister. Her father was the Earl of Leicester and controlled one of the largest estates in England.
Sadly Anne turned out to be “the greatest disappointment” to her father and she was unable to inherit his great estate and instead make her own way in the world while surviving the vipers of court life! And interesting read to see how the ‘other half’ live.
The UK that you will see today is a product of the post WWII industrial revolution.
Nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented series of changes in the wake of the war. Cities grew fast and revolutions in transports, communication, science, and the way people lived happened in quick succession.
Added to these changes was a growing skepticism of religion, a questioning of power resulting in political and social unrest.
In spite if these turbulent times Britain remained strong on a global level which saw it quickly rise as a global leader… this was of course before Brexit!
Us brits are legit obsessed with manners to a fault. Seriously we love nothing more that throwing as many please and thank you’s in to a sentence as we can make fit. And don’t even get me started with our obsession with apologizing for EVERYTHING!
But our obsession doesn’t just stop there, there is so much more to British etiquette most of which will confuse the hell out of visitors from foreign lands.
In this book you will get an illuminating insight in to all of the social rules we are governed by, from never putting your elbows on the table to holding open doors. But this book goes deeper and shines a light on where this crazy obsession with good manners comes from. Its a interesting and quirky must read.
Looking for a novel to sink your teeth into on those long cross country train journeys in the UK. White Teeth is it.
Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.