London Packing List: Spring & Summer
It finally happened–summer finally came to London.
I, admittedly, was skeptical that it would ever happen. But suddenly the rain and clouds disappeared and we were given blue skies and +30 degrees celsius weather. The people of London responded by complaining about the heat and sitting out in the parks drinking and working on their sunburns. If I sound jealous, I am. I spend our few weeks of amazing weather working in a basement. The weather has returned to normal now, only about 20 degrees and cloudy.
A typical day in London can see everything from pounding rain, to sun and clear skies, to cold and windy. It feels like a seasonal change every fifteen minutes. Which does make packing for London a bit of a challenge. How do you avoid bringing everything when you may just need everything? Here is my packing list for a week long holiday in London in summer.
Clothes & Shoes
- 3 pairs of jeans (or other trousers)
- 2 dresses (or skirts)
- 2 t-shirts
- 2 singlets
- 2 pairs of tights
- 2 sweaters
- socks/bras/panties (however many you feel you need for the duration of your trip)
- 1 jacket
- 1 scarf
- A comfortable pair of walking shoes (you will walk or stand on the train a lot)
- A pair of flats or sandals
For someone travelling in spring rather than summer there would be only a couple alterations. Rather than walking shoes, you may want to opt for a more sturdy boot (which is good to deal with the spring rain as well). Also, you would want a heavier jacket than you would want in the summer when you need it more for windy/light rain days. I brought my leather jacket which, when paired with a sweater, is good a warm.
In summer you can swap out one of the dresses or skirts for shorts if you want–there are definitely days when the temperature gets high enough that you will enjoy having that option. However, if you are planing to take in a theater show do remember that you will need to have at least one smart casual outfit to meet the dress code. A simple skirt or dress can be made more glamorous with the addition of accessories.
Side note: If you are planning to hit up any of the major or west end clubs then you need to be aware that they can be very strictly dress coded. I’ve heard about girls being turned away simply because they weren’t wearing high heels. Pack accordingly or choose to frequent other venues for your nightlife.
- Camera and extra batteries
- reusable grocery bags
- allergy tablets
The umbrella is no surprise, nor is the camera. You will need sunglasses at some point–even when the sky is overcast, sometimes the quality of light is such that without sunglasses it will hurt your eyes. Though I bet the last two items are not ones you’d think of right off the mark.
Plastic carrier bags in many stores cost an additional 5p. Not a huge amount, but it’s nice to have your own, especially if you are planning on taking advantage of the awesome ready made section of the grocery store. Grocery shops are all over the city–ranging from the cheap and cheerful Tesco selection to the more up scale Waitrose. For a few pounds you can get a good lunch and a drink to bring into one of London’s many parks for a picnic. You can also, fun fact, drink alcohol in the parks here. Technically it is illegal, however it is not enforced unless you are drunk and disorderly. On good weather days you will find Londoners pilled into the parks with bottles, cans, and snacks taking advantage of the sun while they can.
The allergy tablets is also a bit of a surprising addition. I don’t normally suffer from hay fever but in this city I do. Between the trees, flowers, and general air pollution, it is not surprising that many people who usually don’t have problems with pollen do while visiting the city. If you start feeling under the weather, it may be caused by that and taking a quick pill in the morning may mean that you are good to go for the rest of your day.
These are my picks to bring with you to London in both spring and summer. Layers is your most comfortable option to deal with the fact that the weather shifts so rapidly here. Depending on which mood mother nature is in for this part of the day, you simply need to add or remove an item. No real need to dress up in this city–unless you are specifically planning on doing activities that require it. Comfort and versatility is key since you will be spending a lot of time walking in this really awesome city.