Heading to the UK and wondering what to pack? Our definitive UK packing list has everything you need for your UK trip whatever the season.
In this article, you will find out exactly what to pack for your UK vacation to ensure you are prepared with everything you need and not under (or over) packed for your trip.
There are a number of things to consider when preparing your UK packing list including:
- What time of year are you visiting the UK?
- Where are you visiting in the UK?
- How long will you be in the UK?
- What places are you visiting? (cities, countryside)
- What types of activities do you intend to do?
- Will you be based in one place or travelling around the UK?
- What transport will you be using to travel around the UK?
Planning and preparation are the best steps to take to ensure you pack exactly what you need for your trip. Take into consideration your answers to the above questions as you read this article.
Read on for my essential UK packing list.
- Things to consider when packing for your trip to the UK
- Essential travel items – don't leave home without these!
- UK packing list
- What to pack for UK travel all year round
- What clothes to pack for London & the UK in winter
- What clothes to pack for London & the UK in summer
- What clothes to pack for London & the UK in spring & autumn
- Enjoy your trip to the UK!
Things to consider when packing for your trip to the UK
The time of year you are visiting the UK can influence what you will need to pack. Broadly speaking the UK is warm in summer and cold in the winter.
The climate is however notoriously unreliable. For example, May can be a glorious month with hot sunny days one year but a gloomy washout the next.
Expect rain. And expect weather patterns to change rapidly. Sunny and warm one day but raining and chilly the next.
Packing tips to prepare for UK weather
- Pack layers so you can add or remove clothing depending on the temperature.
- Expect the weather to be cooler the further north you go (at all times of year)
- Bring an umbrella all year round. Rain is one guaranteed feature of UK weather!
Ensure you pack comfortable footwear. If you are planning to buy new shoes for your trip make sure you wear them before you travel. There is nothing worse than acquiring a blister or two on your first day.
In winter I recommend boots. Ensure that they are waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry.
In summer sandals are fine especially on warmer days. Avoid flip flops as they are not the best footwear in the UK at any time!
Sneakers are a great option all year round and practical for most activities. Just ensure that they are waterproof.
I recommend planning carefully when it comes to deciding what luggage to use. If you are travelling round the UK by train for example you may want to reconsider taking an enormous suitcase!
I recommend a medium-sized wheelie suitcase for UK travel. If you want to take one carry on only it is important to check size requirements with your airline as some airlines are more generous than others.
Consider your weight allowance too. If your suitcase is full and/or at its weight limit on your outbound flight it means you can’t buy any souvenirs when you are in the UK! An expandable suitcase would be an excellent option for those of you intending to purchase gifts and souvenirs of your trip.
I also highly recommend using packing cubes as an efficient way to arrange your suitcase. It took me a while to be convinced but not I use them every time I travel. They are particularly useful if you are planning to change locations during your UK vacation as you can pack clothing into packing cubes for each destination.
Make sure your bag/suitcase is easily manoeuvrable and lightweight especially if you are intending to use public transport in the UK.
Essential travel items – don’t leave home without these!
UK packing list
Items you will need all year round!
Read – Guide to UK voltage
Toiletries and personal items checklist
Medicines & First Aid
What to pack for UK travel all year round
I recommend taking a small selection of clothes you can mix and match.
Darker colours are best in winter. You will notice (especially if you are from the southern hemisphere) that people in the UK wear A LOT of black. Brighten up your outfits with a pretty scarf or two!
The number one rule for the UK at any time of year is to pack layers.
What clothes to pack for London & the UK in winter
In winter I recommend packing a decent waterproof coat, a pair of waterproof boots, warm socks, a scarf and a couple of sets of hat and gloves (so you have a spare if one gets wet)
You will discover that many shops in the UK are really hot in winter so it is useful to remove layers easily.
The London Underground can also be stifling even in winter so it is best to dress in layers to avoid overheating.
What clothes to pack for London & the UK in summer
In summer I would swop winter sweaters for a few more T-shirts. Pack a couple of pairs of shorts, cropped trousers and linen trousers.
Don’t forget to pack a sunhat and your sunglasses.
Find more packing ideas in my UK travel packing essentials guide which complements this post.
What clothes to pack for London & the UK in spring & autumn
The temperatures in spring and autumn can vary wildly! Again I recommend packing layers – the weather could be warm one day and cool the next.
I would forget the shorts and pack an extra pair of jeans and/or linen trousers.
You should be ok with sneakers rather than boots in April/May and September/October.
Enjoy your trip to the UK!
With this packing list you will be fully equipped for your UK vacation. Just remember less is more and there are some great stores in London if you find you need an extra few items!