Cultural Experience | London

Packing List for a Weekend in London

The key to a comfortable weekend in London? Layers!

Whether traveling in the midst of winter or on a sunny summer day, London’s weather is never predictable. Here are some must-pack items for a weekend with the Brits.

While every season is different in terms of temperature and color palette, you can always count on London to have mild winters and summers. This packing list is based on the typical 50-60 degree temperatures London faces throughout the year. Needless to say, you may need a thicker layer and scarf or a looser tanktop.

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No matter what the temperature, these are the key items you need to pack!

Travel-Size Umbrella: London’s reputation is true – it rains randomly and the skies are frequently gloomy. Make sure to have an umbrella at all times. It WILL come in handy.

Black Ankle Booties: As one of the key fashion capitals in the world, it is essential to pack a trendy shoe that can withstand miles of walking. They are easy to dress up for a night of cocktails or a daytime walk through Regent’s Park. Express, TopShop and Forever 21 always have a great selection. Worried about taking up precious packing room? Wear them on the plane!

Crossbody Purse: While a tote bag has more space, a crossbody purse only fits the essentials – that’s a good thing! Mango and TopShop always have a variety of shapes and sizes. A “bucket style” purse is the perfect combination of space and fashion. It’s a unique shape yet also fits a small DSLR camera, wallet, Passport, chapstick and sunglasses.

Slip-on Canvas Shoe: Canvas shoes are an easy way to tie together a daytime outfit, without having to stoop to your less-than trendy Birkenstocks. Primark – add it to your must-see shopping list in London – always has various styles and colors for affordable prices. Gray oxford shoes are the perfect example, but any neutral-colored canvas shoe works.

– Washcloth: This may seem like a strange item to add to a packing list but there is always a use for it. Whether your hostel doesn’t supply towels or you spill tea while you’re traveling, it never hurts to pack a washcloth. They take up a lot less space than a bath towel and do the same job.

Dry Shampoo: Everyone should know the wonders of dry shampoo! It eliminates grease, adds volume and is easy to pack. Batiste has an excellent selection of colors and fragrances, all in regular or travel-sized bottles.



Those items are the necessities, no matter what season! Here are a few items that can be swapped in and out depending on your layering needs.

Light jacket: For the fall, winter and spring, a light-weight black bomber jacket is the perfect packing item. It can easily be worn on the plane for extra warmth or paired with a dress for a night out. For the late spring and summer, try an army green jacket. The color is more friendly to the heat and can be worn during the day or night.

Flowy Dress: No matter if it has a floral print or is navy chiffon, a loose-fitting dress is perfect for a quick trip to London. In the fall and winter, pair your dress with a black opaque tights. If it’s hot – surprisingly – wear it without a jacket and add the ankle booties. Whether it’s sleeveless or long sleeve, a flowy dress is a must-pack.

Black jeans: These jeans go with ANY outfit. They can be worn on the plane, during the day, or a night on the town. TopShop has great denim, most made to stretch too! (Who doesn’t love that?)

Cropped sweater: No matter what the season, a cropped sweater is a necessity! They can be paired with a dress if it’s cloudy or jeans on a night out. Urban Outfitters always has cropped sweaters in various colors and materials.

Plaid button up: Currently, Britain is obsessed with 90s grunge. While it may not be as popular in other parts of the world, incorporating elements of grunge is the perfect way to fit-in while also standing out. Plaid is the perfect shirt to pair with jeans while you travel or wear under a bomber jacket on a night out.

Light scarf: Even in summer months, scarves are the perfect accessory to pack. On a plane, they can be the perfect pillow. In the sun, they can protect your shoulders or face. In the winter, they keep you nice and toasty.

So remember, pack your LAYERS. Even in the winter months, the tube is always hot! Make sure every outfit has an outer layer that can be removed or added on. Londoners are known for expressing their style so be bold and wear what makes you happy! Just be prepared – and look good while you do it.

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Emily Poklar

University of Wisconsin - Madison | 3 stories

Emily is a junior studying Strategic Communications at the University of Wisconsin. After spending a semester studying in London, she cannot wait to explore new cities and places.

2 responses to “Packing List for a Weekend in London”

  1. Carole Han says:

    British fashion is partly defined by the country’s infamous weather. It is unpredictable and changeable and when the weather man on the television tells you that it will be sunny all week, be prepared for rain. What to wear in London has everything to do with the weather

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