It’s summer! Or it’s supposed to be. London’s weather has had ups and downs, but my inner Californian is optimistic for blue skies ahead. If you’re traveling to the UK and don’t have room to bring your entire wardrobe with you, here’s my helpful summer packing list for London. Rain or shine, these 6 items will help you travel light and fit in with the locals.

Summer Packing List for London

Summer Packing List for London

I wish someone had given me advice on what to wear in London in the summer when I first moved to the UK. I always found myself caught in the rain, overheated on the tube, or lacking the accessories I needed to survive the vicissitudes of the British weather—four seasons in one day is surprisingly accurate. Now that I’ve learned what I need to thrive, I hope this packing list will help you avoid the pitfalls I made.

Summer Outfit

Summer Scarf
The best summer accessory I own is a scarf. Being Californian, I’d never heard of a summer scarf before. In fact, I thought it was an oxymoron. Who needs a scarf in summer? Londoners, that’s who. And I can’t imagine living in London without one.

Summer scarves are lightweight, easy to pack or carry in a handbag, and add a nice splash of color to an outfit. And that’s to say nothing of how useful they are when the weather suddenly changes. If you’re in the UK, you can get them here. If you’re in the US, you can get them here.

Trench Coat
There’s nothing more British than a classic trench coat, and I’ve gotten more use out of mine than any other item in my wardrobe this summer.

My favorite trench coats are sleek and stylish, and offer the perfect combination of function and fashion. They keep me warm enough to take the edge off the summer chill but not too hot when the wind dies down. I belt them up on rainy days and tie them back on dry ones, and just like that I have the perfect accessory. You can get one here.

Umbrella
Let’s face it: it rains a lot in London. While some locals refuse to carry umbrellas, the practical among us never leave home without one or three in our bag.

Given how often I lose umbrellas, I like to go for a mix of quality and price. I need one that won’t cost a fortune and isn’t going to blow inside out when the wind picks up. I also require one that’s small enough to fit in my handbag, because there are a lot of mornings when I can’t tell whether it will rain or not. If you’re in the UK, get one here. If you’re in the US, this one is just the thing.

Flats
I love to walk. It’s my favorite way to see London, and a great way to get a feel for the city’s unique neighborhoods and lovely details. But given the heel-eating nature of London’s streets, flats are essential for exploring.

I’ve tested out a lot of flats over the years, but my favorites are from French Sole. They’re well-made and durable without compromising on style. They can also dress up or down easily, so they fit with any occasion. Best of all, they’re really comfortable.

If you’re in the UK, get them here. If you’re in the US, buy them here.

Sunglasses
While London isn’t as sunny as California, I still carry my sunglasses everywhere I go. After all, it’s just as common to be blinded by strong rays when emerging from the tube as it is to be blindsided by an unexpected downpour.

All my sunglasses come from Michael Kors. They last forever, have strong cases that can stand up to a bit of battering in my bag, and have great classic features. I only wish I got to wear them more. If you want a pair, check these out.

Bag
At this point you’re probably wondering how I carry all these accessories around with me. Which is why no summer packing list for London would be complete without the inclusion of a bag.

After hearing friends sing their praises for ages, I finally bought a large Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag last year. It revolutionized my London life and travels. It’s roomy, lightweight, and above all, it packs so well it barely takes up any room in my suitcase. I honestly don’t know how I lived without one for so long.

If you’re in the UK, buy it here. If you’re in the US, get it here.

To recap, here is my summer packing list for London:
1. Summer scarf
2. Trench coat
3. Umbrella
4. Flats
5. Sunglasses
6. Bag

How about you? What would you put on your summer packing list for London?

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Summer Packing List

26 Comments on Lady’s Essential Summer Packing List for London

  1. Exactly what I pack for my UK summers. A trenchcoat that I only wear in England (never needed in Dubai), an umbrella small enough to forget about in my handbag, a range of summer scarves for the reasons you give… plus good for putting over your head if you’ve forgotten a hat and it suddenly gets really hot or even sitting on as an impromptu picnic blanket. Shades always… and that bag… off to click the link now.

  2. These suggestions are brilliant. I live in the UK but make frequent trips to London. I do agree with the large Longchamp Le Pliage bag. It is the best carry all bag!

  3. This is a great list! I’ll be visiting in the fall, is the wardrobe similar to summer? I’ve spend summers in London but never fall, I was guessing a trench coat too for fall tho. Great article!

  4. By now I have been to London in every season, and with the exception of mid-December through mid-February, I come with pretty much the same wardrobe. I find that my uniform of cigarette pants, billowy silk blouse, ballet flats and a scarf works 10 months out of the year. I just change up the cover-up, from a blazer/light rain coat, to a pea-coat.

  5. Thanks a bunch for the umbrella tip and link. I’m going to order one today. I’ve used a Kipling Europa bag since 2013 and I love it. I like a bag that I can switch to cross-body when needed and this one works perfectly. It has compartments for everything and I even carry my camera in it. I just bought my tickets for my 8th trip to London a few days ago so this was a very timely post. Although it will be late September when I arrive, I’m hoping for a few blue skies even if fall will be right around the corner.

  6. Hello. Might you consider writing an Autumn packing list? I will be visiting London and Coventry Sept 24 – Oct 2 of this year and would appreciate it.

  7. Hi. Thanks for the advice on summer wardrobe. My question is what should two 17 yr old girls staying and traveling about London and rail to Amsterdam and back wear? Trip is from June 1 to July 15.

    They are especially wanting to dress so as not to draw a lot of attention and comfortably. of course. I’ve seen suggestions for layers of course, due to changing weather conditions. They are considering jeans of varying colors, t-shirts, some short sleeve and some long, camis for cold days underneath, and comfortable tennis shoes for all the walking they will be doing.

    Any advice will be appreciated. I suggested a cardigan over the shirts and perhaps a lightweight rain coat of some sort. I like the one you suggested.

    Thanks for input!

  8. Hello 🙂 I’m planning to visit London in the last week of August until mid September, with a few days to Ireland, Scotland and maybe one or 2 places in Switzerland. The list above is helpful, although it would be great if you could please advise on what type of clothing and shoes would be preferable for these places for the given time. I’m quite lost in that department for now and don’t know what really to wear. You help is much appreciated.

    Thank you 🙂

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