So you’re coming to London. You have your passport ready, your flights booked, and your hotel sorted. You’re excited to touch down and start exploring the UK capital. But first you have to pack. And while that might be easy for some, it could be daunting for you. If it is, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to how to pack for London. Wherever you’re traveling from and however long you’re staying, it can help.

How to Pack for London

How to Pack for London

First things first: you need something to pack in. Whether you’re planning to pack a suitcase or a shoulder bag, I recommend traveling as light as possible.

London is big and crowded, so being burdened with bulky luggage can be a pain.

I’ve written previously about how to pack with just a carry-on, and also about my favorite suitcase, so if you’re in need of luggage and packing tips, I suggest checking out those posts before you start.

Clothing to Pack for London

Once you have the right bag for your trip, it’s time to fill it up with the right things to wear in London.

What clothing to pack for London depends on when you’re visiting, but no matter what time of year you travel I advise dressing in layers. London’s weather is unpredictable, so it’s good to be prepared.

My seasonal packing list blog posts offer specific tips on how to pack for London in winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Depending when you plan to visit London, I recommend checking out the relevant post.

A Lady in London

Accessories to Pack

Accessories can be seasonal, too. The trends change every few months, so stay tuned for what’s in style if you want to dress like a local when you’re in town.

In addition to trendy accessories, having a good umbrella is crucial in London at any time of year. If you’re in the UK, I recommend this one. If you’re in the US, this one is just the thing.

Gadgets to Pack for London

As far as gadgets go, there are a few things I’ll suggest for how to pack for London.

I swear by my Bose in-ear noise-canceling headphones, whether to keep me entertained on the tube or to help me survive a long-haul flight to London.

They are the most important things I travel with, including my passport. I would rather stay home than travel without these headphones. If you’re in the UK, you can get them here. If you’re in the US, you can get them here.

My eBook reader is another lifesaver on long tube journeys, train rides, and sunny days in London’s parks. If you’re in the UK, you can get one here. If you’re in the US, you can get one here.

And when it comes to my phone, I’m never without a portable charger, as a day out in London can drain my battery like nothing else. If you’re in the UK, you can get one here. If you’re in the US, you can get one here.

As far as my phone itself, there are a few apps I always use to help me navigate London. Google Maps is a must, especially in the maze of streets in Soho and Covent Garden.

Beyond that, pretty much everyone I know swears by Citymapper to get around on foot, tube, or other transport.

Neal's Yard in Covent Garden

Books to Pack for London

Whether in physical or eBook form, there are a few books I recommend packing for London.

I’ve mentioned before that Watching the English is the expat bible. It offers crucial cultural advice for visitors and locals alike, and it’s one of my top pieces of advice for how to pack for London. You can get it here.

When I moved to the UK, I also relied heavily on a book about the best day trips from London. If you’re planning on taking one, it’s a good thing to get. You can get it here.

As for London literary highlights, I always reach for Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway for inspiration. It’s beautifully written and its pages take me on a virtual tour of London. You can get a copy here.

If you want more literary advice for how to pack for London, I’ve also written a blog post about the best London books. It has lots of recommendations for you.

Daunt Books in Marylebone

Necessities to Pack

For basics, there are a few necessities I rely on in London. My guide to how to pack for London wouldn’t be complete without them.

Beyond the usual toiletries, I always have moisturizer to keep my face hydrated during the dry winter months and sunscreen to keep me from looking like a lobster in the summer (yep, you can get sunburned in London).

Earplugs are also a staple, especially when trying to fall asleep in central London. In my last flat I slept with earplugs every night for five years. You can get the kind I swear by here.

An eye mask is also a lifesaver during the summer, when it gets light around 4am. If you’re in the UK, you can get one here. If you’re in the US, you can get one here.

How to Pack for London Beyond the Basics

Beyond these things, a sense of adventure and a lot of energy for exploring are essential. It’s an amazing city, and there’s enough to see and do here that after over a decade of of living in London I’m still not done discovering it.

How about you? What are your tips for how to pack for London?

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How to Pack for London

8 Comments on Lady’s Guide to How to Pack for London

  1. Just discovered your blog,and will book mark it so I can read all your posts .I never tire of London!!
    Thanks Jandrew

  2. Very good list, Julie!

    The first thing I think about when packing for London is… an umbrealla 🙂 No matter what time of the year I’m going I’ll always bring one!

  3. Just found your blog and looooooove it! So much tab I opened all at once. Looking forward to your tips on packing for Spring as I will be heading to London next month! Keep inspiring.

    All the love from Indonesia. <3

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