It’s a destination that’s famous for its inclement weather—especially in the fall and winter months. We’ve created a guide for what to pack (and what not to pack) to experience London with ease.
There are two things every traveler should know about London when preparing to “cross the pond.” First: that unpredictable weather. There will be a chance of rain. Actually, there will be more than a chance of rain. This means waterproof (or, at least, water-repellant) gear is a must. Second: the size. London isn’t small. It stretches to include 606 square miles (976 square kilometers)—an area that is twice the size of New York’s 305 square miles (491 square kilometers). This means your boots—and the rest of your shoes for that matter—have to be made for walking.
Despite its weather, London is truly one of the great destinations for culture, history, and more—you just have to be armed with a few essential items. This time-tested packing list for an urban adventure in London, England—the second article in a three-article series about the best of “The Big Smoke”—will prepare you for a jolly good time.
Day Bag: On a trip to London, I tackled Primrose Hill (one of the most active excursions in London) and positioned my iPhone for the perfect picture with the city laid out below me. It would have been a brag-worthy souvenir if my phone hadn't died at that exact moment. It was then that I promised to carry a portable charger, along with other essentials like an umbrella and a water bottle, in a comfortable day bag. I like to pack a small backpack; it's more comfortable to carry around for a day than a shoulder bag because it can better distribute the pressure of a day's worth of goods on your back.
Multi-Purpose Coat: Coats are bulky, so the aim is to get the most out of the one (yes, one) that you choose to pack. When it comes to London—a destination that’s famous for its rain—this means an outerwear choice that can function in inclement weather. The coat should feature a hood, be water-resistant, and easily transition from day to night. Our advice: a waxed-cotton number that will be so at home in the U.K.
Packing Organizers: The best packers are the most organized. Enter: packing organizers that can make sense of a suitcase. These are especially important when traveling to a wet climate Those who have trotted the globe know that separating their shoes from the rest of their items using a water repellant shoe cube can help keep clothing looking—and smelling—clean. Similarly, keeping dirty items from clean ones with a water repellant clean/dirty organizer keeps those clean items, well, clean.
Power Adapter: Whatever their travel function—camera, navigation tool, lifeline home—our smartphones need power to work. In England, this means remembering to pack an international power adapter that can accommodate a three-prong device (which is what we have in the U.S.).
Sweaters: London’s weather can vacillate between the cold and slightly less cold—wet and slightly less wet. Sweaters (and other layers, including fleeces) are a must. Because, who wants to be cold and uncomfortable when exploring a new destination?
DON’T PACK THESE:
Sunglasses: The odds of you rocking sunnies throughout your off-season trip to London are pretty slim, so why bring them and risk leaving them behind. Instead, opt for a hat that will shade your eyes during the (rare) bursts of sunshine, and that will give you some cover during the (much more likely) rain showers.
What have you found to be a must-have when you visit London? Let us know in the comments!
Related Links (from the Eagle Creek blog):