The Ultimate London Packing List
Trying to work out what to pack for visiting London? Leave it to us: we've compiled the ultimate London packing list.
When a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life, said Samuel Johnson. To that end, the British capital has an endless array of entertainment, amusement and information for visitors from every walk of life. But unless you’ve visited the city before, it can be hard to know what to bring – no-one wants to look like a clueless tourist, after all. To that end, here's Plum Guide's ultimate London packing list, to ensure absolute immersion in English culture and customs without leaving a crucial item behind.
How to choose your suitcase
With its many hills, cobblestone streets and potholes, London can be a tricky place to wheel a suitcase. We’d strongly advise packing your belongings in a suitcase with wheels - that way when you discover that you misheard the taxi driver’s instructions and you have to schlep back up the hill to your luxe apartment, it’ll be a snap to wheel your luggage.
The picturesque cobblestones surrounding this former coach house located on a mews road in Kensington are ready and willing to play host to your suitcase. If you’re hoping to see London’s museums, this is an ideal property. Located on a quiet street yet within a hop, skip and a jump to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, you couldn’t be more central if you tried. And of course, those gorgeous interiors and cute-as-a-button streets don’t hurt either.
What to wear (and what not to)
You know what they say about England: the weather is the main topic of conversation. And trust us, never has a truer statement been made. In defense of the Brits, however, they’re always talking about the weather because it’s always changing. Raining one minute, sunny the next and chilly by the afternoon, your London packing list should reflect the ever-changing climate. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting in summer or winter; rain, wind and dampness will always be on the agenda here. Just check out how much we emphasise the importance of layers on our weatherproof England packing list if you don't believe us.
You should definitely pack a waterproof jacket (to fit in in England, call it a ‘cagoule’), preferably with a hood, and if you’re visiting in the colder months then a warm coat is essential. One of the benefits of such unpredictable weather is that when it’s cold, everyone struts their stuff in fashionable coats of all sizes and colours. You want to fit in, don’t you?
Even when it’s not raining, the temperature in London can fluctuate wildly from one day to another. How to combat this? Layers. For your London packing list, it’s essential to bring a selection of sweaters (start calling them ‘jumpers’ now to fit in), long and short sleeved tops and a jacket or two. This is especially relevant if you’ll be jumping onto the London underground to see the city. Temperatures on the tube can be sweltering and then when you exit the station you’ll feel frozen again at the first blast of cold air, so you have to be prepared for all eventualities.
A pair of sturdy, waterproof walking shoes is a must - we’ll leave it up to you if that means a stylish brogue, a limited edition trainer or a chic leather walking boot. Be prepared to jump over the many puddles with the other Londoners.
London’s style in general is chic with a funky, slightly grungy edge, so dress accordingly. Brits love to dress up for dinner and you don’t want to be the only underdressed one in the restaurant.
Speaking of never being underdressed, for an apartment with a luxurious feel (you deserve the best), this offering in Knightsbridge has the kind of chic features you’ve been dreaming about. A few minutes walk from Harrods, you can spend the afternoon updating your wardrobe in the famous department store before collapsing onto the enormous bed to rest.
Alternatively for a flat with interiors as stylish as you are, this Bayswater property is a colourful choice. The balcony here is the perfect spot for watching the people go by and getting next season’s style inspiration.
Miscellaneous items to ensure a fabulous trip
Whatever you do, don’t forget an umbrella. Londoners never leave the house without one - you never know when it might start raining (or hailing, or snowing) and you don’t want to risk your perfectly coiffed hair getting wet, we’re sure.
A camera is an essential item also. If you’re hip enough to be holidaying in this city of cool, you want to document it. This flat overlooks the Camden canal, where you can practise your still life shots of boats on the water. The floor to ceiling windows and gym downstairs don’t hurt, either.
One simply can’t travel without a good book, also. We’d recommend a tome about London itself, to get you into the spirit of the city. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, set in upmarket Westminster, Swing Time by Zadie Smith set in northwest London and Hampstead and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, set in a grimy Victorian London of years gone by, will all paint a picture of this wonderful city. If you're a real book nerd, London's many fabulous bookstores are sure to please.
There you have it: the ultimate London packing list. Now all you need to do is book your perfect rental home. No matter if you're staying in Wembley or Westminster, Plum Guide's homes in London are expertly vetted by our very picky home critics, so you know you're in for a great night's sleep wherever you choose to lay your head.