Although it lacks the major runways of Paris or Milan, London is still a cosmopolitan city of Europe and dressing accordingly means leaving the graphic t-shirts, sweatshirts and worn-out leggings off of your packing list. But it is possible to pack for a variety of occasions and the erratic weather in England in May and June without packing your entire wardrobe with these few packing tips.
Rain and Weather Ready
London in May brings cold weather, with temperatures averaging 46 degrees Fahrenheit while highs reach around 62 degrees. In June, average low temperatures hover around 53 and top out around 68 degrees. Although London gets just a little more than an inch of rain each month, rainfall is spontaneous so you don’t want to be caught without a rain jacket. Be sure to add rain boots (or “wellies”) and thick socks to keep your feet warm and dry to your London packing list. For added comfort, bring a light raincoat and a compact umbrella that you can easily carry, as well as a lightweight scarf, hat and gloves for when temperatures dip in the evening. Better yet, buy yourself some quality woolen souvenirs to keep out the damp chill, but leave room in your carry-on to bring them home with you or plan to wear them on the plane. London weather can be unpredictable, so a tried and true travel tip is be sure to check the weather forecast prior to leaving so you know whether to prepare for a heat wave or pack a winter coat (or both).
Cover the Basics
The premiere events in London this time of year are the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May), a massive event with show gardens and horticultural displays, and Trooping the Color (June), an enormous military parade with royalty, cavalry brigades and marching bands. Both events require extensive standing and walking, as does any attempt to tour the city. Some of the streets in London are cobblestone so leave the flip flops behind and opt for a sturdy pair of shoes such as ballet flats with padding oxford shoes or chunky ankle boots with flat or low heels. Dress in layers to remain comfortable while sightseeing in fluctuating temperatures, including layering short sleeve shirts or camisoles, blouses or button-down shirts and trench coats or cardigan sweaters. Should the sun decide to peek out, sunglasses and sunscreen will protect you against powerful rays during your London trip.
Dress Up in London Town
The city provides an array of upscale settings year-round, including high-end gourmet restaurants, elegant tearooms and the West End’s bustling theater scene. For a look of sophistication, women should pack tights, boots, a jersey-knit dress or skirt and sweater while men should bring dress slacks, classic loafers and a light jacket or jumper with a collared shirt. You will also find more down-to-earth spots, such as a pub filled with football fans. Blend into the scene by donning a British Premier League team jersey, khakis or cotton-blend pants and comfy shoes as crowded pubs frequently require a lot of standing.
Pack These Absolute Essentials
London is an expensive city so carry plenty of cash or credit cards in a secure location, such as a fanny pack, money belt or cross-body purse or satchel. Travelers from overseas will need a passport and U.K. plug adaptor and universal travel adapter for their smartphone, camera, laptop charger, kindle, and even hair dryer. For added security, keep your passport in the hotel safe and scan and email a copy to yourself and a family member or friend back home before embarking on your trip. Purchase a seven-day or monthly Oyster card from a station vending machine or kiosk and you can ride the Tube, Docklands Light Railway and Overground during that time frame. Carry a pocket guidebook for reference points, attraction information and historical facts.