London is truly one of the worlds great cities and attracts millions of visitors each and every year. Not only is it a global mecca for culture, history, fashion and music – it’s got an incredible scene for nightlife, live theatre, and world-renowned cuisine.
Whether you are headed to London for a weekend trip or as part of a UK tour, packing for London takes a little bit of planning and forward thinking.
Lucky for you – we’ve put together a step-by-step London survival guide that’ll take the guesswork out of your packing strategy. Our goal is to make your prep as stress-free as possible so you can concentrate on the fun stuff – like the actual travel part!
So, let’s get on with it, shall we?
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The Ultimate London Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 11
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Price > $600
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
In this list, we are going to help you choose what to bring to London and what to wear in London.
Best Backpack For London: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for London, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for London checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
We’ve tested countlessday packs over the years, but the Tropicfeel Shell is something else. There are a lot of flashy backpacks on the market but not many come with a detachable wardrobe.
Weatherproof, eco-friendly, durable, feature-loaded, and comfy as fudge brownies: these are just some of the words people might use to describe the Tropicfeel Shell. But we just call it bloody beautiful.Learn More • View on Tropicfeel
Best Suitcase For London: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. Packing a carry on bag will also allow you to take full advantage of the budget flights to London from the rest of Europe.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
Best Camera For London: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Best SIM card For London – HolaFly eSim
The good news about Londinium that there is decent 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food and drug delivery apps. The bad news is that your native SIM card will not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the Bali/Indonesia package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
Toiletry Bag For London – By Nomatic
Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
Make sure you fill it with all you need before you leave. Whilst you can find most things in China, trying to explain the particular kind of hair pomme you need across a language barrier can be challenging.
Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me. Plus they are not too expensive either. A no-brainer essential.
What To Pack For London Checklist: Personal Gear
Word up – it rain a lot in the UK. Even in summer, rain is never too far away. However, the temperature does vary quite a lot between seasons. Summer’s can get sweltering hot (but generally stay mild) whereas winter nights regularly plummet below freezing.
Packing and dressing for London is therefore, an art form you need to master to get the most from your trip.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Londoner’s are stylish. It is therefore worth making a bit of effort and maybe leaving those cargo shorts at home for this one eh?
Good Rain Jacket – Arcteryx Beta AR
Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to here rain here on planet earth quite a lot! It rains a lot in London and you would be a fool to come here without a raincoat.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wing gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars – and believe us, Londoner’s take fashion very seriously.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Money Belt – By Pacsafe
Whilst London is not particularly dangerous, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted. Pickpocketing does happen in Tube stations and near major tourist attractions and the occasional after dark mugging has been reported. With living conditions in the UK descending rapidly, the crime problem is only going to get worse in the near future.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
When buying a money belt don’t cheap out as the budget ones tend to fall apart pretty fast. Instead, hit the button below and check out one of REI’s affordable, reliable offerings.
Waterbottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. Everywhere in London the water is safe to drink. Fill up your bottle each time and carry it with you when you go out in order to avoid buying water throughout your day.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your London trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
Good Daypack – Osprey Daylite Plus
If you intend on doing any hiking, doing a London city tour or bussing around the country then you will need a daypack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
The key to staying warm is to keep our extremities warm. This means a good hat for the head, gloves for the hands and some decent thick wool socks to wear under your boots. If you are visiting London in Autumn or Winter, I recommend getting some of these. I own 6 pairs of these and wear them between October and February in my home city of Liverpool.
Check out our guide to the best gloves and mittens on the markets for a few different options.
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for London
And there it is! Your complete London survival guide for what to pack for London with our practical 22-needs packing checklist, the city’s seasonal breakdown and how to pack for the weather, and specific tips for guys and gals. We also included what not to pack and the best backpack to carry all the gear you do pack.
Remember to focus on a select choice of classic items that you can easily layer and mix and match – with a stylish edge. And, more importantly, include those things that will make your travels comfortable and safe!
And now comes the fun part – get yourself to London and have an amazing time. Big Ben and the world’s best fish and chips await!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!