Wondering what to wear in London in May? In this guide we tell you what to pack for London in May for sightseeing, for the weather and for special events in the city in this month.
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How to Dress for London weather in May
As a Londoner, I can say confidently that London in May is quite a tricky month to pack for. The reason for this is that May is a shoulder season in London. As such you can experience four seasons in a day in May.
Is it cold in London in May? Is it Warm in London in May?
May really is changeable in terms of warmth. Evenings and first thing in the morning can be pretty chilly in London however you can also get some unseasonable warm days so layers is key to any London in May packing list.
Generally speaking however you can say that the temperatures hover around 15C. However it gets warmer as the month goes on.
Is it rainy in London in May?
One of the downsides to visiting London in May is that it can be pretty rainy.
Over half the month will see rain on any given day in May. However it is more likely to come in the form of showers than huge downpours. However we still recommend having a waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes with you.
How Do People Dress In London In May?
Londoners in May tend to wear lots of layers that mean they can cope with whatever the day throws at them.
Jeans are commonly worn by Londoners in May paired with a blouse or t shirt and light sweater or a jacket on cooler days.
And you will find most Londoners will not go anywhere in May without a compact travel umbrella with them for fear of getting caught in a downpour.
What to Wear in London in May
When putting together you wardrobe for London in May I recommend trying to pack a capsule wardrobe to reduce space and potentially even travel with carry on alone.
Some of the key pieces in your what to wear to London in May wardrobe should include
You are unlikely to need a heavy weight coat in London in May however if you will want a top layer.
If you are visiting during a rainy period then we recommend packing a rain Mac which are commonly worn by locals in London.
However if you are visiting during a dry spell, then the best thing is a more lightweight jacket such as a denim jacket.
Although some days a jacket and t shirt will be enough in London I would also advise packing a couple of cardigans and hoodies as an extra layer for cold mornings and nights.
Cardigans are great for restaurants, but hoodies are perfect for the main tourist attractions.
London is a pretty casual city so T shirts are fine for wearing pretty much anywhere in London.
I recommend packing a mixture of long and short sleeve t shirts especially for those traveling in Early May as the weather is so changeable.
Jeans and Trousers
As I mentioned above London is quite a casual city so jeans are perfect for your London packing list whatever time of year you visit.
Also you don’t need to worry about the type of jeans you wear as you will see skinny, ripped, and baggy jeans frequently in London. So just pack the pair you feel most comfortable in.
Dresses are perfect for the evenings in London in May and for warmer days.
However I would always advise you pack a pair of tights to go with your dress in case of a cold snap. Shop dresses here.
I never travel anywhere in Europe without a pashmina. And although you don’t need a thick wool scarf for London in May however a pashmina can transition an outfit from day to night and is useful for if you get chilly.
Goes without saying
Sunglasses are great for London in May on a bright day.
Best Shoes for London in May
My number one pick for shoes for London has to be a sneaker. Sneakers are worn by locals and tourists alike so you won’t feel out of place in sneakers.
Sneakers can definitely cope best with all the walking you will be doing in London and are ok to wear in pubs for lunch.
However I would advise against sneakers at dinner in favour of a sandal or boot depending on the weather.
Also if you plan on going to afternoon tea in London then it should be noted that sneakers are not allowed. Instead you should pack sandals or boots for afternoon tea in London in winter or summer.
What to wear in London in May for Men
In you want to know what to wear in London in May for men, my advise is to largely follow the packing guidance for women.
You will mainly want trousers instead of shorts for London in May. But we recommend packing a mixture of weights from jeans to linen trousers so you are prepared for whatever the weather.
And I would recommend pairing these with a variety of t shirts and long sleeve shirts for evenings and going for dinner in London.
Also you will always want a jacket for London in Spring.
However it is worth noting that if you plan to go to afternoon ta as a guy then you should have smart trousers, a shirt and proper shoes. Also depending on the tea you are going to may mean you need a blazer and tie too.
What Else to Pack for London in May
On top of the above things we recommend wearing in London in May there are some additional non clothing items that should be on your London in May packing list. These are:
- an umbrella – as you are likely to experience showers in May in London.
- Travel Adaptor – London has a different plug system to Europe and the US so you will need a universal travel adaptor for your plug in appliances.
- camera or phone – for taking photographs
- Power Pack / Battery recharger – you will have your phone out lots using apps for transport and for taking lots of photographs so your batteries will drain quickly.
- Crossbody bag – as with any city that attracts tourists, you will find pickpockets. I have lived in London for many years but never had issues with pickpockets but a crossbody bag is a great deterrent.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
What not to wear in London
There are a few things that you should add to your what not to wear in London list. However these should include:
- fanny packs – nothing will mark you out as a tourist quicker in London
- clothes with Union Jack flags – again these are reserved for tourists in London.
Have you got questions about what to wear in London in May that we haven’t answered? Then please leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.