Looking for the perfect guide to what to wear in London in Winter? In this guide we will tell you everything you need to know for visiting London in Winter including what to pack for London in Winter. It includes information on Winter weather in London, local winter fashion styles and how to dress for special events in the Capital.
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London Winter Weather
The weather in London is notorious for being changeable no matter the time of year you are visiting. However this is particularly true for Winter.
Winter in London is classified as December, January and February. And as you would expect from any European country in Winter it can get quite cold in Winter. But how cold is it?
How cold is London in Winter?
No matter whether you are visiting in December, January and February, the average temperatures are actually pretty consistent. They tend to hover between 4C/39F – 9C/48F consistently however there are definite anomalies and outliers as well as the temperatures feeling chilly with the wind chill.
Looking at these temperatures you can see that lots of light layers are the key to successfully packing for London in Winter.
Is it rainy in London in December?
While the winter temperatures in London remain pretty consistent you will find that there is more variation in the levels of rain you can expect.
January tends to be the rainiest of the Winter months in London. (and the unofficial winter month of November in London is also pretty wet). However you are likely to see rain on any London Winter vacation.
For this reason we recommend packing a waterproof top layer and never leaving the house without a compact travel umbrella in your handbag like a true Londoner.
Does it Snow in London in Winter
Although we love to think of a Wintery London snowy scene, the truth is that snow is not all that common occurence in the Capital.
And you are certainly unlikely to get a white Christmas when spending Christmas in London. And even if you did it would be a sprinkling rather than a wealth of settled snowgall.
The snowiest month in London is February however even then it is not guarunteed and the level of snowfall really depends year on year.
Therefore you shouldn’t overly concern yourself with packing for snow when visiting London in Winter however we do always recommend checking the forecast at your destination(s) 7 days out from travel to make sure there are no expected weather fronts i.e. heatwaves or cold snaps.
Note: if you want more specific guidance on specific winter weather in London check out our monthly posts:
- What to wear in London in December
- What to wear in London in January
- What to wear in London in February
How do local people dress in London in Winter?
Locals in London know how to rock a Winter Capsule Wardrobe and they know that layers are key to any outfit at this time of year.
Generally speaking local Londoners tend to dress practically in Winter and for the occasion. Also as London is quite a liberal city you are likely to see all manner of fashion styles and formalities.
Therefore I think the way not to look like a tourist in London is to be comfortable in what you are wearing.
What to Wear in London in Winter
When looking at what to pack for London in Winter, layers are going to be your best friend no matter whether you are traveling in December, January and February.
We always recommend not overpacking when traveling however this can prove trickier in Winter due to the layers required. For tips on how to pack light in Winter check out our guides on the 54321 packing method and the sudoku packing method here.
What to Wear in London in Winter for Women
A coat is my number one pick for any London Winter packing list no matter the month of travel. Now depending on what your itinerary entails depends on the type of coat you should pack.
If you are planning on spending lots of time outdoors then a practical coat like a parka jacket is a great pick. However you will also see smarter wool coats on the streets of London too. Therefore I recommend packing the style you feel most comfortable in.
It is worth noting that the London underground in Winter it can be a hot and stuffy place. Therefore you want to have lots of light layers that are easy to remove.
Wool Hat or Beanie, scarf and gloves
Along with a coat I recommend packing Winter accessories such as a hat, scarf and gloves. If you are planning on taking a lot of photographs while visiting London in Winter you would be best advised to take gloves that have a sensor that makes it easier for you to use your photos.
My number one trouser for London in Winter are a pair of jeans. And one of the great things about London is that you will see all sorts of styles. So whether you feel most comfortable in dark, lightwash, or ripped jeans you should feel comfortable packing the style you like best.
Another great thing about London is that barring a few exceptions such as afternoon teas, nightclubs and some rare restaurants, jeans are appropriate at most nighttime venues. For instance you will see jeans in most London restaurants and pubs and also in London theatres.
But on top of jeans, I would recommend packing at least one smarter pair of trousers for London. My go to pant has to be a pair of regular black trousers. My favorite at the moment are the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel).
Wool trousers and cords are also good picks for London in Winter.
Leggings are great whatever time of year you are visiting London and you absolutely can wear leggings in London. In fact you will see many Londoners wearing them.
They can be worn on their own or can be used to warm up a dress. And if you do feel the cold then you could always buy a fleece lined pair.
Skirts and Dresses
Dresses and skirts are fine for London in Winter, however we recommend a sweater dress / jumper dress to cope with the cold. And I personally would never wear a dress in London in Winter without a pair of thick tights and boots.
Jumpers / Sweater
A sweater is absolutely an essential of any London Winter packing list. I personally never travel in Winter without a merino wool sweater.
Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe. That is because it provides extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case.
Something plainer is more suitable in the day but you can do something sparkly or glittery for a jumper at night. Also if you are visiting London in December, or if you are in London on Christmas jumper day, then feel free to rock a piece of festive knitwear.
If you are having a less formal day of sightseeing then a hoodie is perfectly acceptable however I would advise not having a university or college hoodie. Worst of all is an Oxford University one as nothing shouts tourist in London more than this.
A plain hoodie or patterned is fine however or even something with a brand name on.
T shirts are great whatever month you are visiting London. For Winter, you will probably want more long than short sleeve tees.
A loose blouse works for the evenings or days layered with a cardigan or sweater.
It doesn’t matter where I am traveling to in Europe a pashmina is always on my packing list. A pashmina can be used as a scarf or lovely accessory but can double up as an added extra layer.
For those traveling to London in Winter we recommend packing thicker, flannel pjs.
Underwear and Socks
Goes without saying. Sneaker socks are a good way of reducing sweat and odour in your shoe. If you plan on spending outside or visiting Christmas Markets then we recommend packing either thicker hiking socks or thermal socks such as those made of merino wool.
What to pack for London in Winter for Men
The packing list for men is quite similar as the ladies packing list for London in Winter and we recommend packing:
A practical warm coat with some insulation as well as being water and win resistant is a good idea for London in Winter.
T Shirts and Shirts
A mix of long and short sleeve t shirts is a good idea, as well as a button down shirt for fancier restaurants.
Jeans are great for sightseeing in Winter. You may want to add a smarter pair of chinos or smart wool trousers to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners.
A hoodie, jumper and sweater alongside the jacket are the perfect layers for 7 days in London.
Underwear, Socks and Pjs
Including thicker socks and potentially some thermals if you feel the cold.
Best Shoes for London in Winter
A good pair of shoes is a necessary for London in Winter.
Ankle boots are my number one pick for London in Winter. They are easier to pack than knee high boots and if you select the right pair are waterproof and come with good soles.
To cope with the likely snow and ice, we recommend picking something like a Chelsea boot or Dr Martens with a thick sole with good grip.
Most Londoners will spend most of the winter wearing boots, either ankle or knee high. Good waterproof leather fashionable boots are definitely a must and can be worn day or evening.
If you go for a heeled boots which is always my preference I recommend picking a boot with a thicker heel as there are many cobbled stones in London and also escalators at Tube stations. Thin heels are dangerous in London. Be sure to only take thick ones with you.
I would however add Suede boots to your what not to wear in London in Winter. The amount of rain we get in London could easily ruin suede.
Note: ankle boots are easier to pack than knee high. However for further guidance on how to pack boots for travel check out this post.
If you are traveling in London in Winter I would still advise taking a pair of sneakers with you for use on drier days.
Visiting London in any month will have a lot of walking so a sneaker is the most comfortable shoe to be wearing.
My favorite brand of sneakers for walking are Hoka and AllBirds, however you also can’t go wrong with a plain white sneaker as they go with everything. One of my favorite pairs of white sneakers is the Adidas Cloud Foam shoes.
What to pack for London in Winter (Non Clothing)
So now you know what to pack for London in December in terms of clothes and shoes, we will turn our attention to non clothing essentials.
- Crossbody Bag – unfortunately any tourist site attracts pickpockets and London is no different. Protect your belongings by having a crossbody bag with lots of zips.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Travel adaptor
- Power Pack / battery packs
- Lipbalm – Moving between heating and cold will dry out your lips very quickly in London. Be sure to pack some for use on the plane too.
- Compact Umbrella – As I mentioned it is pretty rainy in London in Winter so an umbrella will be required. I would advise taking a small compact umbrella for easier use on busy streets and on the Tube and public transport.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
- Toiletries – for our essential toiletries packing list click here.
Note: If you have room in your suitcase then you can bring toiletries with you. However toiletries are very easy to buy in London in supermarkets such as Tescos and Sainsbury’s of which there are many express versions across the city or the beauty chains such as Superdrug and Boots. For this reason we would leaving the toiletries at home and buying them on arrival to save on space in your suitcase.
London Winter Packing List
So just to recap here is our complete list of what to add to your London Winter Packing List
- Scarf, Gloves, Hat and ear muffs
- T shirts
- Thicker weight trousers such as jeans, woolen trousers or corduroy trousers.
- Merino Wool Themeral socks
- Layers such as sweaters, fleeces, jumpers and hoodies
- Warm Nightwear
- Ankle Boots with a good sole for icy conditions.
- Medication and Documentation
- Back Pack
- Crossbody bag
- Travel Adaptor
- Battery Pack
- Travel first aid kit including blister plasters
- Lip Balm
FAQS about What to wear in London in Winter
Do I need rain boots in London in Winter?
Having a good pair of waterproof shoes is an essential for London in Winter however wellies aren’t needed.
Most people in London wear wellies when they go for walks or go outside of the city rather than in the city itself. However Hunter Wellies can be a very popular fashion item so you could get away with wellies in London if you wanted them.
Have you visited London in Winter? Leave us a comment below telling us about what you wore in London and what you would have left at home.