What to Wear in London? A Guide for All Seasons
Something I’ve learn while traveling London is to always be prepared for three seasons in one day, regardless of the time of year.
This part of western Europe isn’t consistent in seasonal attire the way cities like Paris and Barcelona are. In London, it could be the middle of July but feel more like early October.
Consider this your official packing guide to all seasons in the UK capital.
Spring in London
March, April, May
Average temperature between 11°C – 15°C
Spring in the city is an exciting time for locals and travelers. Finally, the dead of winter has lifted its seemingly endless chill, and the below zero temperatures have given way to ever so slightly “warmer” ones.
You’ll still need to layer up, but in spring you’ll be able to ditch your thermal gloves and undergarments, and usually even headwear.
Three quarter jeans and pants are a good idea during spring in London, but have a pair of leggings at the ready to slide underneath on cooler days.
The April showers are an annual feat in the city, so Wellington boots tend to come in handy, especially if you don’t want to miss out on walking excursions during this month. Bring a light raincoat or umbrella along, too.
Trench coats are great in the spring as they can slide right over your lighter layers the minute the sun goes down or the rains come in.
Londoners love the arrival of this season, and it’s usually always met with bright colored clothing, interesting prints and florals, & sometimes skirts with tights for the brave!
Summer in London
June, July, August
Average temperature between 18° – 25°C
When it’s summer in London one can quite literally hear the angles humming. There is nothing quite like this city in the peak of sunshine and heat; it comes to life and brings the people right along with it.
You can safely treat your London summer wardrobe as you would during summer elsewhere in Europe. Light dresses, tshirts, short short — whatever your poison.
In the peak months, temperatures can even soar over 30°C, so you’ll appreciate having packed as neutrally colored clothing as possible; think whites and beiges. Avoid blacks!
There are many places to swim in London. Bring along a bathing suit and perhaps even keep it in your handbag just incase. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll find yourself wishing you had one on hand when a chance to dip comes out of the blue.
Despite the soaring temperatures by day, evenings during London’s summer have been known to drop quite significantly. If you’ll be out after sundown be sure to have a cardigan or over-shirt handy.
Always pack a raincoat and or umbrella when traveling to London in the summer.
Autumn in London
September, October, November
Average temperature between 11° – 15° C
As if in a flash, the summer in London very quickly turns golden brown, and temperatures return to the ones we felt earlier in the spring time.
Autumn in London has a tendency to be enjoyably mild and dry one day, and the next be incredibly wet and windy. It’s a chaotic time for the city, as the climate is so unpredictable yet simultaneously headed one direction… into the dead of winter.
In autumn, show off your darker garments. There will be days where you can get away with wearing a full length dress with tights and a coat, and days when you’ll need more coverage over all of your skin.
Trench coats come back in handy during this time of year. And I find a good pair of knee high boots and/or Doc Martens pair well with just about everything suitable to wear outdoors.
Windbreakers are less than fashionable items, but if you’re touring through the city and the winds come in you’ll be over the moon to have one with you. If not, hooded jackets are a must for London’s autumn season.
You’ll also want to bring full length jeans back during this time. Your ankles are the last place you want to be losing heat, especially after sundown in London.
Winter in London
December, January, February
Average temperature between 2° – 10° C
Finally, the dreaded winter. Winter is a magical time in London; white Christmases are not an uncommon occurrence, and in spite of the cold, the city center is a vibrant place to be throughout the season.
London’s infrastructure was made to thrive in this weather, so everywhere you go will be centrally heated and temperature controlled. For this reason, you’ll want to layer your clothing in a way that is easy to remove so that you don’t overheat once you move from outdoors to indoors.
A think, padded winter coat is a must. The more insulated the design, the better. Hooded coats are great for retaining heat, especially ones with a bit of fluff or faux fur around the hood-edge.
Warm hats and scarves make for great accessories and do wonders to add warmth to any outfit. You’ll absolutely need gloves; I like to wear a pair of cheap, fingerless gloves underneath a pair of full length, thermal ones so that when I need to use my hand for something it’s never left out in the direct cold.
In London, temperatures can drop to below freezing for a few days during the winter. When this happens, you’ll need to layer up on things like socks and vests.
Bring along boots that are spacious enough for two pairs of socks to fit into. They should also have thick soles to keep the cold from the concrete pavements from creeping up into your feet.
I also enjoy wearing a wide scarf that can be wrapped around my neck, lower-face and head simultaneously, offering protection from all angles over my ears and nose.