A UK packing list is essential to compile before you head to the likes of London and Edinburgh.
There are a number of factors to consider before you visit the UK, most importantly of all, the weather! The temperamental nature of the climate in the UK means you need to come prepared for any eventuality!
As an Englishman, I know this only too well. There are some items which you must consider when packing for the UK. Rainwear is high on that list.
The Uk is a fabulous place to go, but if you don’t bring the right items, it can make your trip a bit more difficult!
Without further ado, let’s get into what you need to pack for the UK!
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Table of Contents
UK Packing list
Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack
Although pickpocketing isn’t as big of an issue as it is in mainland Europe, it does happen in the UK. This is especially true if you visit larger cities such as London and Manchester!
As someone who has nearly been pickpocketed myself, I would take no precautions with my belongings.
I bought this backpack soon after nearly losing my valuables, it’s been one of the best investments I made.
The Bobby anti-theft backpack is super secure, no zips are visible on the rear of the backpack. They are all concealed from view. Another plus is that it keeps its shape a lot better than other backpacks, which suffer after a few months.
If you’re serious about keeping your belongings safe, this is an essential item to take to the UK!
An umbrella is one item that you must include on your UK packing list! The weather is unpredictable, you’ll be left drenched without an umbrella otherwise!
Even when it looks like being a nice day, the weather can change in an instant.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been caught in the rain without an umbrella and got absolutely drenched as a result.
When packing for the UK, don’t forget to include an umbrella! You’ll almost certainly need it!
40 L Backpack
40 L is more than enough for all your clothes and belongings. Anything more, and it can become too cumbersome to travel with. You don’t want to be carrying any more weight than you absolutely have to!
It’s definitely one of the best travel backpacks you can buy!
What I like about the Osprey backpack is that it is front-loading as opposed to top-loading. This means you don’t have to rifle your bag to find what you want, you can just open it at the front, and take your clothes out as you, please.
Hanging Toiletry Bag
I remember when I first went to Australia, these toiletry bags were everywhere!
They were fantastic! Items were stored in separate compartments and it was easy to get what you wanted. Compare that to me, who had all his toiletries in one bag!
I had to rifle through the bag to find what I wanted. Often, some of my toiletries had split open and leaked everywhere too. It was a mess! A hanging toiletry bag allows you to organise your toiletries, making everything cleaner and simpler!
A must-have when considering items to pack for the UK!
Eco Water Bottle
I’m a big fan of eco and refillable water bottles.
The amount of plastic waste on the planet is terrifying. I used to always buy bottled water whenever I went to a new destination. I was unwittingly contributing to this problem!
Buying an Eco water bottle means you won’t need to buy bottled water anymore.
You’ll not only be saving the planet but saving yourself money too! You can easily refill your bottles across the UK too!
Padlocks might not seem like an important item to pack for the UK, however, you will definitely need one.
If you’re staying in hostels, you will need a padlock to store your bags in your locker safely. Most hostels are safe with few incidents, but you can never be too careful!
I’ve heard stories of thieves operating in hostels before, and I never take any chances when I’m on the road!
Despite the lack of sun at times, polarized sunglasses are essential to bring to the UK.
If you plan on driving around the UK, sunglasses will come in handy. There is a lot of glare on the roads all year round, and they will keep your eyes and make it easier for you to drive too!
They have detachable hinges, which means if your glasses slide off your head, and the hinges come loose, you can simply clip them back on!
A portable charger is a handy item to take with you to the UK.
If you’re going to move around a lot, you’ll want to keep your electronics fully charged. Although a lot of buses and trains now have charging ports, there are some that don’t.
Having a portable charger with you means you don’t rely on bus or train companies. You can keep your phone charged wherever and whenever you want.
The last thing you want is to run out of battery and need to make a phone call!
The plugs in England are different from most places in the world. We use a three-pronged, which is quite bulky. Don’t leave them on the floor, because if you step on one, it really hurts!
You will definitely need to include a travel adapter on your UK packing checklist, otherwise, your electronics won’t be getting charged. It’s as simple as that.
The good thing about buying a travel adapter is that you can use them worldwide. They are a fantastic investment to make for trips to the UK and beyond!
Trtl Travel Pillow
Those cumbersome and ugly U-shaped travel pillows have been a regular sight on my travels.
While they serve a purpose, they aren’t practical. They take up unnecessary room in your backpack and don’t fit right all the time. Thankfully, there is a better alternative!
The Trtl Travel Pillow is an elegant solution to the problem. You simply wrap it around your neck and you’re done. You have neck support, which you can use on long journeys that will easily fit in your bag, and not take up much space.
Plus, it can double up as a scarf, which is handy if the weather is particularly chilly in the UK!
If you’re visiting the UK between the months of October and April, you will definitely need to take a beanie.
Temperatures can be freezing during the day, and even colder at night in these months. A beanie will help to keep your head warm, during the cold weather.
If you love hiking and being outdoors, I would recommend you take one regardless of the time of year. The weather can be volatile outdoors, and you never know when a beanie might be needed!
If you plan on visiting the UK during winter, you will definitely need a pair of thermal socks.
While the temperature doesn’t get ridiculously cold, it can dip below freezing at times. Normal socks don’t really cut in this weather, especially if your shoes are a bit lightweight.
Thermal socks are brilliant, as they do exactly what they are supposed to. Keep your feet warm during cold weather.
I never leave home without my thermal socks in the winter, and neither should you!
If you plan on experiencing the great outdoors in the UK, you will need a decent pair of hiking shoes.
There are a lot of great hiking trails in the UK, it would be a shame to miss out on them. You could hike in your trainers, but as someone that speaks from experience, you will end up ruining them!
Buying a good pair of walking shoes will stand you in good stead. Not only will they support your feet, but they will also last you a long time! If you’re a hiker, walking shoes should be left on your packing list for the UK!
If you plan on climbing Snowdon for example, you will definitely need a pair!
A jacket is an essential item to have on your UK packing list. The weather in the UK is temperamental, it’s uncommon to have four seasons in a single day!
Some of the best places to visit in northern England are also some of the wettest in the country. It’s no exaggeration to say you will get soaked if you don’t take a waterproof jacket with you.
I can almost guarantee it will rain during your trip, barring a freak heatwave! A waterproof jacket is absolutely necessary to bring with you in case you get caught out in the rain!
Yes, we do get the sun in the UK! And yes, you can get sunburnt!
Sunburn is unpleasant, and it can sting like hell, even in the UK. No matter where I go, I always take some after suncream with me.
While it doesn’t repair the damage done to your skin by sunburn, it will reduce inflammation and soreness.
Even if you’ve only been out in the sun for a while, I recommend using it to moisturise your skin!
Deodorant cream is one item I’ve recently discovered, that has been very handy!
Instead of buying deodorant in spray or roll-on form, you can buy it as a cream in a tin. This is much better for the environment and more practical for travellers.
You simply dab your finger in the cream, rub it under your armpits, and you’re done! Simple and easy, and it will take up minimal space in your bag!
Solid shampoo may seem like a strange item to pack for the UK, but it’s one worth taking.
Not only is it more practical to store than conventional shampoo, but it’s also better for the environment.
It doesn’t need to be stored in plastic, which only adds to the amount of rubbish on the planet when it’s thrown away. I was sceptical about how good solid shampoo would be at first, but it’s surprisingly good.
It’s just the same as normal shampoo but in a solid form. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Contrary to popular belief, the Sun does make an appearance in the UK from time to time! It can get hot enough to get sunburn too!
You might be under the impression, you won’t get sunburnt in the UK, but you would be wrong. During the summer it can get hot, and even in the UK, the sun can be strong.
Packing suncream will allow you to keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays at all times!
As well as the above items, here are a few other items that are an essential part of my packing for the UK checklist!
A camera is an essential item on any trip, and that’s no different when travelling to the UK!
Buying a good camera is crucial if you want to have good shots to remember your trip!
You may have an iPhone, but if you want to move your photography game up a notch, a proper camera is worth investing in!
The Nikon D5500 is a good option if you want to step up your photo game. It’s a fantastic camera for wildlife photography and other outdoor pursuits you will find in the UK.
The Nikon D5500 is a DLSR camera, and the quality of the photos is far superior to anything you would get on an iPhone.
I love books! However, travelling and carrying around a lot of books is simply not practical.
When I was in Australia, I ended up with eight books in my backpack at one point! It certainly ate into my storage space.
I prefer actual books to a Kindle when I’m travelling, but the Kindle is just much more practical.
They’re light, portable and fit into your bag easily! They are much more convenient to travel with than books. If you love reading and travelling, a Kindle is a must!
As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
Travel insurance is a necessity for any trip, you never know what might happen. The UK is a safe country, but things can always go wrong.
You could lose your luggage, get injured, or God forbid, get pickpocketed.
Purchasing travel insurance gives you peace of mind, to know someone has got your back if things go wrong. I use SafetyWing, as they are tailored towards backpackers and more active travellers.
Make sure you have insurance before you leave!
Lonely Planet Guidebook
If you’re planning your UK itinerary, a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook will be a handy item to have with you.
I often find places to visit in these guidebooks that would have never heard of otherwise. They can be a great source of information for hidden gems!
This is especially true in the UK. There are a lot of places you can potentially visit, it can be difficult to prioritise where to go.
Reading the Lonely Planet guide will give you a helpful overview and tips on where to visit. Helping you decide where to spend your time in the UK!
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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!