London is magical in the wintertime, from Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland to the glittering lights of Oxford Street there’s so much to see and do. However, much like the rest of England, London can get cold and wet fast.
When visiting London in winter you should look to use layers to keep you warm, we suggest this is made up of;
- Leggings, jogging bottoms or jeans
- Long-sleeved top
- Cardigan, hoodie or zip-up jacket
- Walking boots or trainers
- Hat, scarf & gloves
- Thermals depending on how cold you get
We’ve broken down each of these items (and a couple more) in detail to help you refine your decision. It should help you to pack accordingly for your magical winter trip to the English capital.
Table of Contents
- What To Wear To London In Winter: Women
- What To Wear In London In Winter: Men
What To Wear To London In Winter: Women
Personally, I find one of the most important parts of keeping dry is your feet. I honestly can be in the worst mood if I have to have wet feet for long.
To save yourself from having to buy new shoes, ruining your nice ones or just having soggy feet look at our suggestions below.
Anytype of the waterproof or showerproof boots are wise. There will be many puddles and when you are walking in and among the busy Londoners you are bound to get splashed.
I personally would pick a pair that are from the ankle upwards and preferably flat. If you are planning on doing plenty of sightseeing, walking and exploring you want to be as comfortable as possible.
Tip: If you are heading out for dinner and want to have heels or nicer shoes on, take them in your bag and trade out as you arrive. Saves you from ruining your nice shoes and you still get to look nice!
Now if you are looking to be a little more stylish you can go with a sleek black pair that really blend into your outfit. You can buy plenty of different styles from high street stores that are a little less countryside and a little more stylish if you prefer.
Jacket & Coats For Women
A raincoat is probably going to be the most suitable coat for roaming London in winter. It is really versatile as you can wear it while it is snowing and raining.
They are generally quite light and easy to pack away if you are too warm. The best part is they are easy to wear and not too thick making them the ideal outerwear option.
Raincoats come in so many styles, sizes and colours so you can be bold in yellow or sleek in black. You can get varied styles so if you want something a little more stylish you can find ones at high street stores.
Alternatively look for a raincoat more suited to outdoor adventures at places like Regatta, Blacks and Go Outdoors. Or consider Pac a Macs which are super helpful as they pack away small and light to carry around.
Leather is a natural waterproof fabric anyway which is great. You can team up a leather jacket with a thin jumper, skinny jeans with boots and an umbrella for the rain.
This is a great option if you are heading to London for a more formal event or for a celebration. They are also great as they are easy to clean, durable and long-lasting.
There are some really lovely style of wool coats that are great for keeping warm in winter. They aren’t as practical for rain but if the winter air is quite dry and there is ice/snow on the ground a wool coat is a great option.
The wool is a naturally breathable fabric making it a great material to wear while exploring London.
I got a great thick coat from Craghoppers, they make coats to last with easy care. The coat above is really thick and warm perfect for the coldest of winters, it has large pockets which are so handy and even a secret one to keep valuables in.
T-shirts & Tops For Women
If you are like Cora then you won’t want to wear too many layers. If you are naturally warm look at having an outer layer and then a thin cooling under layer.
T-shirts are great as you can just add on the outer layer for when you are outside and inside you can feel cool.
You can create your base layer from a basic vest, t-shirt, thermal layer or thin jumper.
I always like to have a t-shirt underneath a jumper in case I want to take it off. Many places such as cafes and restaurants will have the heating on so when you go from the cold into the heat you will adapt quickly and could even get too warm for your jumper.
Jumpers & Hoodies For Women
I am a big lover of jumpers as they are snuggly, loose and easy to wear. I love winter alone just so I can wear my jumpers again. I have a range of thick woollen jumpers to thinner t-shirt style jumpers.
These can create a great warm base layer with a raincoat or leather jacket for a trip to London. A jumper is a must when it comes to deciding what to wear in London in winter. You can also trade this for a hoodie style jumper too for added warmth.
Long Sleeve Tops can be the difference between too cold in a t-shirt and too warm in a jumper. You can use long sleeve t-shirts as a base layer if you like to wear multiple layers. You can wear it as a thermal layer or a normal layer.
Shirts are great as they can look nice an also very practical in keeping you warm. You can find some really high-quality shirts for reasonable prices, the best bit is you can always roll up the sleeve or undo the front to wear it more casually.
Trousers & Leggings For Women
Leggings are such a great layer to wear in winter. You can even find fleece-lined for extra warmth and comfort. The best thing about leggings is that you can wear them with boots and wellies easily and still look good.
You can team them with a long top, jumper or dress and can be versatile. If you are looking for what to wear in London in winter and want something that will look nice in the evening too these are a great option.
You can buy sports style leggings that can be worn with trainers or books for added extra comfort and they are super breathable too.
Tights are easily a good base layer, I would suggest getting the thicker denier or even the woolly style tights for London in winter. You can team up tights with a lovely dress or long jumper or even a skirt.
Remember to pick up tights with a little more thickness to help keep your legs warmer, if you tend to get cold quite easily pick up a thick pair of tights as thermals under jeans or trousers.
Jeans are such a save and easy option for so many. Though they don’t dry well they are warm to wear and sturdy. Pair up your jeans with some waterproof boots, top and jacket and maybe even a hat for extra warmth.
You can also take your jeans from the day into more formal evening wear by trading out for a smarter shirt/blouse and a leather jacket. If jeans aren’t your thing thick trousers or joggers will do the trip.
As I have mentioned above you can put a lovely dress with a pair of thick tights or leggings. If you are struggling to decide what to wear in London in winter, a dress can be a great alternative for going from daywear to eveningwear.
You can find some lovely knitted dresses to wear with tights or leggings for added comfort and warmth.
Accessories For Women
If you aren’t a fan of wearing hoods and hat this is a better alternative but be prepared to hold on and push through the crowds at busy times.
If you wanting to save space in your day bag I would suggest getting a foldable compact umbrella.
Top Tip: If you are using an umbrella take a plastic bag along with you to put it in while it is wet and you are inside or not using it.
I love bobble hats, they are one of the most exciting parts of winter for me. Wearing a hat of any kind is a great way to help keep the heat in your body. Make sure to pack at least one hat, pair of gloves and a scarf, these are items you will easily forget and rush to buy when you arrive.
If you don’t like using a scarf look into alternatives such as turtle neck jumpers or using a buff. A buff is a small tube of fabric that stretches over your head and sits nicely around your neck. They are mostly used for bikers and hikers but can be highly useful for keeping your neck and chest warm in winter.
Whether these are leather or woolly a pair of gloves are good to have on hand for early mornings and evenings when the temperature drops.
You can store them in your bag until you need them. I would say these are essential when deciding what to wear in London in winter.
We always have showerproof bags so this isn’t new for us. If you plan to use your ordinary backpack look at getting a cover for when it does rain. Alternatively, you can use your normal bag and keep it covered under your umbrella or coat.
You can find easy pack away bags if you are looking to take a backpack but don’t have space in your luggage.
What To Wear In London In Winter: Men
Footwear For Men
The best styles of footwear for men are boots and high ride trainers. Anything that is waterproof is the biggest bonus as there can be plenty of rain in Winter and even some snow.
The best way to keep your feet dry and comfortable is to find a pair of shoes that suit the weather and break them in before you go.
I would suggest wearing boots such as you will be doing plenty of walking around and seeing the sites. There is no worse feeling that walking on the path and a car going past and soaking your feet.
Wear shoes that will keep your feet dry and warm all day, the more waterproof the better. Save smart shoes for the evenings and dining out as you don’t want them to be ruined by rain and muddy puddles.
If you don’t own any boots or waterproof shoes hiking shoes make for great waterproof boots. The technology is made to keep moisture out and keep the foot well ventilated and supported.
Coats & Jackets For Men
The best coats for a winter in London are those that are woolly, waterproof and have plenty of padding.
Though the streets of London can feel sheltered due to the high rise buildings there is still a wind chill that occurs so make sure you dress warm.
Woolly style trench coats are great as they are super warm and stylish though aren’t as practical when it comes to rain. Alternatively, you can team up a woolly style coat with an umbrella for best protection.
If you have a jacket at home that you like to wear in the colder months and gives you great coverage make sure to wear it. Working with what you already have and trust to keep you warm and dry is key. Coats that have plenty of padding, heat protection and are waterproof or showerproof will go a long way to keeping you dry and happy exploring London.
T-shirts For Men
T-shirts make for a great base to build upon and build layers for cold weather.
Depending on what you like to wear look at alternating between a short sleeve t-shirt and long sleeve. That way you can stay warm and comfortable all day.
I would only partner a short sleeve t-shirt with a think jumper and coat to save you having too many layers on your arms. You still want to make sure you can move and feel comfortable all day.
Jumpers & Hoodies
Layering up a hoodie or jumper under a coat is a great way of keeping warm. You can vary the thickness and style of the jumper to suit your style and taste.
If you don’t like to wear jumpers or hoodies due to the thickness look at layering up with a shirt. I love wearing shirts as a covering layer over vests and t-shirts. If you have a shirt that is loose and easy to wear they make for a great underlayer, they also will look nice when you stop for lunch in a cute cafe.
Shirts are super easy to put under a coat or jacket as they are quite thin but also provide a nice warm layer. Look for shirts that are made from 100% cotton, brushed cotton or have a fleece lining for the best comfort.
Trousers For Men
Deciding what to wear in London in winter is quite easy when it comes to trousers as more often than not they are very much the same as what you would wear at home.
Anything from jeans and joggers which are thick and warm materials are best. Though jeans are a nightmare to get dry if they become wet they are also the easiest and warmest style of trouser to wear.
Decide that shoes and trousers go together and plan outfits around those. That way you are fully prepared and don’t have to worry about your feet getting wet or feeling uncomfortable.
Accessories For Men
Items such as woolly hats, scarves and gloves are definitely handy to pack when planning what to wear in London in Winter. Lots of exploring around the city can make you feel cold quite quickly so keeping well wrapped up and covered it key to a good trip.
If you don’t like wearing scarves look at swapping for a turtle neck jumper of a buff for your neck. Buff’s are easier to wear and can be discretely hidden amongst the layers but still adding that extra coverage over your neck and check area.
I always like to take a backpack or bag with me no matter which country or city I am exploring.
Having a backpack or bag is great for keeping in your valuables, extra layers, umbrella and a bottle of water or flask!