London Winter Outfit Guide

London during winter can be an exciting place to visit. Although the months are cold there is plenty to do both inside and outside, especially during the festive Christmas period.

The weather is cold and wet and light snow can be common during January and February, however, you can still have a great time in the city.

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During December London is lit up with festive Christmas lights covering the streets and parks. It is a special time to visit with plenty of pop-up cozy food markets selling hot cider and warm snacks throughout the central areas of London.

Outfit Summary

In London, winter outfits require a focus on layered clothing and thermal comfort. During the milder early winter, residents commonly wear jeans, boots, jumpers, and a winter coat. Later, additionally, thermal base layers and warm waterproof boots are indispensable.

💡 Tip: If you like you can skip this intro and jump directly to the clothing tips below and the detailed tips for each month!

As a Londoner, I find the winter months to be quite special. December is filled with cheery scenes as people celebrate Christmas all month long. The infamous Hyde Park is transformed into Winter Wonderland with fairground rides and German-themed food stalls. The department stores have beautiful displays, and there is a warm feeling about the city.

Many of the festive attractions remain in place into January, including outdoor ice rinks selling hot chocolate and impressive light displays. Many people visit London during January for the large post-holiday sales and even though the city is less crowded than the summer months there is still a happy buzz about the city.

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February sees warmer temperatures in time for Valentine’s Day and again the city of London is filled with festivities. The city begins to get ready for spring and the weather is less wet, with more daylight hours.

In this article, we will give the best outfit advice for visiting London during winter. Whether you are visiting London to stock up on Christmas treats during December or you are fighting the winter blues with a trip during January or February.

This article will give you some excellent tips and advice from a seasoned Londoner, so you can enjoy your trip to the capital to its fullest.

Monthly Overviews

Month Average Highs Average Low
December 8°C [46°F] 2°C [36°F]
January 7°C [45°F] 1°C [34°F]
February 8°C [46°F] 1°C [34°F]
December

The most festive month of the year does not disappoint with a trip to London. The city is filled with Christmas cheer wherever you look and everyone seems to be celebrating. The weather is cold and wet, with rain expected and chilly temperatures.

If you are visiting during December, you want to make sure you have a stylish winter coat, a sturdy pair of boots, and a good hat to battle the cold British winter weather.

January

The month of January is very cold in London. Expect the weather to be wet, cold, and windy. It is the most appealing weather, but if you are looking to beat the crowds and get an authentic taste of London life you will be sure to find it during January. Stores hold their annual January sales and people are back to work following the festive break.

💡 If you visit London in January you will need warm layers and thick jumpers. A good pair of waterproof boots is a must for January weather, and hats and scarves will keep you warm during the icy temperatures.

Note: It can get quite icy in London during January so choose footwear with soles that have good grip that are also waterproof. Insulated boots that are prepared for the rain and snow yet are comfortable to walk in are a good choice.

February

The weather in February is much the same as in January and can be very changeable. Snow has fallen during February and March in previous years, so be prepared for all types of winter weather.

The city is quiet however, it is still a great time to visit as there are fewer crowds in the museums and popular London tourist areas. If you plan to sight-see, plan your outings early in the day as the sun sets early in February at around 5 pm. Ensure to pack plenty of warm clothing, including hats, gloves, and scarves.

February is a little less rainy than January, however, expect rain and bring waterproof outerwear and an umbrella. Comfortable trousers, jumpers, and warm winter jackets are worn throughout February in London.

London Winter Basic Packing List

To ensure that you are well-prepared for a trip to London during winter use this packing list as a guide:

  • Warm layers such as long sleeve T-shirts
  • Thick knitwear or cardigans
  • Jeans or dark leggings
  • Mid-length to long dresses with thick tights
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm padded coat
  • Comfortable leather boots
  • Boot socks
  • Across body bag
  • Backpack
  • Sturdy umbrella
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Knitted hat
  • Wool scarf
  • Thick gloves

Essential Clothing Items

These items are essential for looking stylish and feeling comfortable while visiting London during winter.

Dark jeans or trousers

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Winter in London can be very cold so be prepared with warm winter clothing such as jeans or wool trousers. As London can be quite rainy during this month you will need a few pairs of thick comfortable jeans to wear both during the day and in the evening.

If you are planning on visiting the theater, check the dress code. Most London theaters allow you to wear jeans. However, if you are attending a special performance you may want to dress up.

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A warm padded coat
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You will need a warm padded coat to survive the cold London temperatures. London can be very windy and icy in winter so you will need a warm coat that is insulated. Wool coats are also great as they are both warm and stylish.

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Waterproof boots
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To navigate the winding London streets, a pair of comfortable waterproof walking boots are essential. Dark-colored boots are more stylish in London, especially when worn with jeans and a wool coat.

However the style is up to you, as a Londoner I see such a mix of different styles, it is definitely a very creative and expressive city to visit.

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Across-body bag
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Across-body bags are very useful in London to carry your valuables and keep them where you can easily reach them and see them. Unfortunately, there are many pickpockets in London so you should carry a bag that you wear on the front of your body or even under your coat.

If you are using public transport or taking photos you will appreciate having a place for your essentials close to you, for ease of access.

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Backpack

Bring an additional backpack to carry any larger items such as your water bottle, umbrellas, or snacks. If you are planning to do a spot of shopping then a backpack will be useful to carry purchases as stores in England charge a small price for carrier bags.

💡 Note: If you visit any large venues such as museums, theaters, or galleries you will likely be asked to open your bag for security at the entrance. This is commonplace and just a safety precaution for entry to the venue.

Umbrella

You will need a sturdy umbrella winter February in London. Rain showers can start suddenly and often the daily forecast can not be relied on. Bring a compact umbrella that you can easily fit in your backpack for ease.

Detailed Monthly Outfit Guides

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December

Average High Temps

  • Early December: 7°C (44°F)
  • Mid-December: 5°C (41°F)
  • Late December: 4°C (39°F)

December in London can be chilly so pack lots of warm layers that are easy to adjust. It might be cold outside but public transport can get very warm, especially during rush hour.

Typical outfits you will see Londoners wearing during December are jeans, boots, and jumpers. You can make it more stylish by choosing a colorful winter coat or wearing boots with interesting features.

💡 The main priority for dressing for London’s December weather is comfort and warmth. However, you can add your own flair with printed scarves or stylish headwear such as berets or chunky knitted hats.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the entire month of December and festive lights are usually turned on towards the end of November. The entire city has a happy feel to it and if you are visiting during this time you may want to get into the festive spirit.

A funny Christmas jumper, fun festive hats, and scarves will no doubt bring smiles wherever you go.

Even though it is winter many Londoners make the most of the festive period and enjoy dressing up to go out in the evenings. Sequins, sparkle, velvet, and festive colors such as red, green, burgundy, and interesting prints are all welcomed in London. It is the perfect place to express your unique style.

However, just make sure to bring warm tights or layer up with thermals under those festive outfits.

Packing list:

  • Long sleeve T-shirts
  • Thermal base layers
  • Thick Sweaters/jumpers
  • Shirts
  • Rainproof winter jacket
  • Jeans
  • Thick socks
  • Waterproof boots/shoes
  • Stylish leather boots
  • Festive outfits – something with a bit of sparkle
  • Long-sleeve dresses
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack or shoulder bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Tissues
  • UK travel adapter (3-pin plug)
January

Average High Temps:

  • Early January: 8°C (46°F)
  • Mid-January: 7°C (44°F)
  • Late January: 3°C (37°F)

January weather is not much different from December. It is cold and wet and often can get icy with the pavements icing over, making it slippery to get around. Bring a good pair of waterproof warm boots that have a non-slip sole to help you navigate the wet streets of London.

January is a quiet month, although the shopping areas are very busy with people making the most of the new year’s sales. Most restaurants will be fairly quiet and easy to get a table. You are welcome to dress casually unless you are going to a very upmarket place and in most places jeans and a jumper are acceptable.

A warm coat, hats, scarves, and gloves are also essentials for London in January. If you plan to be outside for long lengths of time you will feel the cold on your hands if you don’t have gloves so bring a couple of pairs with you.

January is also a wet month in the city of London with frequent downpours. All Londoners carry a trusty compact umbrella and wear waterproof boots around the city. Tall knee-high boots will keep ladies warm and protected from splashes from puddles as you navigate the central areas of London.

Packing list:

  • Long sleeve T-shirts
  • Thermal base layers
  • Thick Sweaters/jumpers
  • Shirts
  • Rainproof winter jacket
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Thick socks
  • Jeans
  • Long-sleeve dresses with wool tights
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack or shoulder bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Tissues
  • UK travel adapter (3-pin plug)
February

Average High Temps:

  • Early February: 4°C (39°F)
  • Mid-February: 5°C (41°F)
  • Late February: 7°C (44°F)

February has very changeable weather in London. The temperatures can range from very cold to moderate and you can expect rain and even snow. Despite the unpredictable weather, you can expect more daylight during the day with the sun setting between 5.30 pm – 6 pm during February.

If you are visiting London during February you will need warm layers, thermal base layers, comfortable warm jeans or trousers, and a reliable winter coat. Choose a coat that is both warm and waterproof with a generous hood size so you are prepared for rainstorms.

Ladies can wear dresses if they prefer the theme over trousers, however, you will need to bring a good selection of warm thermal tights and tall boots to protect your legs from the rain.

If you are planning on going out in the evening, many restaurants are quite relaxed with their dress code and you can wear jeans and jumpers. Pubs are very relaxed and a great place to pop into during the day for a light drink and a hot hearty meal.

💡 Bars and nightclubs however have stricter dress codes. Some allow jeans however jumpers and hoodies are not allowed, and any form of sports gear including trainers will also prevent your entry.

Note: Pack a formal shirt, dark jeans, and dark leather boots if you are planning to go out in the evening to bars and clubs.

Tip: London is one of the world’s hot spots where tourists are getting pickpocketed! We highly recommend carrying valuables close to your body in a small bag with zips that face inwards.

💡 Visitor tip: Layers are a good idea in February. Temperatures have historically been known to drop low and snow has even appeared in London during March. Pack thermal t-shirts, jumpers, cardigans, and fleeces to wear under coats.

As you will be walking a lot, take spare pairs of socks with you on days out, in case of wet weather.

Packing list:
  • Long sleeve T-shirts
  • Thermal base layers
  • Thick Sweaters/jumpers
  • Warm rainproof jacket
  • Jeans
  • Thick socks
  • Waterproof boots
  • Formal shirt or smart dress for the evening
  • Long-sleeve dresses
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack or shoulder bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Tissues
  • UK travel adapter (3-pin plug)

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