January in London- what to wear?


Dec 15th, 2003, 06:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 45
January in London- what to wear?

I'll be in London Jan 10-17 and need some advice on what to wear for the weather. Should I wear boots each day? A down coat or a regular wool coat with layers? Carry an umbrella around? HELP
hartlyn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2003, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,254
Well, I can't answer your question specifically, but I'm faced with the same dilemma (I'll be in Italy just before you). However, there was a very long thread just a few weeks ago entitled something like "What coat should I bring?" The thread got a bit long and off track, but there were some good suggestions.
LouisaH is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2003, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,384
Wear boots every day.
Wear a warm coat, but layers are good because heating is spotty in some places. You will freeze in one and roast in another. I always wear a cotton sweater with a wool over it, so I can start peeling things off when I get overheated.
Take an umbrella, no doubt there will be need of one.
Bring or buy a nice long scarf and don't forget gloves.
Bring warm socks.
Have a wonderful time and I wish a No Rain week for you
Scarlett is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2003, 08:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 11
Aha! I can help you! I just returned from London and know exactly what you should wear.

First, you will need a warm, medium to long length coat. A three quarter length or peacoat could do. I had a short wool jacket that did was barely enough. I wished to have something that would cover my legs a bit. If it is rain-proof than that is a plus. Check out the three quarter length traveler coat or the three quater lenght wool coat from Nordstroms.

Scarf, hat and gloves are essential.

Compact umbrella - ESSENTIAL

A bag that you can carry your camera, map, wallet, umbrella (and scarf,hat gloves when you inside or on the Tube). Let this be a secure bag that can sling over the shoulder to one side. You are constantly reminded of pickpockets in London so you will want to be safe.

Wear comfortable all weather shoes! If you are styaing in the city and taking the Tube everywhere, you will be walking quite a bit. A woman I work with just bought some nice, stylish gortex black boots from Nordstroms.

Also, wear WARM clothes! Layers are fine but bring at least one good warm sweater.

Finally, you will want to look somewhat stylish. Londoners are known for style and it's true.

I was a bit embarrassed when I flew over there in my yoga pants, sneakers and longsleeved T-shirt only to discover that EVERYONE has comfortable but attractive clothes on the plane. It was a RED EYE - how did I know? I raced to my hotel to change.

It rained for half our trip and I had blisters on my feet from wearing boots that I "thought" were comfortable. Ugh! I had to resort to wearing my sneakers (yes, it's true) with nice pants and sweater during the day. In the evening, I had my knee-high boots that went with everything. Ditch the high heeled boots - you won't wear them!

Another hint, find core basics to bring and lighten your load. I kept bragging about how I was going to pack light when in the end my bag weighed 55lbs! I had to lug that through Heathrow, Heathrow express, Paddington tube station (oh, the stairs!) to another tube stop and 4 blocks in the rain to my hotel. Torture - never again.

So if you need anymore help - just ask! The only other things I would recommend it to see the Saatchi Gallery and go see a matinee of Jerry Springer the Opera. I know, I know, it sounds weird but it is GREAT! I had to be dragged to see it (I am not a theater fan or a Jerry Springer fan) and I LOVED it.

PS. I don't work for Nordstroms.

infantinos is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2003, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 510
hartlyn, I've been to England a fair amount in cool weather and always took a trenchcoat with a zip out lining. Looks nice and will keep you warm and dry. Yes to the umbrella--you might want to get one in England as they often have shoulder straps which make them easier to carry around when not in use. I've often worn leggings, long tunics and comfortable ankle boots and gotten along well. Like Scarlett said, gloves and a scarf. Have a great time!
MzPossum is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2003, 09:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,159
Tuck a pair of thermals into your suitcase. Have read here that some people prefer a brand called Cuddleduds, but I haven't tried them.
Betsy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 04:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
Someone needs to qualify the definition of "warm coat". Not a coat that would keep you warm in Minnesota, or upstate New York, or Quebec. More like a coat that would keep you warm in winter in Seattle, with, as others have noted, a couple of layers. The climates in London spaces can be very variable - the tube is very hot and humid, and the theatres are often quite warm, but long walks in the parks could be damp and chilly, so you need to be able to strip down and add on. So, take a mid-weight wool coat. You can add a combination of a zippable layer underneath (e.g. if your day includes walks in the parks), or just a bulky scarf and gloves for city sightseeing. The latter will keep you warm for a lot of city conditions, but can be easily removed. The coat and zippable layer can be undone while you're on the Tube to cool you down. Water-resistant shoes or boots and an umbrella are essential.
Kate_W is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,052

"Londoners are known for style". Thanks for the compliment - but which London are you talking about?

The only reason we're not the slob capital of the world is that the rest of Britain beats us to it. Any style you see in, or on the way to, London comes strictly from visitors (the Italians were looking especially sharp last weekend, I thought).

We dress for comfort. Don't waste a nanosecond worrying about how you look. Save the energy for making sure you, and above all your feet, stay dry - especially as you'll be walking around a lot.
flanneruk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,942
Just returned from London and I have a couple of recommendations. Layers, of course. Waterproof shoes would be better than boots if you plan to walk a lot. Finally, I highly recommend a lined waterproof coat. It drizzles a lot in London and a wool coat would get damp.
mamc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,384
My boots are waterproof and warm with a thin flannel lining. I have worn them in London and Paris in raw wet weather and been fine.(Santana brand)
The best warm coats for wet weather have been some sort of micro fiber things, although I bought a coat in Paris one year that sheds water if it drizzles and an umbrella is good for anything more than a drizzle.
I feel the same way-I always think there is a certain style that is admirable in London ladies. It could be that most of them are taller than I, but they still carry themselves well and have a certain flair.
Scarlett is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,259
Hi Hartlyn,

I wear layers of cotton or light-weight wool under my Inverness cape, a tam or a deerstalker, a cashmere/lamb's wool scarf, and carry a silk bumbershoot.

I love London in the Winter. It lets me dress up.

ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,384
dress up? as Sherlock Holmes
Scarlett is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,259
A gold for you Scarlett.
ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,384
to you ira!
Scarlett is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,682

Tastes vary, but so long as you have two pairs of shoes (so you can dry one pair while you wear the other) with decently thick leather or rubber soles you will be fine. In fact leather might be better, as your feet can become over warm on rubber. I suppose you can wear boots if you like them, but really there is no need. I am afraid I do not know what a down coat is: I wear a regular wool coat when I walk. Many people carry not a whole umbrella but a little thing that folds into a stubby cylinder.

A thick woollen scarf is good, and a pair of gloves in leather, not wool, black or brown to match your shoes.

I agree with Scarlett: plenty of socks so that you never wear them damp.

I wear thermal long johns in Transylvania, but think them needless here.

For me a trench coat has a touch of Humphrey Bogart, which is not me.

What, Londoners known for style ? Like FlannerUK, I fear Infantinos is too kind, or has not met me. But it is true I should not want to be seen dead in yoga pants, sneakers and longsleeved T-shirt. As to the London ladies, they often have some style, but for the best models of carriage please go to Brick Lane and admire the Bangalis in sarees.

Infantinos has a good point there on the stairs at Paddington. A simpler move is Piccadilly line from Heathrow, then District line across the platform from Hammersmith to South Kensington, Victoria or Embankment, or that Hammersmith change of train and then again the Circle line across the platform from South Kensington to High Street Kensington, Bayswater, or Kings Cross (for Bloomsbury).

Long walks in the parks in January ? Bare trees, damp paths, no flowers. Ah well, it s a free country.

Welcome to London.

[email protected]
ben_haines_london is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 539
Last January I wore my silk "long underwear" every day (washed them in sink at night). I could not have survived without them. I purchased mine from Lands End and they were very good and warm.
aj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2003, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 481
We will be in London this coming February. This our third visit in the past few years, always in Feb. or Jan. We live the NYC area and it is much colder in NYC than in London. I don't see the need to warm boots, regular shoes/or boots - not lined, are fine. I usually wear a sweater and jeans during the day and I take a winter jacket; either wool or down. Scarf and gloves are good additions. We walk everywhere and I have not had any problems dressed this way. I don't see the need for long underwear. Usually I end up unzipping/unbuttoning my jacket, during the day. But, remember, I am coming from much colder temperatures!
Susan56 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 20th, 2003, 09:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 41
I've been there in January a couple of times. Boots, sweaters, long down coat and an umbrella. The sun sets pretty early (they're at 55 N. Latitude) and comes up pretty late (around 8 AM as I recall). Soooo you've got about 8 hours to see the daytime sights.

On the other hand, hotels are cheaper and the town won't be full of tourists.

Indeed, I expect to be there myself sometime in January or February.

Have a great time.
Risha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 20th, 2003, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
We were in London over Thanksgiving. We live in New England - and contrary to the advice that a raincoat with a zip-out lining would be sufficient, I took my down 3/4 coat. It was perfect. The raincoat with zip-out lining (which I tested out at home in similar temps) would not have been sufficient, for me anyway.

Temps were generally in the low 50's during our visit, with a low of 35 one day. I wished I had packed warmer shoes and my Smartwool socks. Perhaps even my Uggs.

A wool coat will get wet and does not break the wind.

If you do not already have a down coat, see,, (mine was purchased at the latter). A hood is a fabulous feature.

Note that a down coat is lightweight (more so than wool) and not hot indoors (though most museums have coat check rooms). Test for water resistance at home - and consider Scotchgard treatment (works great).

Definitely plan on carrying an umbrella around. I recently replaced our tiny, lightweight, pocket models with Totes auto open/auto close. Though they're heavier, they're ever so convenient going indoors/outdoors, getting on/off buses, and never turned inside out, even in blustery winds.

Gloves are another essential.

I packed wool, lined, slacks, cuddlduds (tops and bottoms), corduroys, and a handful of cashmere sweaters (collected on sale at Macy's).

djkbooks is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 21st, 2003, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,639
The variety of answers here just proves that you need to consider both where you're coming from and how you in particular react to temperatures. London is not nearly as cold as you would think just from looking at how far north it is. It is not only much warmer than Buffalo/Toronto it is also clearly warmer than New York/Philadlphia. Probably more similar to Washington DC or Virginia or Seattle. For temps in the 50's it seems like a raincoat and sweater would be plenty. For the 40's a lether jacket should be fine. I personally don't even consider a winter coat until the temp is below 40. And keep the thermals for skiing or Antartica - but that's me. If you're from a warm climate you may be more sensitive to cold and need a winter coat for the 40's. Just be sure you always have an unbrella.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:11 AM.