Leaving Friday for 2-week Best of Britain -- packing for warmth?

The forecast on weather.com ranges from low 40s/upper 50s (Edinburgh) to upper 40s/low 60s (London) and, I assume, some rain. I tend to feel cold. I have warm walking shoes/boots, socks and a waterproof hooded shell. I want to pack as light as possible; I have not been to U.K. Given probable damp cold, should I err in the direction of fleece, long sleeves, wool? A hat? Gloves? Is it generally cold inside places like hotel rooms and pubs? I'm trying to ensure warmth without packing too much. Thanks!

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

No, No, No you don't need wool, hat or gloves. I have been to the UK several times in May. You may or may not have rain. On several trips we didn't have any rain, then other time we have a couple of days that it rained for a few hours. A light weight fleece would be good to take. Take a couple long sleeves, but take a short sleeve also and your waterproof hooded shell would be good. The hotel rooms and pubs are warm. Don't get yourself up tight thinking about the cold, you might be surprised to find out it isn't as cold as you think. We have never ever had a "cold" day in May. Relax and enjoy!!

Posted by Meg
San Francisco, California, USA
36 posts

As one who also tends to feel cold, I'd advise you to bring a light but high-necked, long-sleeved warmth layer, maybe a cashmere sweater or a fleece (cashmere is warmer and lighter.) A lightweight warm hat and gloves won't take up much room in your pack and could keep you from being too cold, so why not bring them? Everyone's tolerance level is different and only you know what will work best for you!

Posted by Linda Lee
Lopez Island, WA, USA
2 posts

I think you should definitely layer your clothes. I have been to Britain numerous times and you just never know. One of the coldest trips I have ever had took place in mid-June! On the other hand, if it is sunny, days in Britain can be mild and pleasant. I would recommend a thin wool sweater, if you have one.You could wear that over a turtleneck...cotton, ok...and wear your hooded shell over those two items.If you wrap a snazzy scarf around your neck you will look European, too! A hat and light gloves would keep your extremities warm...with these options, and walking everywhere, you should keep warm in the 40-50 degree temps. Another thing to keep in mind is that you could buy an extra, souvenier, sweater or scarf esp in London and Edinburgh, since there are numerous Scottish woolen shops in both locations. Thrift shops are another possibility to buy items, if you find you are cold. Pubs are generally very warm inside; hotel rooms, you never know. Hope this helps.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2846 posts

Layers are the way to go. Dress first for the upper end of the temps. Cotton blend pants over warm socks. T-shirt, long sleeve button- up over that or a very light sweater. The shell is the top layer. Remove the shell or the button up/sweater as it warms. You will find the lower temps are during the very late evening hours. Most of the day will probably be warm enough for just the t-shirt and the long sleeved button up.

Posted by Cary
Hayden, ID
196 posts

Castles and cathedrals can be cold. I take a lightweight ski helmet liner and lightweight ski liner gloves 'cause I get cold also; both fit easily into jacket pockets. One pair of waterproof walking shoes rather than hiking boots would take up less room unless you're into serious hiking--wear them on the plane. SmartWool socks are the best ever; check their website for various styles. I've never had a problem in hotels or pubs. A pair of silk longjohns are great for sleeping and you could layer them under your clothes if you hit a cold spell. A longsleeve cashmere sweater can be dressy w/ a scarf or pin.

Posted by Phoebe
Tallahassee, FL, USA
10 posts

First - check the weather again and decide what to take based on YOUR comfort level, especially if you tend to feel cold. Remember that dampness can accentuate the cold.

While one reply said they'd never had a cold day in May, I was caught by cold weather (high 30's/low 40's)in July one summer in Bath and had to buy a sweater!

Second - Remember also that you lose a lot of heat through your head so take some sort of hat/cap that is light and comfortable for you.

Temps inside pubs tend to be just fine, sometimes a little warm. But again, you may feel it's just warm enough. In hotels, it's not consistent. Energy costs tend to be high, so you may end up with a cold room, so be sure to have a pair of fleece bed-socks with you to help keep you warm. If your feet are warm in bed, you'll feel much more comfortable.

Fleece has always been my "warmth" of choice.

Enjoy!

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

It's already gotten up to 80 down in London, so it's not that cold. Right now up here in Edinburgh, we're having glorious blue skies, but a chilly wind. The past couple of weeks I'd just been wearing a fleece vest over a cotton shirt & light fleece and could have gotten away with much less than that on a couple of days, but this week went back to a regular fleece jacket.
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Layers are definitely the way to go - it's quite pleasant up here in the sun, but when the wind whips around it can feel much colder. Fleece and a wind/damp proof jacket are great, but you don't need long johns unless you are going to be sitting outside after dark. The nights are chilly, but I've not needed to turn any heating on in my flat for several weeks.
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Kate