“I am going to be in London in the first week of May for a week of theatre and luncheons (and a little museum-going), and since I’m from the deep South in the US where there is no real winter I can’t figure out what to wear in the spring where it is likely to be cool. Do I dare bring sandals? Are little boots only for a more winter period? Do I need to wear wool instead of, say, cotton? Will I need a heavy coat? And as for colors–is it time yet then for brights?

English weather is not predictable, so I can’t say with any assurance what it will be like in spring 2010. However, in its perverse way, the weather in May can often be glorious, (70-75F), and much better than June. However average temperature for May is around 60-65F.

Thing is, compared to the deep South it will not feel that warm to you! We don’t have any real humidity problems here, save in the occasional heatwave when the country just about stops with astonishment. And the evenings will always be cool, probably in the 50s.

In May take the layering approach. Don’t bring boots or a heavy coat: bring something lightweight, a trench or a mac, and rely on an umbrella to keep you dry. (It usually rains for at least 12 days in the month). If you wear denim, then jeans would be a splendid idea. You don’t want to be sloshing through puddles: pack closed toe shoes, and buy sandals here if the weather hots up.

Bring a suit cut jacket or blazer, thinner (merino or cashmere rather than thick wool) sweaters, & shawls, & adopt the cardigan. British women love cardis and tend to carry one stuffed in their bag for when the temperature changes suddenly as it is wont to do. Museums & galleries are often much cooler inside too.

And I say yes to colour! We don’t get that much good weather here so, at the very first sign of sunshine, we tend to whip out our summer wardrobes. You’ll also find generally that Londoners are a lot more aware of trends than Americans, placing much more emphasis on dressing stylishly, and this applies to all age groups. Don’t forget that Britain has some of the best womenswear in the world at all price points, so don’t fill up your suitcase at home…

I have a very brief shopping guide to the West End here.

I hope you have a wonderful trip! LLGxx

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9 comments

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I got married on the 9th of May 1998(also my birthday-and no, it doesn't make it any easier for my husband to remember!), anyway, i wore a silk sundress and heeled sandals, that's right it was HOT,the next year for our anniversary i was wearing boots and LOTS of layers, May in the UK is unpredictable, take clothes for every eventuality or be prepared to shop for same and you'll be fine

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What wonderful advice, I am quite gutted I come from Kent!

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I also got married in May (bizarrely exactly the same date as Rasmbisilodge) and it was gloriousy hot. Our anniversary has usually been cooler, although two years ago it was about the hottest weekend of the whole summer. Definitely right to recommend a mac and cardi.

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That's great advice for a visit to London. I never know how the weather will turn out in London, hasn't the last few weeks with the snow proved that? A cardie is definitely a must pack, and maybe some brogue shoes.

S

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Sorry should have said, i got married in the UK – Bromley Registry Office, in Kent

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Great advice and comments. My only add on is be prepared to wear pantyhose (tights) if you bring a dress or skirt. I was also born in early May, 8th, but in the southern state of Virginia USA where I grew up. As an adult I moved to London in 1992. I remember being shocked by my first English summer and having to wear my leather jacket in July after a blazing May!  

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better than june?
hmmm, i'll be there in june.

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Great post! I'm going to be in London at the end of May as well, and this is exactly the sort of stuff I was planning to pack.

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It's true, the weather in may is often far better than most of the summer.
I have an allotment so am acutely aware of what the weather is like planting out etc., our plum tree fruits early and often we're picking them in the glorious May sunshine…. ahhh, I can't wait!

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