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Trip to the UK in late April and early May - What clothing should I bring?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
My wife and I will be staying in London at one of the Marriott's - Grosvenor House I believe. I am wondering what type of weather I should be prepared for. Should I be leaving all my flannel trousers and sport coats at home? What type of coat will I need? I would prefer not to drag my aquascutum trench all over.

Any recommendations for restaurants/places to visit would be appreciated as well.
post #2 of 50
Are you seriously asking this question on SF? Leave all your clothes at home and buy new ones there.

Regarding the weather, May in London can be quite nice or it can be raining. It will probably be both during your stay.

Regarding your clothes, it depends on what you will be doing. If you have been watching too many Berty Wooster reruns and have the idea that London is this elegant place where everyone wears ties, you are going to be really disappointed. You can wear a tie to the theater if you want but you will probably be the only one. Most everyone else will be t-shirt-clad tourists, I'm afraid.

As for restaurants and places to visit, once again, it depends. Of course, you will want to hit Jermyn street and while you're there, you should have a look in Fortnum & Mason. Restaurants are tougher. You should definitely go to the top floor of the Waterstones (actually on Picadilly but you can enter from Jermyn Street) for lunch or an afternoon snack. It's not actually a secret but it is not very well known and is, arguably, the best deal in London when you consider the view. Wiltons is fun in fall and early winter when the game is in but they mostly concentrate on seafood the rest of the year. I'm not a big fan of fish myself, but some people prefer Greens, which is around the corner, for that. All of this stuff is in the St. James area which is probably the most "dressed up" area of London.

There are some restaurants, like Rules and Simpson's, that have a long history but which I find a little disappointing for various reasons. But they are certainly unique so YMMV.
post #3 of 50
Eat at The Delaunay
post #4 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles_ View Post

My wife and I will be staying in London at one of the Marriott's - Grosvenor House I believe. I am wondering what type of weather I should be prepared for. Should I be leaving all my flannel trousers and sport coats at home? What type of coat will I need? I would prefer not to drag my aquascutum trench all over.
Any recommendations for restaurants/places to visit would be appreciated as well.

Definitely leave the flannels at home! At least one sport jacket may be a good idea.... and as for the weather:

http://www.visitlondon.com/weather/

As a side note - I dig and appreciate your CS Lewis quote on your sig. Have a safe and enjoyable trip - we are planning to move there in August to start up our European hub!
post #5 of 50
Check the forecast before you go. It can be unpredictable that time of year -- smart to pack some layers.
post #6 of 50
When I go to London, I always seem to get by just fine with dark jeans, a pair of nice shoes and a sport jacket. Smart casual dress seems to work well in London and you will get comments on the cut of your jacket or the look of your shoes. People do notice. I have brought suits and flannels but never seem to wear them.
post #7 of 50
As for places to go, the Tower's worth putting up with the tourists. See Trafalgar and Buckingham Palace if you haven't. British Museum's always nice. Then there's the Row and Jermyn Street.

Less-often-mentioned places I like:
The last galleried inn in London, dating to the 1600s and featured in Dickens' Little Dorrit: The George.
If you're in that area, it's nice to stroll along the Thames and walk by the reconstructed Globe, though I've never felt compelled to pay to enter.
The Museum of London, which traces the city's history.
For true English eccentricity, Sir John Soane's.
Cordings, of course.
And I have to mention my beloved James Smith & Sons, a stunning umbrella shop straight out of the 19th century.

Hyde Park should be lovely that time of year. Fun to grab a bite at one of the food places and eat by the Serpentine.

For fast bites when on the go, Pret A Manger is ubiquitous, relatively cheap and uses surprisingly fresh ingredients.
post #8 of 50
As with visiting most foreign countries, it is helpful to know the language, even if it's just a little.
post #9 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thank you gents, this is great information.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

Are you seriously asking this question on SF? Leave all your clothes at home and buy new ones there.
Regarding the weather, May in London can be quite nice or it can be raining. It will probably be both during your stay.
Regarding your clothes, it depends on what you will be doing. If you have been watching too many Berty Wooster reruns and have the idea that London is this elegant place where everyone wears ties, you are going to be really disappointed. You can wear a tie to the theater if you want but you will probably be the only one. Most everyone else will be t-shirt-clad tourists, I'm afraid.
As for restaurants and places to visit, once again, it depends. Of course, you will want to hit Jermyn street and while you're there, you should have a look in Fortnum & Mason. Restaurants are tougher. You should definitely go to the top floor of the Waterstones (actually on Picadilly but you can enter from Jermyn Street) for lunch or an afternoon snack. It's not actually a secret but it is not very well known and is, arguably, the best deal in London when you consider the view. Wiltons is fun in fall and early winter when the game is in but they mostly concentrate on seafood the rest of the year. I'm not a big fan of fish myself, but some people prefer Greens, which is around the corner, for that. All of this stuff is in the St. James area which is probably the most "dressed up" area of London.
There are some restaurants, like Rules and Simpson's, that have a long history but which I find a little disappointing for various reasons. But they are certainly unique so YMMV.

I had visions of finally being able to wear a suit casually, but I figured jeans and maybe a SC would win out laugh.gif

I wish I could build a new wardrobe over there, but that's a little out of my price range.
Quote:
Originally Posted by inimitable View Post

Eat at The Delaunay

I will look it up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by eHaberdasher View Post

Definitely leave the flannels at home! At least one sport jacket may be a good idea.... and as for the weather:
http://www.visitlondon.com/weather/
As a side note - I dig and appreciate your CS Lewis quote on your sig. Have a safe and enjoyable trip - we are planning to move there in August to start up our European hub!

Sigh, this is when having a wardrobe built around flannel or linen is a bad thing frown.gif

CS Lewis is probably my favorite author, I just ordered The Four Loves and a book of some of his essays, I am very excited. My brother graduated from Wheaton, so whe I visited I was able to see the supposed wardrobe that he wrote about in the Narnia books.

Congratulations on the move, I must admit I am a little jealous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

Check the forecast before you go. It can be unpredictable that time of year -- smart to pack some layers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy View Post

When I go to London, I always seem to get by just fine with dark jeans, a pair of nice shoes and a sport jacket. Smart casual dress seems to work well in London and you will get comments on the cut of your jacket or the look of your shoes. People do notice. I have brought suits and flannels but never seem to wear them.

This sounds like a good compromise. I have two business meetings, so a suit and a couple of ties will be coming along. Any tips for traveling with ties? (grenadine, so being jostled will probably produce snags haha)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

As for places to go, the Tower's worth putting up with the tourists. See Trafalgar and Buckingham Palace if you haven't. British Museum's always nice. Then there's the Row and Jermyn Street.
Less-often-mentioned places I like:
The last galleried inn in London, dating to the 1600s and featured in Dickens' Little Dorrit: The George.
If you're in that area, it's nice to stroll along the Thames and walk by the reconstructed Globe, though I've never felt compelled to pay to enter.
The Museum of London, which traces the city's history.
For true English eccentricity, Sir John Soane's.
Cordings, of course.
And I have to mention my beloved James Smith & Sons, a stunning umbrella shop straight out of the 19th century.
Hyde Park should be lovely that time of year. Fun to grab a bite at one of the food places and eat by the Serpentine.
For fast bites when on the go, Pret A Manger is ubiquitous, relatively cheap and uses surprisingly fresh ingredients.

Excellent ideas! My wife is a big Shakespeare fan, she already found a 2 for 1 ticket deal for the globe. It is our first visit, so we will spend the first couple days visiting a lot of the tourist hot spots.


I would like to take a train to the countryside for a day, does any town stand out among the others? ( I realize this is based on opinion, but I figure you gents will know better than most)
post #10 of 50
How long will you be there? Don't underestimate how much there is to see and do in the city. A week will barely scrape the surface, especially if you take time to enjoy the sights.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

As with visiting most foreign countries, it is helpful to know the language, even if it's just a little.

I find that a phrase book and a pocket dictionary are enough to get me by. London is a very multicultural city.
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

How long will you be there? Don't underestimate how much there is to see and do in the city. A week will barely scrape the surface, especially if you take time to enjoy the sights.

Only a week unfortunately. We would stay longer, but my wife is already missing a week of school, and can't miss much more than that. (teacher)
post #13 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

As with visiting most foreign countries, it is helpful to know the language, even if it's just a little.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

I find that a phrase book and a pocket dictionary are enough to get me by. London is a very multicultural city.

I'll just watch some BBC shows and pick up pointers on how they talk bigstar[1].gif
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles_ View Post

I'll just watch some BBC shows and pick up pointers on how they talk bigstar[1].gif

Peter Sellars uses a great accent in The Party that I encourage you to mimic while you are there.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

A week will barely scrape the surface, especially if you take time to enjoy the sights.

A great way to get up close and personal with London locals is to get roaring drunk and then urinate out in the open in Trafalgar Square.
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