It’s no secret that the UK weather is temperamental.
So when we booked two nights up in the Peak District back in April, we had no idea what to expect. In my head, it was going to be all sandals and summer dresses, leaping lambs and tea and cake on the lawn. In reality? A cool 12 degrees and a variable amount of sun occasionally breaking through the clouds. I’ll admit we had a brief bout of sun last week, but it’s suddenly turned much cooler and I’ve learnt not to be optimistic when it comes to UK based trips away – there’s nothing worse than not having the right clothes for the weather and feeling cold and wet can make for a miserable weekend. Over the years I’ve definitely perfected the art of packing efficiently and I wanted to share my tips today with this outfit from one of my go-to brands, Joules. You can read more about my love affair with them here!
Cover all bases
This first one should really go without saying but as I said, the weather can change really quickly in the UK and I like to cover all eventualities. Chances are if you’re staying in the UK, you’re travelling by car or train so you probably have that bit more space. Cater for sun, rain, wind, snow. There’s nothing worse than finding out it’s 6 degrees colder up north than on the south coast and you spend the entire time uncomfortable and cold. Likewise if the sun comes out, you don’t want to be stuck in boots and jeans the whole time. I like to take layers, and one of two pairs or versatile footwear – I find Converse a great happy medium for cooler or warmer weather, and non-jean trousers and jumpsuits are ideal for transitioning as a jumper can so easily be added or taken away.
Unless you know you’re headed somewhere fancy, I’ve finally learnt not to overpack unnecessarily dressy clothes. I used to worry and think I’d need something for dinner in the evenings – heeled boots or a nice top, when in reality, on a weekend away in the countryside, be it the Lake District or the Cornish Coast, casual is always acceptable. If you truly are in the heart of the country, most likely you’ll be heading to one of three places for dinner – the hotel restaurant, the local pub or the village Indian! I usually find whatever I wore that day to suffice, and feel silly having brought along an abundance of options.
If you think you need it, you probably do
This is a lesson I’ve learnt the hard way – the amount of times I’ve regretted leaving an item at home. Wellies and walking shoes are the main culprit, thinking they’re bulky and honestly, being plain lazy about packing them in the car. A backpack instead of a shoulder bag, or warm PJs instead of shorts and tshirts. My rule of thumb is – if it crosses my mind, from a functional perspective, I’ll probably end up using it.
This applies to any weekend or even night away – but always, always pack yourself some comfy clothes. Mostly tracksuit bottoms, or even PJS, but a warm pair of stretchy trousers and a jumper (the sweater in these snaps is my go to at the moment!) are vital to a cosy country weekend. You’ll thank me when you come home after a long day out in the elements and all you want to do is lie on the bed comfortably. I take comfies wherever I travel these days – even when we went to California at Christmas, and I ended up wearing them for most of Xmas Day. They soon became referred to as my ‘Dessert Pants’ and they were just that – when I needed an expandable waist and some comfort on the sofa.
Functional, not fashionable
This one is so vital and probably shows my age – but function over fashion any day. As a blogger, this is hard to balance as I want to look presentable for any photo taking opps, but equally – cold + wet = grumpy. That’s where Joules always save the day – I’ve gushed before about how well their clothes fit me, but everything hits that fashion/function balance so well. On any country weekend away, I’ll always take a waterproof coat (this yellow one is my fave), a backpack, warm socks, walking shoes, wellies and layers – what Joules does so well. Staying warm, dry and without blisters is so important for me to have a good time. It means you’re ready for anything and can really enjoy your surroundings.
Sweatshirt, Trousers, Bag, Sandals – all Joules*
My packing checklist
Sweatshirts & Bretons – the perfect layering items and the Joules ones are pretty much windproof! They look put together without compromising on style.
Stretchy, comfy jeans – I’ve been living in my Marks & Spencer Mom jeans lately and they’re perfect for this kind of weekend. Enough stretch to be comfy but still maintain some semblance of style.
Non-denim trousers – Having something lightweight to wear is important if the sun does make an appearance and these slim leg linen trousers are great to throwh in. They weight nothing and go with so much!Leather (look) backpack – I’ve taken my New Look black backpack abroad too and it has always come in so handy. I don’t have much time for handbags when it comes to walking and exploring so for me a backpack is a must. Saying that, I couldn’t not showcase this dreamy colourful number from Joules – perfect for picnics and days out (and the beach!).
Trainers and sandals – As I mentioned earlier, my Converse are great for basic walking/strolling or my Nike Free Runs for walks that aren’t too challenging. You can also wear them around town too – just make sure you switch up to something more heavy duty for proper hiking! And if that much coveted sun appears? Sandals don’t weigh much but can feel so good to slip into if the weather warms up.
Small coin purse – sounds daft but if you’re packing your backpack full of snacks for the day out, you won’t want a big purse using up space. I use a little one from ASOS that takes a few cards, notes and coins.
Tracksuit bottoms – or PJs, depending on your preference, but my cheap Matalan bottoms do the trick nicely.
Warm PJs – as I say, don’t underestimate the British weather and the potentially old accommodation you might be staying in!
Walking shoes/boots/wellies – even if the forecast is good for your trip, chance are the ground could still be wet.
Waterproof jacket (with a hood!) – my dreamy yellow one can be found here – ’nuff said!
Bonus – Bubble bath – after a day out in the countryside, there’s nothing I like more than a hotel bath!
Which items do you always take away with you?
Shop my outfit below!