Moving to London? What to Pack

Making the move to London is such an exciting time, but amongst all of the planning and aspirations for this new chapter in your life, it’s necessary to work out a few practicalities. A major one is: what on earth should you pack to take with you?

This is not as easy a decision as it might first sound, but there are some ways to simplify your choices. The first thing you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • Is the move you’re making temporary (less than a year or so) or permanent?
  • Are you moving from within the EU, or are you moving from further afield?
  • Is it just you moving to London, or are you moving with a spouse and/or children?
  • Are you a student?
  • Are you planning to move into furnished accommodation?
  • If you own a property in your original country, are you selling this or keeping it for when you return? Or are you planning on renting it out?


Knowing the answers to these few questions will assist you in beginning to decide what you need to pack and what can be left behind.

For example, if your move is temporary, you might not feel that it’s worth the cost to ship large items of furniture to London for a short amount of time. And if you’re planning on renting out furnished accommodation, then you won’t need to bring items of furniture and large electricals.

Of course, if you’re keeping a property at home, then you may well want to leave all your original furniture there – no doubt it’s been carefully chosen and collected over a number of years.

Let’s start to look in more detail at various items that you may or may not want to pack.

Electrical Items

The reason for asking whether or not you’re moving within the EU has not only to do with the cost of shipping – it’s also because other countries of the world have different voltage.

In the UK, the voltage is 240. That’s double the amount of that in the USA. Therefore, to bring electrical items such as washing machines, toasters, hair dryers, etc., means that not only will you need to purchase a plug adaptor (as the power sockets in the whole of the UK are three pin), but also a converter to alter the voltage being supplied to the appliance.

In the case of smaller electricals (or even larger ones), it can simply be more economical to purchase new on your arrival to London.

There are many places to purchase such items. Good value electrical products can be bought from Argos. Supermarkets, such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, also sell competitively priced electrical goods.

There are other outlets as well – John Lewis is a well renowned and respected store that provides a 5-year guarantee on all electricals – and they are known for stocking some of the best quality products available. In addition to being able to purchase in-store, all these retailers offer online purchase and home delivery if required.

Items such as TVs and computers tend to be dual voltage nowadays, meaning that they will work in all regions of the world.


Whether or not you decide to bring furniture with you will depend on both personal choice, and whether or not you intend to find already furnished accommodation.

If you’re a student, it’s likely that you’ll either not have much furniture anyway, or that you’ll be moving into Halls of Residence or shared accommodation. This makes it likely that you won’t need to ship any furniture to London.

Of course, you might simply decide that the cost of shipping furniture is too great. In which case you may need to go shopping in London to kit our your new home. Swedish superstore, Ikea, is a popular place to shop – and many people manage to completely kit out their house at a very reasonable price.

Other furniture stores include DFS, Marks and Spencer, and SCS. Once again, John Lewis does a very nice range of furniture – albeit a little pricier than some other options.


Bringing a car with you to the UK can be an expensive task, depending on the type of vehicle you have and where you need to ship it from. For those in Europe it’s easy – you simply drive – but for those coming from other countries of the world, it will be necessary to contact a specialist car shipper for a quote.

This can range in price from anything upwards of a thousand pounds. For prestigious vehicles, the cost can be pretty substantial, but obviously you need to be sure that your precious wheels will arrive in tiptop shape. Some car shippers to try are U Ship and Ship My Car.

Miscellaneous items

The above are all larger items, but what about all the other “stuff” that goes into making a house your home? Items such as cutlery and crockery, glasses, cups and mugs, towels, bedding… The list of these is endless and very personal.

Only you can decide whether or not you wish to bring such things with you, or if you’re simply going to purchase new in London.

If you are going to buy such items in the UK, it will depend on your budget as to where you’ll shop.

For functional, cheap, and cheerful items, once again Ikea is a great option, as is Argos. The large supermarket chains (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Morrisons) also sell value for money items.

Of course, if you want to splash out, John Lewis is once again a great option. The clothing store Next also has a home ware department in its larger stores or online. If you’re in the market for bargain designer goods, and have the time and patience to shop around, clearance store TK Maxx is always a good place to look.

One other place, if you’re looking for designer bargains, is the outlet park known as Bicester Village. A short drive from London (on the M40 motorway), the place is packed with top designer names. Most of the stores are clothing, but there are also some home ware shops such as The White Company (great for lovely Egyptian cotton bedding and towels) and Ralph Lauren Home.