The ultimate UK packing list

The ultimate UK packing list

This article was published by the Great British Mag content team on 25 August 2021

Moving to study and work in the UK is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming and scary. The last thing you want to be worrying about is what to pack, so we’ve put together a list of what you should bring with you to uni.

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The most important thing to bring to the UK is appropriate paperwork. If you do not have all your documents, then you may be denied entry at the border. To make sure that you don’t lose your documents pack them safely together in a folder. Also remember to keep your paperwork in your hand luggage so that you have access at all times.

Here is a handy guide on which documents you need to bring: 

  • A valid passport
  • A valid short-term visa vignette or UK entry clearance 
  • A completed landing card 
  • A plane, train, bus or ferry ticket 
  • Your Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) decision letter, which sets out the leave granted and explains the BRP collection process in the UK 
  • A printed copy of your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This document includes your CAS number
  • A printed copy of your letter of acceptance from your university    
  • Original copies (or certified true copies) of any degree certificates or technical qualifications such as your English level exam results and High School certificate 
  • Any printed evidence that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs while you’re in the UK. Evidence might include recent bank statements, proof of scholarship or a letter from your sponsor
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Any prescriptions for medicines that you may need
  • Any relevant medical history
  • X-ray certificates
  • Covid-19 documents
    • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate if you are vaccinated
    • A negative Covid-19 test
    • Quarantine hotel booking confirmation (if relevant)
    • Passenger locator form
    • Pre-booked Covid-19 tests confirmation

Personal Items

You will need to bring any prescribed medicine. We also recommend bringing a first aid kit with some essentials such as ibuprofen and plasters in case of an emergency. 

You might also want to bring any sentimental items that remind you of homewhether that be family photographs or your favourite soft toy. This will help you with any homesickness down the line.


Winters in the UK can be very chilly, so do make sure that you come prepared for a frosty climate. Depending on where you are in the UK, there might even be a high chance of getting snow! Here are the top things you should pack to face the British weather:

  • A warm winter coat (preferably waterproof)
  • A raincoat or rain jacket
  • Warm pyjamas
  • Jumpers/sweaters
  • Warm socks
  • Hat, scarf and gloves
  • A warm pair of trousers or thermal clothing
  • A good pair of waterproof boots (does not have to be wellies) 

That said, in spite of our cold winters it’s important to remember that summers can get quite hot in the UK too—with temperatures sometimes reaching up to 30ºC in the south. Here are the top things that you should pack for the summer months:

  • Sunglassestrust us you will need them!
  • Summer T-shirts
  • A pair of shorts
  • Swimwear

Tip: No matter what you pack, make sure to bring layers. It’s true that the UK can have four seasons in one day. So don’t despair if you wake up to a rainy day—by the afternoon you may need to ditch your coat in favour of an airy cotton T-shirt!

Electronics and academic supplies 

You should bring your laptop, tablet, mobile phone, headphones, e-reader and any other lightweight things that are difficult to replace when you move to the UK. Don’t forget to pack all of your charging cords!

Bear in mind that you may need to bring plug and power adaptors in order to use British outlets. The UK uses type G plugs and 230 volts at 50 hertz.

You should also double-check to see whether your electronics are equipped to deal with British voltage. If they aren’t then you must NOT plug them in without using an adaptor, otherwise you could melt your electronics—or worse, start a fire!

Make sure to also bring a sturdy backpack so that you can carry around your laptop, all the books you might need and any other supplies such as a notebook, umbrella and water bottle.


What food you are allowed to bring into the UK, and how much you are allowed to bring, depends on whether you are entering from inside or outside the EU. Be sure to check the Home Office’s website before you fly.

The UK is very multicultural and you will most certainly find shops and supermarkets where you can buy ingredients and treats from back home. You can also check out your local restaurant scene to find the meals from home that you’ve been craving.


It is best to order British cash or travellers’ cheques before you leave your home country. Be sure to tell your bank when and where you are flying so that you will be able to withdraw money from UK ATMs.

You should carry enough money to cover all your immediate expenses, such as:

  • Customs charges
  • Transportation fares (trains, cabs, etc.)
  • Emergency expenses

If you are travelling by yourself, you probably won’t need more than £250; but if you’re travelling with family, you should bring more cash. 

If you are renting a flat in the UK, you should have enough money to pay the deposit. A deposit is typically one month’s rent, but it can be quite a bit more.

You should not bring large amounts of cash into the UK. If you are travelling to Scotland, England or Wales from any part of the world, then you will have to declare to UK customs authorities any cash amounts of £10,000 (or the equivalent in another currency) or more.

Northern Ireland has slightly different rules. If you are travelling between Northern Ireland and a non-EU country, then you will have to declare amounts of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency). You do not need to declare anything if you are travelling to Northern Ireland from an EU country. 

 In this instance, cash includes:

  • Notes and coins
  • Banker’s drafts
  • Cheques of any kind (including travellers’ cheques)

Even if you declare large amounts of cash, customs officers can seize it if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a crime. If you do not declare amounts of cash of €10,000 or more, then you could face a penalty of up to £5,000.

You may also want to read

What NOT to pack when moving to the UK

What will september look like in UK universities?

Post-Brexit update to funding for EU students