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23 Top London & U.K. Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

23 Top London & U.K. Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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London is where old-world charm and modern lifestyles live side by side. Some of the greatest literary minds have originated from London, and this place is brimming with history!

From Buckingham palace to The Harry Potter Studio, incredible sights can be enjoyed in almost every part of the city. To help you pack, my husband and I (pictured) created the below checklist of must-have items for the United Kingdom.

You’ll also find sections on what to wear in London, along with what NOT to bring and some pro-tips and guidance from our own experiences. Cheers!

Asher and I in London in Londno during our honeymoon.
Lyric and I in London during our honeymoon.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for London – 23 Essentials

  • 1. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    London’s rain is a well-expected charm. From light drizzles to hardy downpours, the U.K. certainly necessitates an umbrella. Be sure to pack one that’s wind-resistant, lightweight, and compacts down so that you can carry it easily when you’re not using it.

    If you bring a full-sized one, you may end up regretting the bulk. And if you wait to buy one from a street vendor, it will be extremely overpriced and low quality. This set comes with a nice carrying case and is perfectly packable!

    Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Jet Lag Relief

    A time change and an international journey put most people into a fog of jet lag. I use this natural remedy since it works proactively to prevent that exhaustion and discomfort. Made with chamomile and natural energizers, you’ll be ready to explore palaces and romanticize your life without all the dreary drowsiness. Bonus points for being able to use it on the way there and on the return trip home!

    jet lag relief

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    The U.K. has been vulnerable to massive cyberattacks and hackers are only getting more ruthless by the day. After having my credit card number stolen while staying in Paris, I never take a chance with my online security when overseas. I now use a Virtual Private Network everywhere I travel, and anytime I connect to unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks in little pubs, libraries, airports, hotels, and more. A good VPN (such as NordVPN) is an affordable way to add a layer of encryption to your online data. It will ensure you don’t wake up with a drained PayPal account or a stolen identity just because you surfed the web at a random dive bar.

    Additionally, a VPN is designed to remove restrictions to your internet access in places where browsing may be censored, monitored, or limited. Did you know you might not be able to access Netflix or YouTube in parts of Europe? We love using a VPN to have a TRULY private network, and will never risk our security or unlimited access again.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 4. Luxury Packing Cubes

    Organization is the key to effectively packing for international trips. These packing cubes make life so much easier by compressing bulky items into smaller sizes and keeping similar items like t-shirts, pants, and essentials compartmentalized. They are a total GAME-CHANGER!

    Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    packing cubes

    Or view them on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Gorgeous Outfit

    London nightlife has made history since the times of Charles Dickens and The Beatles. It is absolutely not to be missed and there are countless amazing restaurants, pubs, clubs, and theatre opportunities to check out.

    I suggest bringing at least one really killer outfit that you feel comfortable walking in, as you will more than likely be taking the tube and walking a fair bit. I love this jumpsuit because it’s inexpensive, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and looks stunning on many different body types.

    jumpsuit

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for London

    London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Can you imagine paying out-of-pocket if something like a broken arm or stolen luggage occurs? Trust me. I know from experience how a change in flight or an accident will quickly rack up mega bills. And a hospital trip alone could reach five-figures since most domestic providers do not follow you across the pond (including Medicare and Medicaid, eh-hm).

    Faye is the best insurer we’ve found for a multitude of reasons. While most providers make you plead your case, fill out heaps of paperwork, and make the process as difficult as possible – Faye is the opposite. They allow you to make claims directly on your phone and get reimbursed quickly. They even allow you to “cancel for any reason” so long as it’s within 15 days of booking your trip. Faye is the real deal, and for such a low cost, it’s well worth it for peace of mind against cancellations, theft, baggage loss, medical emergencies, and more.

    Faye Travel Insurance

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. UK Power Adapter

    The U.K. power outlets are not the same as those in the U.S.; while you don’t need a power converter, you will need a reliable power adapter. Many low-quality adapters will be risky and could damage your devices. Keep your phone and other valuables safe by using an adapter with a built-in fuse protector.

    This one is our go-to because it works in over 100 popular countries and is backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee, so it’s the last adapter you’ll ever need to buy.

    Power Adaptor

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Travel towels are a life-hack you didn’t know you needed. Hotel towels are bulky, fluffy, and get in the way. Some hotels won’t even allow you to take towels with you, so a smaller one is more multi-purposeful. This one is made of quality microfibers and dries 10x faster than cotton, making it great for travelers that need a quick towel, seat cover, beach blanket, rain shield, wrap, etc. It’s very absorbent and weighs next to nothing.

    travel towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Stylish Raincoat

    The U.K. rains year-round, so you must be prepared for unpredictable weather. But London’s play does not stop on account of some grey clouds! This is part of the city’s appeal and can be quite romantic if embraced. Regardless, London is also the cosmopolitan hub of the country, so an overly-casual rain jacket is not ideal if you’re trying to blend in. Opt for a more upscale rain jacket; this navy trenchcoat is sophisticated but practical since it’s water-resistant and adds a bit of warmth.

    Stylish Raincoat

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Comfortable, Attractive Flats

    Since you’ll be on your feet all day navigating a mix of cobblestone, pavement, or brick, you won’t want to risk wearing heels or uncomfortable shoes. That said, it’s still nice to look cute in London and a pair of fun flats are a thoughtful addition to your packing list. They come in a dozen colors, add a bit of spice to your outfit, and simultaneously ensure your safety and comfort. Break them in a bit before departing and pack along blister balm for good measure.

    Comfortable, Attractive Flats

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Neck Wallet to Avoid Pickpockets!

    Pickpockets are unfortunately extremely common in London, especially at crowded touristic attractions like Big Ben, Picadilly Square, and Westminster. That’s why I highly recommend you bring a wearable neck wallet.

    I don’t take chances with my credit cards, phone, cash, and passport, and this cute little pouch hides all these items securely around my neck (or under my shirt), yet it’s still easy to get to when I need something from it. This one also comes with RFID-blocking technology so “e-thieves” can’t scan your wallet from a distance!

    Neck Wallet to Avoid Pickpockets!

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Discounted Tickets to London Attractions

    Many of the best things to see and do in London also have atrociously long lines. Get Your Guide is our favorite booking service for the best excursions in town. Instead of baking in the sun or dripping in the rain for hours – opt for skip-the-line tickets that allow you to jump to the front door without a wait!

    Newcomers may consider a Hop-on-Hop-off sightseeing tour to get an immediate lay of the land, while every visitor should see the classics like The London Eye, the historic Tower of London, or the sacred Westminster Abbey, (the final resting place of many royals and famous literary minds). History lovers may want to venture on a daytrip to Stonehenge and The Roman Baths or Shakespeare’s home.

    get your guide

    See all London attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

  • 13. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    We never travel without a portable charger because you never know when you’ll end up in a pickle with a low battery. Whether you need GPS or you’re stranded far from the hotel (sometimes I’ve forgotten the address or needed to look up something but my phone was dead) – this portable charger will keep you from scrambling in an emergency. Even if you have access to an outlet, you’ll need an adapter in the U.K., so this lipstick-sized charger will be the simplest way to repower your devices on-the-go.

    charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Luggage Locks

    From trains to planes to taxis, it’s important to keep your belongings secure and safe from theft with luggage locks. This set of two luggage locks will do just the trick. They’re TSA-approved, lightweight, but super durable. I wear them on my backpack while exploring town since petty thieves will often prey upon baggage that is behind you or out of sight. You can explore stress-free because they’re 10x harder to crack than a typical 3-digit lock.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Stylish Anti-Theft Daybag

    Navigating London is exciting and you will need a fashionable daybag like this one to carry your essentials (water, phone, camera, snacks, etc.). Nonetheless, the locals are stylish and you don’t want to appear as a blatant tourist because pickpockets are more likely to target you. This bag is actually made for theft prevention, with layers of discreet straps and braided tape. Plus, nothing feels quite like genuine leather!

    Stylish Anti-Theft Daybag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Activated Charcoal (Food Poisoning Fix)

    Digestive ailments are extremely common among travelers due to the exposure to new foods and drinks and the stress of traveling itself. I love how easily activated charcoal can handle travelers’ diarrhea and stomach upset. It works by absorbing toxins that may be in your system and calming your digestive tract so you can return to normal as quickly as possible.

    Note: We mainly recommend these in cases of food poisoning or immediate detox of harmful bacteria. But when needed, they can certainly save you a day of pain and distress.

    Activated Charcoal (Food Poisoning Fix)

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Reusable Bottle Bags (Leak-Proof)

    After tasting the local spirits, inevitably, you will want to bring home a bottle or two. These anti-impact bottle sleeves protect your most precious glass varietals. You can use it for more than alcohol, such as protecting your luxury perfumes, oils, soaps, or any glass items that need cushioning.

    Easily pack these in your checked bag without worrying about any leaks in transit since they have thick bubble padding to prevent broken bottles. They’re also reusable – what’s not to love?

     Reusable Bottle Bags (Leak-Proof)

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    London is a place where you should do some shopping – point blank. The Europeans are blessed with getting fashionable trends 2-3 years before Americans and souvenirs make wonderful gifts for your loved ones. This “just in case” bag is perfect for all of those unpredictable purchases since it counts as a personal item on the plane.

    I’d recommend checking out some U.K. goods like locally-blended tea leaves, Yorkshire rhubarb gin, wine, Harry Potter merch, books, fresh jams, Shakespeare mementos, and whatever gems you find at Harrods!

    Just in Case bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Cooling Towels

    I’m guessing that a trip to London does not conjure up expectations of tropical weather. This is true of course, but London can get hot and air-conditioning does not exist in every location. The most surprising to me was on the trains. Public transport is the best way to get around this vibrant city but when you discover that there are no cooling systems, it can be quite intense.

    These towels provide instant relief and the effect lasts for 30-60 minutes. To extend the benefit, I just wet the towel, wring out, and wrap it around my neck for cooling comfort.

    towel pink

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 20. Natural Hangover Relief Pills

    If you care to indulge in the British pub scene, it’s something to behold. You should definitely check out local drinking holes like ‘Experimental Cocktail Club,’ ‘Nine Lives,’ and roof-top views like ‘12th Knot.’ But be sure to start (or end) your night with some hangover-prevention pills.

    These work to detoxify your liver and remove the alcohol more quickly, relieving potential headaches and fatigue. Time is precious in Europe and you want to feel tip-top every day of your trip! Bring these as a precaution and you won’t be sorry.

    hangover pills

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    I love this gorgeous toiletry bag! And for the price, it can’t be beat. Most London flats and hotels have small bathrooms with countertop space that would make you consider pulling your hair out… Sometimes you’ll only have a sink with no storage.

    Use this hanging toiletries bag to convert any door or hook into a shelf, maintaining your self-care routine (and your sanity) while packing becomes a breeze. It holds 10+ TSA-Approved Bottles and is generally way better than fumbling around with multiple plastic bags in your suitcase.

    hanging toiletry bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Prepaid European SIM Phone Card

    London is calling. But your domestic provider would love to charge you outrageous roaming rates. Don’t give them the pleasure – a traveler’s hack is to get a prepaid SIM card for your phone. It will have a given amount of data (typically 10-50 gigabytes for short-duration stays), and any local vendor can instantly connect your phone.

    This one is compatible with 30 major European cities and allows you to send 1,000 texts. Unlock your phone before you leave and prepare to do as the Londoners do!

    Prepaid European SIM Phone Card

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Wellies (AKA Rainboots)

    London ladies will need a pair of wellingtons (or “wellies” as the locals call them). These rain boots originated in 19th century and are a staple in British footwear. Pack a pair and whip them out if the weather looks risky, they will keep your feet dry in sudden downpours or muddy areas. You will feel cute and comfortable while exploring since this brand offers the chicest wellies I’ve ever seen in a variety of beautiful designs.

    Wellies (AKA Rainboots)

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in London

UK fashion tends to be a bit dressier in most areas – London is a good example of this. Most places you’ll visit will be ones in which you’ll want to look nice. Think business casual or at least nice casual – no ripped or torn jeans, bare midriffs, or gawdy apparel. Locals follow these quidelines, so it’s better to fit in by dressing accordingly.

You will absolutely want rain gear, and it should be nice-looking – opt for a more stylish option if at all possible. Also remember that layers are key – you can shed them or add them as needed to stay comfortable.

What should WOMEN wear in London? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women in London have a smart, stylish look. Create versatile outfits and save on packing space by choosing black or dark grey pants, shirts, and dresses that form the basis of any outfits. Pair them with a pop of color with sweaters, scarves, and jewelry. Ankle boots are a popular choice for footwear that works well with leggings and a dress or skinny pants and long sweaters. Finish the look with a scarf and leather jacket to blend in with other Londoners.

What should MEN wear in London? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Men in London wear clothes that are more fitted compared to the US and Canada. Pack a few pairs of slim fit jeans and trousers along with solid color tees. Keep warm with fitted cardigans and sweaters on top. Avoid wearing any graphic tees and baggy clothing. Choose comfortable waterproof shoes for walking around the city and a pair of dress shoes is also a good idea for evenings out. Sunglasses are good for any season and keep all your cards and cash in a minimalist wallet for safe keeping. Lastly, choose a jacket with a hood in case it rains.

Packing for the Seasons in London

SPRING – March, April, May:

Spring is a season of great variation in weather in Great Britain. One day may be warmer and sunny, while the next could be rainy and overcast. Tourism is light during this season, so if you can handle the weather it’s a great time to visit.

Plan to be prepared for anything with regard to your wardrobe: cute layers (think nice cardigans and shirts) and a dependable rain coat, just in case rains interrupt your day. Temperatures average around 45°F to 60°F (7°C to 15°C).

SUMMER – June, July, August:

Summers are delightfully mild in London. Rains can happen so it’s still best to plan accordingly. For the most part, summer travelers will enjoy easy conditions, which is why this is also the height of tourist season.

Summer in London is similar to spring in many parts of the US – you’ll want a light jacket and clothes that can keep you comfortable regardless of temperature. Bring lightweight pants or skirts and tops, and a scarf or pashmina or two. Temperatures average around 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).

FALL – September, October, November:

This is the rainiest part of the year in London. Tourists during this time of year will enjoy smaller crowds, but will need to pack for a wet trip! Umbrella, scarves, fashionable raincoat, and boots are a good idea. Temperatures average around 55°F to 65°F (12°C to 18°C).

WINTER – December, January, February:

Temperatures are milder here in the winter than in many parts of the world, and rain is also common in this season. Snow is not unheard of, so be sure to pack warm clothes such as: heavier waterproof coats, hats and gloves, and scarves if you’ll be traveling during this time! Temperatures average around 40°F to 50°F (4°C to 10°C).

How to dress correctly for the activity – (Click to expand)

Parks & Picnic – London has many beautiful parks all over the city and a favorite pastime for Londoners is picnicking and Pimm’s (a very popular summer drink). Some of the best parks include Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath, and the Crystal Palace. Wear dark colors that won’t stain if you sit on the grass. Fitted jeans or shorts and t-shirt are the best options for both men and women. Also, don’t forget to bring a nice pair of shades.

Museums – The majority of museums in London are free to visit. The British Museum, National Gallery, and Victoria and Albert Museum can’t be missed! Dress smart in fitted clothing and avoid t-shirts with graphics. Trousers and cardigans are a good choice. Also, bring a pashmina or scarf in case it is cool inside.

Theatre – Surprisingly, most Londoners will wear casual clothes to the theatre. Fitted jeans and a sweater for men, tights with a dress and long sweater for women. Women can also add some stylish jewelry to the outfit like long necklaces or rose gold rings. Both men and women can never go wrong with a leather jacket to finish the outfit.

What NOT to Take to London and the U.K.

  • 1.DON’T PACK lots of electronics

    I recommend packing your phone, a Kindle, and maybe a laptop, but don’t bring much more than that. It’s not worth the risk of bringing unnecessary electronics and having them lost or stolen.

  • 2.DON’T BRING too many/heavy items

    The one exception here is winter clothes. If you’re going during the colder months, you will definitely need them. Otherwise, save yourself the luggage fees – and the back pain!

  • 3.DON’T TAKE hiking-style gear

    While this stuff is certainly appropriate for outdoor sports in the UK, and you may need it if you’re on a more extensive trip that includes hiking, it’s otherwise pointless to have in London, and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

  • 4.DON’T PACK anything that screams “hapless tourist!”

    Please leave your fanny packs, money belts, and I love New York t-shirts at home. Likewise, decking yourself out in Union Jack or American flag paraphernalia is just not done here. They’re not as obsessed with either flag as we seem to be.

  • 5.DON’T TAKE hairdryers

    These eat up a good deal of space in your luggage and most hostels/hotels have them on hand for guests anyway.

  • 6.DON’T BRING valuable or irreplaceable items

    This is a no-brainer. Leave your expensive and irreplaceable things at home to avoid the risk of loss, theft, or damage.

What clothing should I NOT wear in London? – (Click to expand)

It may rain a lot in London but you’ll rarely catch a Londoner wearing knee-high rain boots. Save space in your suitcase and leave those rain boots at home. If you are going to wear a football (soccer) club’s shirt, make sure you don’t go into a rival teams neighborhood as Londoners are very passionate about this sport and you may get a lot of glares, to say the least. Avoid standing out as a tourist by not wearing fanny packs, graphic tees, sweatpants, sweatshirts and any baggy clothing. Lastly, London’s not known as the cleanest city so it is good to avoid wearing flip-flops.

FAQs about London Travel

  • 1. What is a good basic daily budget for London?

    decker bus

    Even budget travelers will easily find themselves coming in at over $100 per day. All those Tube rides add up and it’s hard to find a hostel dorm bed in a central spot for less than $30. If you plan on staying in a private hotel room, expect to pay a lot more for the privilege. Admissions to popular attractions like the Tower of London can also be pretty pricey.

    The good news here is that most of the local parks, some of them famous in their own right, are free to the public. So are the major museums in town, such as the British Museum.

  • 2. Do I need to tip in London restaurants?

    When purchasing takeaway or drinks at the pubs, you aren’t expected to leave a tip. The rules are slightly different in sit-down restaurants. It’s becoming standard practice to leave 10% of your total bill or just the change if you didn’t order much.

    Wait staff in most of Europe, including Britain, are paid minimum wage by law so they’re not completely dependent on tips like their American counterparts. However, don’t let your generosity run away with you. Check your bill first. Some places will automatically put a so-called service charge on your tab. This is the equivalent of a prepaid tip, but you don’t have to pay it if your service was bad or you feel it’s unfairly high.

    Of course, feel free to leave as much as you like for excellent service. Just keep in mind that American sized tips of 20% or more are considered exorbitant in England. Likewise, if you want to make sure the waiters keep the money for themselves, it is best to hand them cash even if you’re paying with a card.

  • 3. When’s the best time to visit London?

    Modern London

    In general, the spring is a great time to visit most of Europe. This includes London, particularly if you were planning on stopping at places like Kew Gardens to see the flowers in full bloom. Although warmer and drier weather is far more likely in the summer, you’re going to pay for it with higher prices and larger crowds in popular spots.

    I hate cold weather so I’d probably never come to England in the depths of winter. But I definitely think that it’s worth dealing with a few overcast days to have relatively quiet travel conditions. Of course, your own thoughts may vary on that score.

  • 4. What are my transportation options for getting to/from London from the nearby airports?

    Where it is possible to use either the Tube or the Express Trains, those are your best options. If you’re not in a hurry or money is tight, taking the bus is also perfectly fine. However, taxis aren’t recommended because they’re both expensive and time-consuming.

  • 5. What if I don’t particularly like fish and chips, can I still find decent food to eat?

    London Tea

    Yes! Although I personally wouldn’t skip that particular dish, English food has changed a lot in recent years and become more than just your typical pub grub. There are plenty of different cuisine styles available in London and many of them are even at reasonable prices.

    However, if you’re pressed for cash, try the French chain Pret-a-Manger. It’s basically like the European version of Panera Bread. I am now hooked on their pickle sandwiches (about £3).

  • 6. Are there any areas of London that I should avoid?

    Like any major city, London has its fair share of petty crime but the city center is generally considered a very safe place to visit. Just hold on to your belongings and make sure your luggage is secure at all times (even in your hostel room) to avoid any issues.

  • 7. Can you suggest some good day trips from London?

    Oxford aerial

    Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, and Brighton seem to be the ones most commonly mentioned. I personally enjoyed Bath a great deal. It’s a beautiful spa town that dates back to Roman times but was particularly popular during the 1800s. It also makes a good base for visiting nearby places such as Glastonbury, Wells, and Stonehenge. Brighton is another popular day trip from London. It was a favorite beach destination for the Crown Prince in the early part of the 19th century but really gained steam four decades later when the rail lines came into town. Now it’s a bit faded but is nonetheless known for its antiques and bohemian vibe.

    Oxford and Cambridge are famous college towns with lengthy histories. Students of both are known to enjoy spending their free time punting on the nearby rivers. Oxford most notably served as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies and there’s plenty for fans of the series to see.
    Meanwhile, Cambridge makes a good base for visiting the rest of East Anglia including the nearby countryside towns of Ely and Peterborough, which are both home to ancient cathedrals and other interesting sites.

  • 8. Is London a safe place to visit?

    Yes. London is among the safest places to travel to, though all travelers should take basic precautions. Along with those recommendations made above, travelers ahould aoid walking alone at night and should never carry excessive cash or valuables. Plan your routes and transportation ahead of time to feel more condifent about your day and your whereabouts.

    Likewise, familiarize yourself with common scams that might be used against you to avoid becoming a victim. Just use the same caution you would exercise in any city and you should be just fine, even at night. London is even a safe place for women traveling alone – very few problems arise as long as basic safety measures are followed. Research safety here if you’re concerned!

  • 9. What should I do if my clothing or luggage vanished or was forgotten en route?

    While second-hand shops can be found in England if you’re willing to hunt for them, there aren’t any major ones like there are in the United States. Your best bet for finding clothes at affordable prices are nationally recognized discount chains like Primark.

  • 10. Do I need to buy a map of the Tube before I go?

    London underground

    Not at all! There are perfectly good pocket-sized Tube maps that are available for free at most stations. There are also large city maps on the station walls by the outside doors. These can help you figure out which way to go in order to reach your destination after you depart the premises. What is also really handy, is using your phone to download a free Tube map or using an app like Google Maps that will help you navigate the Tube.

  • 11. What’s the deal with the Oyster Card?

    The Oyster Card is a good way to save money on public transport in London because tickets for bus and Tube rides are considerably cheaper if they’re not bought individually. If you plan on using or needing a lot of rides in a 24 hour period, using the card means that transportation will never cost you more than a set amount. Oyster Cards can be bought at any Tube station for a £5 deposit as well as how much you want to put on the card. You fill up the card on the machine readers when you enter the Tube or bus and again when you exit. Once you’re done with it, you can cash it out at one of the machines and get your £5 back as well as any money that’s left on it.