If you are stuck for something to do this weekend and love bagging awesome shit check out my three top spots for the best charity shops London style. These are my favourite because they are either part of a route of charity shops or close by to some other fantastic activities. I have gone the extra mile for you, beloved reader, and have created some google maps to guide you around these routes. No one likes traipsing around with only the rumour of a vintage palace spurring you on. Trust me on these routes, they are not the ones featured in some posh newspaper by a journo who has wandered past a fancy looking charity shop with Vivienne Westwood in the window. These are the best charity shops London locals know of and love…
Pimilico Charity Shop Circuit
Pimlico – such an easy area to get to, just a five minute walk south of the huge, central, Victoria Train Station. I know this circuit like the back of my hand- I get to do the rounds at least once a week on a lunch break. What a treat!
There are EIGHT, yes, EIGHT, shops in this tiny circuit. Fara really rule the roost here with Fara Retromania (with a fun £5 rail outside), a normal shop and a Fara Kids. The Oxfam shop is excellent for shoes, and smart clothing. The Sue Ryder is a fairly cheap one, the Trinity Hospice is great for fabric ends and wool, the Fara Kids has brilliant -if pricey- stylish kids clothes (but jawdropping sales.) I have bought lots of lovely items from the normal Fara and a few crazy bits and bobs from Retromania. I have worked in this patch for FIVE YEARS and it was only last summer that I found out about a sneaky little shop hiding one block back, where I have since found some beautiful jewelry. I felt so ripped off, imagining five years worth of bargains I had missed out on!
Here is the public Google Map of the Pimlico circuit for you.
It is easy to make a day of it by having a delicious lunch at the market by Fara Kids (check out the falafal stand) and then a wander a bit further down towards the Thames to Tate Britain, where they have a spectacular crafty kids corner. You wouldn’t know such a cultural hotspot could be five minutes from the back of the concrete jungle that is Vauxhall Bridge Road.
There are only two charity shops here but I count this as one of my favourite areas as thrifting fits so easily into a wonderful fun day and I have got some incredible, beautiful clothing here. There is an Oxfam here and a Cancer Research, both of which can be a tiny bit more expensive (average £7 trousers/ £4 top) but the quality tends to be quite high. We will often train into Blackheath, hop the shops, grab a delicious lunch at one of the delis, then wander over the Heath via the icecream van, into the wonders of Greenwhich park and down to the antique markets. This is a whole Saturday with something for every member of the family. I have highlighted the shops on the map here.
This is not a route for the faint of heart but for the stoic bargain hunter wearing hiking boots. If you want a real experience of central London tourism and all the best charity shops London offers up this is the route for you. You will find some swag! Begin at Goodge Street, there is a wonderful Oxfam where I never fail to buy something (often brand new stuff), a Sue Ryder and a Notting Hill (both of which are good for a browse but can be quite dear- average £8 trousers, £5-6 top). There is also a high end vintage shop on the other side of the road.
Head south west down to Oxford Circus stopping at the Salvation Army on Princes Street. It is worth the diversion this is quite a massive shop and they often have brand new designer items, alongside average shoddy (but cheap!) gear. They often have very glamorous shoes and boutique dresses. Whatever you do though, DON’T USE THE CHANGING ROOM WITHOUT ASKING. You will be embarrassed if they catch you (!!!)
If you still have wind in your sails, grab some lunch and keep heading west, but back North a little to Marylebone. This is a little area jampacked with charity shops. They are filled with designer goods and the prices do reflect this but if you are looking for some good quality shizzle, Marlybone has your name on it. It is also full of lovely little independent shops and is right on the edge of glorious Regent’s Park where you can catch some music in the bandstand, or collapse under a tree with your bags of bargains!
Check out the route here and PLEASE add more if I have missed any gems!
What do you reckon- have you visited these patches? Have you got a favourite charity shop London circuit you do or a place you could wile away a whole day?