Finding things, Green things, Thrifty

Best Charity Shops London: twenty shops in three spots

23 March, 2012

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…Best Charity Shops London

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.

Central London
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?

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  • Liz Burton 23 March, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Fabulous post!!

    I’m going to print it out and pop in in my bag for next time I’m in the smoke.

    Thanks for sharing x

    • lulastic 23 March, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks Liz. Reckon we should compile a blogger’s guide to charity shopping in the UK with the other Magpies. Hmmm maybe there’s a meme in there!

  • Sarah Carritt 23 March, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    What a good idea. Up here in East Leeds we have a pretty good selection on Garforth Main St, where you can easily wile away the hours in about five or six really well priced and well stocked charity shops, then have a cuppa afterwards in Baraka, where all funds go back in to the Garforth community. One of my favourite mornings. X

    • lulastic 23 March, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      For real, that sounds LUSH! A nice place for a cuppa is key in a good charity shop trawl!

  • Tim 23 March, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Happy memories here Lucy. You didn’t even care to put in the Streatham Golden Mile?!

    • Tim 23 March, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      I guess to make a day of it you could pack a picnic and go for a swim in the swimming cossy you just bought in tooting bec lido.

      • lulastic 24 March, 2012 at 8:31 am

        Of course- or ice skating? Maybe subconsciously I was keeping the Golden Mile under wraps. Now I’ll even have to reveal that on another post.

  • Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] 23 March, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Great post, I used to work near Pimlico and there were some good ‘uns. Haven’t really had a chance to hit the central charity shops for ages, must rectify that. There is a good branch of Fara in Battersea where I have been lucky a couple of times.

    • lulastic 24 March, 2012 at 8:32 am

      There are a couple of goodies in Battersea eh? Think another trip is due 🙂

  • pinkoddy 26 March, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Great post. We have lots and lots of charity shops here in our small town.

    • lulastic 10 April, 2012 at 11:48 am

      You are lucky, my locals are a bit pants 🙁 I havew to go on tours like these to have a proper rummage!

  • Wendy 9 April, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I can’t get the maps to work – they all just come up with an unmarked map of the whole of the UK! Could you please check the links and do them again? I’m really keen to do the Pimlico route.

    • lulastic 10 April, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Oh thanks so much for highlighting this Wendy- think I may have used wrong links. Hopefully is fixed now!

  • Octavia Foundation 2 May, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Really enjoyed the blog! If you venture further west, make sure to check out some of our Octavia Foundation charity shops. Great finds to be had in all of them, particularly nice bits in our Brompton Road and Kings Road shops!

    • lulastic 3 May, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Thanks for stopping by, I love Octavia, very boutiquey!

  • Pauline 26 February, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing these precious info! Another nice circuit is in Muswell hill 🙂

  • Miriam 19 March, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Hi Lulastic!

    I have to pick up on the fact that the only comment made about the fantastic little Sue Ryder shop is that it is cheap!
    How can you have missed the excellent quality clothing in this little gem? Yes, It’s certainly great value but let’s also talk about the amazing Bric-a-brac, beautiful books and fabulous service here!
    A really friendly team of volunteers who are passionate about raising money for people with life-changing illnesses within one of our best national charities.
    By far cheaper than all the others in the area. Come back in, say hello and let me show you what you’ve been missing….!?