Living in NW London, surrounded by charity shops, I’ve come to appreciate just how much fun it can be to rummage through racks of clothes, hoping to find a bargain on a Saturday afternoon. However, not all charity shops are created equal, with some definitely overpricing their goods while others are practically giving the stuff away. The true bargain hunter rarely reveals their favourite shops, but as I’m trying to purge more than acquire these days, I’m willing to reveal my Top 5 London Charity Shops.
- Shelter, Swiss Cottage. 173 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6LB. If you’ve never liked the idea of wearing someone’s hand-me-downs, this place is a goldmine for you as it’s a drop off point for Marks & Spencer’s samples and last season’s stock. Other brands such as Reiss have also been known to drop off clothes there and, as a result, I’ve found brand new items marked down by 75% or more. My mum, who lives down the road and doesn’t need any more clothes, stops in on a weekly basis to see what has come in too! While prices are not the cheapest, it’s worth spending the little bit extra, knowing the clothes are unworn.
- British Heart Foundation, Kilburn. 93 Kilburn High Rd, North Maida Vale, London NW6 6JE. My favourite drop off point for my own clothes and my favourite place to pick up new ones (often at the same time!). Last week I scooped up a brand new Aquascutum skirt there for £12.99 after noticing that the brand had dropped off a number of new items (still with tags). I also noticed a new Barbour jacket there for £29.99 and men’s outfitter T.M. Lewin often drops off men’s shirts there too. The book section is especially good as are general housewares.
- Traid, Kilburn. 70-72 Kilburn High Rd, North Maida Vale, London NW6 4HS. After a recent refurb, the shop had a everything for £2 sale, during which I picked up a vintage silk dress from the 60s that was lying in a crumpled heap in a basket. After a dry cleaning it came up good as new and is now one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe. You’ll find lots of high street brands here at good prices and the occasional designer piece, unworn, too. Their party dress section is especially good.
- Oxfam Earls Court. 145 Earls Ct Rd, Earls Court, London SW5 9RH. I haven’t been to this branch of Oxfam for a while but, the last time I did, I managed to pick up a secondhand original Moncler coat for £16.99 that saw me through three winters. Most Oxfams have a good selection of items and being so close to Knightsbridge, this one tends to feature more upmarket designer brands. Definitely worth a rummage if you’re in the area!
- Oxfam Bookstore Marylebone., 91 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4RB. This shop is vast with hundreds of books, records, CDs and DVDs. Rare books sit alongside popular classics and, if you’re a vinyl lover, there’s usually a gem or two hidden amongst the Abba and Donna Summer records. They now stock clothes and housewares too.