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The Best Charity Shops in London for Snapping up a Bargain

The Best Charity Shops in London for Snapping up a Bargain

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Let’s face it: London isn’t short on a charity shop or two. 

Whilst I may be a little biased about my hometown, no one can deny the fantastic shopping opportunities the city offers.

With a high proportion of the UK’s staggering 9000 charity shops based in London, there is no shortage of places to grab fantastic thrifted items.

The number of people turning to second-hand clothes is rising quickly. So whether you’re environmentally conscious, looking to nab yourself a bargain, or simply love browsing at the unique offerings, the London charity shop scene will not let you down.

And you’ll be happy to know I’ve saved you the hassle of rummaging through the hundreds of charity options.

Instead, browse this handy guide to the best charity shops in London.

 

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12 of the Best Charity Shops in London

British Red Cross Chelsea

What better place to start a London charity shop guide than in the affluent area of Chelsea?

The residents of Chelsea are the richest among us, so it’s no surprise that the British Red Cross is bursting with barely worn designer gems.

Chelsea is the second most expensive place to live in London. So whilst many of us scramble to sell our Topshop dresses on eBay, the residents of Chelsea are happy to donate the likes of Burberry jackets and Mulberry handbags.

As you would expect, the quality here is impeccable. Many Londoners are more than willing to make long journeys across town to make the most of the delights on offer in the central store – which I believe speaks for itself.

69-71 Old Church St, London SW3 5BS

Cancer Research UK, Marylebone

You will struggle to find a more centrally located and well-stocked charity shop than Cancer Research UK.

This Marylebone offering is one of 35 Cancer research ‘concept’ stores across the UK, stocking a great mix of homeware and clothing.

The products in these concept stores are thoroughly vetted before hitting the shelves, meaning they are all of excellent quality. Whilst this means they might attract a slightly higher price point, you can guarantee all items look as good as new.

In 2019/20, trading activities (such as their many shops) brought in over £108 million for Cancer Research, showing the dramatic impact these second-hand shops have.

24 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4PQ

British Red Cross, Notting Hill

I mean, have you seen the houses in Notting Hill? It’s no surprise that the charity shops there rank amongst the best in the country.

The Portobello Road store is filled with similar delights to its sister branch in Chelsea mentioned above. Designer labels are commonplace here – at a fraction of the price you would pay new, and all in brilliant shape.

Plus, venturing here gives you an excuse to wander around this picture-perfect neighbourhood, with its pastel houses, flower displays and Instagrammable cafes.

164 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2EB

Octavia Foundation, South Kensington

The Octavia Foundation is a charity that is committed to helping those on low incomes, unemployed or suffering from ill-health in central and west London. They do this by providing sporting clubs for children, employment workshops for those looking for jobs, and befriending services for older people suffering from social isolation.

They have various stores across London, contributing substantially towards helping the 2000 people the charity supports each year. However, I believe the best of these shops is located in the affluent area of South Kensington.

This Octavia Foundation is right in the heart of the French Quarter, so expect to find plenty of Yves Saint Laurent and Céline. While you will find some high street labels, the majority of the items are high end, chic pieces.

There is heaps to do in Kensington, and brilliant cafes are plentiful in the area.

3 Bute Street, London, SW7 3EY

Retromania, Pimlico

The hipster enclave that is Retromania blurs the line between a charity shop and a vintage boutique.

The pieces here are handpicked from the central donations that the charity receives, making it a fantastic place to pick up unique new items. This carefully curated collection means no searching for a needle in a haystack when shopping at Retromania.

In addition, the prices here are extremely affordable compared to their recommended retail price, and I’ve found its accessories offerings to be particularly great.

All proceeds go to FARA, a charity that helps support disadvantaged children and young people.

6 Upper Tachbrook St, Pimlico, London SW1V 1SH

All Aboard West Hampstead

There are multiple All Aboard shops across London, but in my opinion, the West Hampstead branch is the best.

Interestingly, All Aboard does not work towards a single cause. Instead, they raise money to help unregistered charities across the UK.

Don’t expect the Prada and Gucci labels on offer in some other charity shops in the capital. Instead, All Aboard is packed with the brightly coloured chaos of a traditional charity shop. Here, clothes are mixed with accessories, books, shoes, and every trinket imaginable.

224 West End Lane, London, NW6 1UU

TRAID

TRAID has many stores across London, but the Brixton offering is my favourite. The charity has a very clear mission – they are devoted to creating a more ethical, sustainable, and fairer fashion industry.

One look around Brixton, and you’ll notice the area is filled with the style-conscious, meaning TRAID has ever-rotating rails of great clothes.

Head to Brixton to have a rummage around this fantastic charity shop and grab yourself a bargain. Plus, Brixton is a great place to explore – there’s loads to do and plenty of great cafés to enjoy.

2 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5SG

Boutique by Shelter

No guide to the best charity shops in London would be complete without a big shoutout to Boutique by Shelter. They dub themselves ‘more than your average charity shop’, and my word, do they deliver.

Amazingly, shopping here feels just about as far away from a charity shop experience as you could imagine. The bare brick walls give an independent feel to the space, and the freshly steamed and carefully presented clothes allow you to browse in pure luxury.

There are some small items of handpicked furniture here, but the focus is on providing impeccable clothing pieces.

Don’t expect high street names in this Shelter store. The rails are bursting with high-end and designer labels. What better way to shop the best brands than knowing you are helping some of the UK’s most vulnerable homeless people whilst you do so?

Unit EV8, 1st Floor, Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4AB

Oxfam, Dalston

Are you searching for the best area for charity shops, London? Then look no further than Dalston. The hipster suburb in northeast London is packed with pre-loved treasure.

A quick walk around the neighbourhood will show you the fashion in the area is diverse, and the same follows into its pre-loved fashion shops. This particular Oxfam store has many loyal shoppers who regularly donate and browse the store, so you will find new offerings here daily.

Expect the unexpected when browsing charity shops in Dalston – Oxfam will not let you down.

514-518 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AR

Lama’s Pyjamas, Bethnal Green

So, it’s clear this place won the award for the best charity shop name, but do the offerings match up to the remarkable branding? Well, you’ll be happy to learn they most certainly do.

This quirky store close to Mile End Park sells donated goods to raise money for the London Buddhist Centre.

Lama’s Pyjamas is quite the contrast from the trendy charity boutiques in the south. Instead, this east London offering has a fantastic, mix-matched assortment of goodies for us to rummage through. From clothes to crockery and everything in between.

83 Roman Road, London, E2 0QN

Oxfam Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a beautiful area in London that is extremely popular with families. Meaning, the charity shops are packed with barely-worn clothes and accessories for children of all ages.

Like many Oxfam stores, the Victoria Park branch does not limit itself to just clothes. There are plenty of excellent quality books and toys to be picked up here, at a fraction of the usual cost.

I recommend making a day of it and exploring the area. Wander around the incredible park and enjoy the many independent local cafes.

89 Lauriston Road, London, E9 7HJ

Mary’s Living & Giving Shop 

Everyone with a passion for clothing, and shopping, has heard of Mary Portas. Known for her role in shaking up the British high street in her positions at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, Mary Queen of Shops has turned her hands to revolutionising the charity shop offerings.

Since 2009, Mary has commissioned several ‘Living and Giving’ shops across London in conjunction with Save The Children. These shops focus on creating a community atmosphere and raising a tremendous amount of money from donated, pre-loved gems.

The items in these stores are always thoroughly vetted; expect to find excellent quality pieces and plenty of high-end labels.

There are multiple Locations Across London, but my favourite is in Blackheath.

10 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, London SE3 0TA

Practical Tips for Exploring London’s Charity Shops 

What’s the Best Area for Charity Shops in London?

The best area for charity shops will depend entirely on your tastes. Like many elements of London, there is a clear divide between those in the east and the west. For designer gems at a fraction of the price, areas in southwest London like Chelsea and Kensington will provide the best options. For more unique, quirky selections, head east to Shoreditch and beyond.

Post-Pandemic Charity Shopping

Charity shops suffered hugely during the pandemic and had to change the way they worked dramatically.

Many opened eBay and Depop accounts, offering some of their best items for delivery whilst stores were forced to close. Be sure to check out their website and social media platforms to confirm opening times before visiting.

Donating To Charity

Charity shops across London are more than happy to take on your excellent quality pre-loved items. Great for if you’re having a little clear out before another charity shopping spree. Just be sure only to donate items of a quality you would be happy to purchase yourself!

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