As we get more and more conscious about the environment, how our clothes are made and where they exactly come from, there’s no better time to go shopping in charity shops. From exclusive designer gladrags at a knockoff price to an alluring array of antiques that would look great in your flat, you never quite know what you’ll find rummaging through a charity shop.
Plus, with it being the season for giving – and Londoners once again have pulled out all the stops with their generosity donating coats to a wide variety of homelessness charities – we figured that it was also a great time to know where they all are if you’re looking to donate some more things. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of ten of the best charity shops in London to bag yourself some bargains:
1. Cancer Research UK, Portobello Road
Portobello Road is well-known for its antiques, bric-a-brac and vintage shops, but did you know that it was also home to one of the best charity shops in London? This branch of Cancer Research UK has a whole selection of unique and hand-sourced items on offer, ranging from Prada shoes to Miu Miu dresses and much more besides.
The whole back section of the store is dedicated to vintage clothing, and you’ll likely find some luxury designer items at bargain prices. Proceeds naturally go towards Cancer Research, so time to get rummaging we say!
📍183 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED.
🚇 Nearest station is Ladbroke Grove.
2. Second Chance, Archway
Run by the Archway Methodist Church, this independent charity shop splits its proceeds with a whole host of different charities, ranging from local ones to church projects overseas. Along with an eclectic mix of trinkets, books, crockery and collectibles you’ll find vintage clothes, high street fashion and much, much more.
Second Chance also supports the Archway Drop-In Centre, a project which provides food, clothing, advice and companionship to vulnerable members of the community. It’s right opposite Archway tube station and just down the road from Highgate Cemetery, so why not make a day of it?
📍7-9 St John’s Way, Archway, London, N19 3QS.
🚇 Nearest station is Archway.
3. Shop From Crisis, Finsbury Park
This absolutely humongous spot just down the road from Finsbury Park station and right by Finsbury Park is way more than just a charity shop. It’s also a coffee shop and a cultural hub, bringing together various different members of the community.
As well as second-hand vintage clothing and vinyl records, Shop From Crisis also sells a plethora of other goodies, from handmade furniture to fashionable high street brands and much more besides. Proceeds raised from here go directly to Crisis, whose mission is to help people directly out of homelessness and campaign for the changes needed to solve it altogether.
📍19 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3FB.
🚇 Nearest station is Finsbury Park.
4. Retromania, Pimlico
Are you looking for vintage dresses, hats, bags, scarves, menswear and memorabilia? Well then, you need to pay Retromania a visit. This Pimlico haunt is full to the brim with glittering jewels, Hermes scarves, psychedelic blouses, extravagant ball gowns – you name it, it’s here – and all items come at a reasonable price.
Proceeds raised here go directly to FARA, a charity helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Romania, so what better place to splurge on recycled designer goods we say.
📍6 Upper Tachbrook Street, Pimlico, London, SW1V 1SH.
🚇 Nearest station is Victoria.
5. Salvation Army, Mayfair
Tucked just behind Oxford Street and a short walk from Vogue House, Mayfair’s Salvation Army subsequently receives regular donations from some of the best dressed people in the city. Think vintage, designer clothing, eclectic high street brands and stylish accessories all combined into one melting pot of a store.
The shop itself is spread over two different floors, and the money raised by buying different items here will go towards providing comfort, food and support to those most in need within our society.
📍9 Princes Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 2LQ.
🚇 Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
6. Traid, Peckham, Camden, Dalston, Walthamstow and more
Our sixth entry onto this list of the best charity shops in London is Traid – a charity working to tackle the negative environmental and social impacts of making, consuming and disposing of clothes. They’ve got stores in twelve different spots dotted all over London, but the Peckham branch is perhaps our favourite.
It’s absolutely huge and has everything from vintage denim jackets to back-in-style dresses from the 1980s. All the clothing found here is sustainably-sourced, and they do regular restocks so you could turn up a week later and the stock may have completely changed. They also have a Depop and an eBay store if you don’t want to leave your front door.
📍You’ll find Traid at various different locations in London. You can find out more here.
7. Mary’s Living and Giving Shop, Blackheath
The 17th branch of Mary’s Living and Giving Shop – a charity initiative set up by retail legend Mary Portas to raise proceeds for Save the Children – this is the place to come for niche designer items, retro shoes and vintage… well, everything.
Each branch of the shop has been carefully curated – with clothing sourced directly from independent and ethical producers – and every single proceed from the clothes that you buy goes directly towards helping change the future for children. So, why not buy everything off the rack we say?
📍10 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, London, SE3 0TA.
🚇 Nearest station is Blackheath.
8. Lama’s Pyjamas, Bethnal Green
Raising funds for the London Buddhist Centre, Lama’s Pyjamas is all about positive vibes and ‘loving kindness, generosity and mindfulness’. Opening back in 2010, this Bethnal Green gem is chock-a-block full of colourful clothes, kitsch crockery and designer goods, and you never know exactly what treasures you’ll find as you rummage through the clothes racks.
Perhaps the best thing about this spot is the staff. They’re incredibly friendly, always have a smile on their face and are willing to help whenever you need. The prices here are also very reasonable – a good reason to buy more.
📍83 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0QN.
🚇 Nearest station is Bethnal Green.
9. Octavia Foundation, South Kensington
The Octavia Foundation works in partnership to support people affected by ill health, social isolation, low income or unemployment in both Central and West London. They have a reputation for high-quality donated goods, including designer and vintage pieces, so this is the spot to come if you’re looking to unearth some real hidden gems.
They also have a solid reputation for selling some fantastic homeware goods – such as candles, crockery and kitchenware – so this is a great spot to come if you’re looking to spruce up your flat.
📍Emily House, 202-208 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BN.
🚇 Nearest station is Westbourne Park.
10. All Aboard, West Hampstead
What better way to round-off this list of the best charity shops in London than this one. Founded by Stella Lucas MBE, the ‘much-loved matriarch of St John’s Wood Synagogue’, All Aboard is a fantastic charity shop initiative supporting over twenty different local charities. There are many branches dotted all across North London, but the West Hampstead one is arguably the main one.
You won’t necessarily find designer clothing here – this one is more about all the hidden trinkets and random bits of bric-a-brac. Prices here are incredibly reasonable, and you never know exactly what you’ll find which just adds to the fun! So get combing through every rack and see what goods you can rustle up.
📍224 W End Lane, London, NW6 1UU.
🚇 Nearest station is West Hampstead.
So there you have it – a roundup of ten of the best charity shops in London. Whether you’re looking to nab some bargains or donate some of the clothes and bric-a-brac you no longer want or need – and help some charities along the way – then this list should have you covered!