London’s best cheap shops

Don’t want to splash the cash? You don’t need to look far for a bargain in the capital...

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London has its fair share of pricey boutiques and designer stores, but there’s no need to spend big bucks when looking for great clothes, accessories and vintage finds. The city boasts loads of low-cost retailers where you can pick up a treat or two without breaking the bank. So whether you’re on a budget, looking for an inexpensive wardrobe basic or just after a cheap thrill, here’s Time Out’s pick of places to shop in style without being left out-of-pocket (unless you go wild, that is...)

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Muji

Best for
Neat storage solutions

Nearest tube
Covent Garden


This Japanese concept store has long been a favourite of style-conscious Londoners when it comes to practical, affordable and aesthetically pleasing goods for the office, home or wardrobe. Stock runs the gamut from useful gadgets (umbrellas, alarm clocks) and stationery (a huge range of pens, notebooks, photo albums) to pleasingly plain bedroom furniture, storage units and furnishings.

  1. 37-78 Long Acre, E1 6SA
  2. www.muji.co.uk
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Tiger

Best for
Kids’ party bag fillers

Nearest tube
Tottenham Court Rd


Not only is there a jolly range of home and kitchen accessories (apple shaped cutting board, £2, anyone?) but there’s just about anything you could ever require for any kind of party you could imagine. It’s especially brilliant for children with a vast range of toys, party bag detritus and back-to-school accessories. Everything here is super-cheap and just the right side of kitsch (squint and the bold prints are reminiscent of fellow-Scandi brand Marimekko). Look on it as a really posh pound shop.

  1. 241-242 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7QX
  2. www.tigerstores.co.uk
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Zara

Best for
Catwalk-esque tailoring

Nearest tube
Bond St


With several deliveries every week, and a fast turnaround of stock that means you won’t see your coat on every one you meet, it’s no wonder that Zara is leading the fast-fashion pack, serving up the latest trends hot off the catwalk. Zara spend proportionally more on their fabrics and manufacture than most of the high street (making up the profits through sheer volume); that means you get very good quality, very fashionable clothes for your modest buck (around £37 for a blouse).

  1. 333 Oxford Street, W1C 2HY
  2. www.zara.com
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Beyond Retro

Best for
American varsity jackets

Nearest tube
Liverpool St


It’s difficult to walk into this east London institution and not be dazzled by the rainbow rails. With a decade under its belt, it’s easy to see what has made the franchise such a success: it caters for the festival teen, the trendy twenty-something and the shrewd, more mature, fashionista. For both men and women, this branch offers one of the widest selection of retro-wear in London, all under one roof.

  1. 110-112 Cheshire Street, E2 6EJ
  2. www.beyondretro.com
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Monki

Best for
High-waisted jeans

Nearest tube
Oxford Circus


Fabulous clothes at tiny little prices, in a shop stuffed with toys that look like owls. What’s not to love? Set over two floors on London’s Carnaby Street, the Monki store houses its entire range of low priced, high fashion aimed at young women (but bought by all sorts of women, if the Time Out office is anything to go by).

  1. 37-39 Carnaby St, W1F 7DY
  2. www.monki.com
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H&M

Best for
Cool kidswear

Nearest tube
Oxford Circus


Thought has been put into creating a pleasant shopping environment here - changing rooms are vast, and the music has clearly been curated by someone with a taste for credible indie. This has been designated a pure-fashion store – so it’s out with H&M’s kidswear and homewares, which in a way is a shame. However, it does mean that the focus of the store is clear, and its target audience the kind of fast-fashion gobbling teens who spill out of the nearby Topshop.

  1. 261-271 Regent Street, W1B 2ES
  2. www.hm.com
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Absolute Vintage

Best for
A huge selection of shoes

Nearest tube
Shoreditch High St Overground


Absolute Vintage may be a stretch away from the crowds of Brick Lane, but that doesn’t stop it being busy, and that, along with its cluttered displays can make browsing tiresome. However, clothes start from £1 in the bargain bin and you can get dresses and tops for £3. The sheer quantity of goods here makes up for the occasional poor quality, and there’s a great cabinet filled with prized, hard-to-find Chanel bags.

  1. 15 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR
  2. www.absolutevintage.co.uk
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Decathlon

Best for
Bargain running gear and bike lights

Nearest tube
Canada Water


The warehouse-sized London branch of this French chain offers London’s biggest single collection of sports equipment. You’ll find a vast array of reasonably priced equipment and clothing for all mainstream racket and ball sports as well as for swimming, running, surfing, fishing, horse riding, mountaineering, ice-skating, skiing, even archery and petanque.

  1. Canada Water Retail Park, Surrey Quays Road, SE16 2XU
  2. www.decathlon.co.uk
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Primark

Best for
Hosiery

Nearest tube
Marble Arch


Set over three cavernous floors, Primark Marble Arch offers 70, 000 sq ft of unbelievably cheap clothing and accessories. You get what you pay for in terms of shopping experience – the queues are long, the staff indifferent, the rails chaotic, and demand for changing rooms so high that people try on clothes on the shop floor. But there aren’t many shops where you can fill enormous paper bags full of clothes and leave with change from a £50 note.

  1. 499-517 Oxford Street, W1K 7DA
  2. www.primark.com
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Users say

6 comments
Cece
Cece

Really??!!! Thanks TimeOut for advertising the existence of H&M and Primark, how could we've ever found out without this "insider guide" pppfffttttt.

Louise
Louise

How was this signed off? If it's an advert please be clear that it is. If it isn't - please be clear if this is the standard we can expect from now on because I'll remove TO from my bookmarks. Primark! Seriously. Look forward to the next Cheap Eats feat. Pret, Wetherspoons and McDonalds.

Ourna
Ourna

this is the worst list I have ever read. did you just walk down oxford street and pick some stores randomly? don't you realize that people who live in London would rather go anywhere BUT Oxford street. And Zara is not cheap, neither is beyond retro

Brown F
Brown F

Really? Zara and MUJI, cheap shops? Decathlon, Primark and H&M? Wow, TimeOut. Thanks so much for those great finds. Don't know how I possibly could have known of H&M without reading this article. I hope nobody gets paid for this rubbish.

Fart
Fart

Absolutely ridiculous article. Who researched this? ZARA one of London's best cheap shops? Puh-lease. Obviously a VERY slow day at the office. MUJI as well? Yeah right. Does your demographic earn 30k+? This article is dogshit

Lee
Lee

?? You've just listed / advertised a few (mostly national) chainstores, some of which aren't exactly cheap. Seems rather pointless to me. Time Out London used to be so much better than this. Baffled. Sorry to be negative, but when I think of how good TO used to be...