The best charity shops in London
Grab a bargain and support a good cause at our pick of London's best charity shops
You may need to take a peg along with your wallet, but with vintage shopping now out-pricing the high street, charity shopping is one of the few ways left to stock up your wardrobe and home on a budget. From the Dior and Chanel lining the rails at Retromania, to the bargain beds of the British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical store, we’ve compiled a list of the best charity shops for your thrifty purchasing pleasure.
224 West End Lane, London, NW6 1UU
Best for shabby chic
There's plenty of granny cast-offs to root through here - and believe us, you'll need to root. Apparel and bric-a-brac are in plentiful supply, and while reasonably organised, the stock is not as ruthlessly edited as that of more commercial-minded charity shops.
414 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AY
Best for designer bargains
A vast and lively charity shop with an exciting, unpredictable mix of clothes and accessories, stocking all kinds of high-street brands with designer bargains going for no more than £50.
British Heart Foundation
184 Balham High Road, London, SW12 9BW
Best for accessories
This clean (it reeks of Mr Sheen) and brightly lit branch sells a good selection of high-street and mid-range brands at very good prices. The shoes and jeans are well worth a look here. They're all sold alongside a range of new, cheaply priced accessories, including necklaces, earrings and hairbands from at little as £2.
British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical
36-38 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5SP
Best for sofas
This expansive store situated just off the heady eclectic thoroughfare in Brixton has everything you need to make a house a home, whether you're looking for a cheap TV from £15, a fridge from £30 or a three-piece-suite from £100. On our visit, there were plenty of artily distressed pine goods in good condition starting from £99 for a TV unit.
British Red Cross Chelsea
69-71 Old Church Street, London, SW3 5BS
Best for workwear
This expansive store is arguably Chelsea's most popular and well-known charity shop. It shares a street with the only Manolo Blahnik outpost in London and it's where Chelsea residents like to off-load last season's wardrobe. The store suitably bills itself as a designer charity shop, packing its rails with pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Jaeger, Max Mara, and the like.
British Red Cross
Ebury Street, London, SW1W 9QU
Best for conservative clothing
Located a few minutes' walk from Victoria station in a salubrious street, this branch of the British Red Cross - always stuffed with expensive labels - has a comically conservative vibe. Navy blazers? Check. Padded Barbour-style jackets? Yep.
Cancer Research UK
Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4PQ
Best for vintage
One street back from the chain stores and bustle of Oxford Street is this two-floor thrifty oasis of calm. On our last visit we found a red-and-navy wool military jacket, rails of men's suits around and a great pair of 1970s silver platforms. It's a favourite with students from the nearby London College of Fashion and employees from Vogue, so if you want to bag the designer bargains, you'll need to visit regularly.
Churton Street, London, SW1V 2LY
Best for jeans
With its Shirley Bassey soundtrack and dedicated gay section, this charmingly eccentric charity shop was coined 'the Harvey Nichols of charity shops', by comedian and regular shopper Alan Carr. Happily, the prices are somewhat more purse-friendly than the Knightsbridge department store.
40 Tachbrook Street, London, SW1V 2JS
Best for childrenswear
Pimlico, a real destination for charity shops, is home to three Fara stores - including Retromania - and they're close enough to do all of them in one sweep. This childrenswear shop offers an excellent selection of quality stock, which makes sense when you consider that children are likely to outgrow their wardrobes far quicker than they wear them out.
211 Brompton Road , London, SW3 2EJ
Best for vintage books
A large, slightly austere space packed with designer donations from wealthy locals. Plus a 'brilliant' hushed vintage book department with oriental rugs and coffee tables covered in art periodicals and old Christie’s catalogues.
Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AR
Best for records and books
Located right in the epicentre of London's current hipster enclave, perhaps it's no surprise to find that this Oxfam store is media-savvy enough to have not only its own blog (oxfamdalston.wordpress.com), but a popular fan blog dedicated to digitising its analogue musical offering (dalstonoxfamshop.blog spot.co.uk), as well as a twitter and facebook account to promote its best buys.
6 Upper Tachbrook Street, London, SW1V 1SH
Best for high fashion
Charity shops can seem much of a muchness- with the odd decent find buried amongst rails of oddly smelling seconds. Retromania is the antithesis of shabby shopping, with all of the wow labels and fashion forward merchandising of a savvy designer vintage store.
Princes Street, London, W1B 2LQ
Best for high street seconds
Tucked just behind Oxford Street is this long-established Salvation Army store. It's worth noting that it sits just a few stilletto clops from Vogue House, and takes receipt of some very fashionable cast-offs. The store takes up two floors with a variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories, with regular appearances from a range of high street brands such as Oasis, Zara, Warehouse to Hobbs, East and Maxmara.
Salvation Army Deptford
144 Deptford High Street, London, SE8 3PQ
Best for board games
The up and coming Deptford High Street has a packed out Saturday market full of stalls selling second-hand goods, but this Salvation Army store still manages to draw both good stock and a busy shop floor. The store stocks a good mixture of both women's and men's clothing and accessories, although the more fashionable buys take some hunting down.
Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4UA
Best for rummaging
Unlike some charity shops in the area where all you find is tatty high-street cast-offs, Traid (which stands for Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) has a huge mix of good vintage, high-street and designer. While rummaging, we found a woman's wool Aquascutum coat.
Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4LL
Best for handbags and shoes
Renowned for its smart ladies' clothing and accessories, this is a great charity shop where you're bound to unearth designer pieces. There's always a top selection of handbags and shoes, often including Prada evening shoes and DKNY bags.
Unit G15, Kings Walk Shopping Centre, King's Road, London, SW3 4TR
Best for homewares
Although only open for nine months, this YMCA flagship store already feels like a neighbourhood stalwart- albeit one slightly incongruous with its swanky Sloaney setting. Set over two large floors with room to expand over another two, this former HMV premises dominates the King's Walk shopping centre, and is the nearest thing the capital has to a charity department store.