There are an incredible number of thrift stores in London. If you’re planning a trip to the capital city, and you’re hoping to find some second hand treasures- you will not be disappointed.
Londoners come from all walks of life, and you can find weird and wonderful donations in thrift shops in London. If you head to wealthier areas like Chelsea or Notting Hill, you are more likely to find designer pieces. But if you head to more residential areas, you are likely to find some real bargains.
Luckily, the tube connects London extremely well. So even if you’re staying in central London, and you want to head to a different neighbourhood to shop- you can just jump on the tube and be there in no time.
Does The UK Have Thrift Stores?
Yes! The UK does have thrift stores. You can find thrift stores on almost every high street in the UK, many high streets will have several thrift stores.
The profits usually go to charity, with the exception of some dedicated second hand shops which might be more inclined to sell designer or vintage clothing at higher prices.
What Do They Call Thrift Stores In England?
In England we call thrift stores ‘charity shops’ or ‘second hand shops.’ As well as independent charity shops, there are lots of different chains of ‘charity shops’ in the UK- each dedicated to a specific charity. For example, Red Cross, Cancer Research, Barnardos and Age UK.
Where Can I Go Thrifting In London?
You can go thrifting in London in almost every area of the city. However, you are unlikely to find lots of thrift stores in London tourist spots like Oxford Street, Covent Garden or Leicester Square.
You will need to head slightly out from central London to find the best thrift stores in London. Areas which are less popular with tourists are likely to have more thrift stores.
However, if you want to stay close to central London, there are still plenty of areas in zone 1 that you can go thrifting. Here are some tube stops that you’ll want to take note of if you want to go thrift shopping in zone 1.
Located on the district line, Sloane Square is the station to get off at if you would like to go thrift shopping in Chelsea.
Chelsea is home to some of the mega-wealthy in London, and the charity shops in this area reflect the residents. Head to Chelsea if you are searching for second hand designer clothes and premium thrift shopping.
You might want to check out my guide to the best charity shops in Chelsea to get a better idea of the individual shops in the area, the labels you might find in these shops, and the prices you might pay.
Notting Hill Gate
Located on the central line, district line, and circle line- this stop is super easy to get to. Stop off here if you’d like to head to Notting Hill and Portobello Road. Both areas have some brilliant thrift shops.
You can check out this guide to the best charity shops in West London and take a look at the shops you’ll find in these areas, alongside the brands and prices you might expect to find there.
Again located on the district line, Kensington is another fancy area that you might enjoy thrift shopping in. It’s a stone’s throw from Chelsea, so you could hit both areas in one afternoon if you are a keen shopper.
Located right next to Victoria, Pimlico is a brilliant area to go thrift shopping in London. The area has lots of shops located closely together which makes it the perfect place to hit a few shops in quick succession. A great one for when your other half or your friends aren’t into thrifting!
I know I said earlier that Oxford Street isn’t a great place to go for charity shopping, but there is one exception. Nestled just behind Oxford Street is the Princes Street Salvation Army charity shop.
It’s located very close to British Vogue HQ, and so rumour has it that it is home to many high end cast offs. Definitely worth checking out if you are in the area! 9 Princes St, Mayfair, London W1B 2LQ.
Where Is The Best Place To Thrift?
You’re never far from thrift stores in London. No matter where you are, you can enter ‘thrift stores near me’ into Google and you’ll be able to find a crazy number of stores that will pop up on Google Maps.
There are several chains of thrift stores that you’ll want to be aware of when you go thrift shopping in London. Each chain has a different feel to it, and depending on the location, the prices and type of clothing you might find will often vary hugely.
You also might enjoy: The Best Charity Shops In South London
Thrifting By Chain
Here are just some of the charity shop chains that you’ll want to keep an eye out for if you are looking for thrift stores in London…
Traid has 11 stores in London, and they are much loved by locals and visitors alike. You can usually find an eclectic mixture of vintage and modern clothing at these thrift stores- all very reasonably priced.
The rails at Traid are usually stuffed with donations, and the clothing here generally tends to have a younger vibe. Traid stores are located in areas with large student and young professional populations like Clapham, Hammersmith, Camden and Brixton.
Octavia have several stores across London, and are famed for their elaborate, gorgeous window displays. Prices vary depending on location, but anyone could find a real treasure at Octavia due to their high quality stock and fantastic presentation.
Trinity Hospice have 31 shops in London and even have an eBay and Amazon store too! Like Octavia, Trinity Hospice stores always have an array of clothing on sale to suit most customers and styles. Their prices are super competitive- even in high end areas such as Chelsea.
You might also enjoy: The Best Charity Shop Crawls In London
Cancer Research has a huge number of charity shops across the UK (over 600, in fact!), and many high streets in London have a Cancer Research store in operation. This chain is perhaps one of the most affordable charity shop chains in London- even their Portobello Road store is affordable compared to the other charity shops in the area.
Head to Cancer Research to find a bargain!
Boutique By Shelter
Shelter is a homeless charity and they have around 100 charity shop stores in the UK. As well as their standard charity shops, they also have specialist stores called ‘Boutique By Shelter.’
Boutique By Shelter stores make it feel like you are shopping in a high end boutique rather than a charity shop. Head to these stores if you are looking for a unique, organised and tidy thrift shopping experience.
Mary’s Living and Giving For Save The Children
Mary’s Living and Giving shops were set up by Mary Portas. These charity shops are boutique second hand stores that are often found in the wealthier neighbourhoods of London. Expect to find designer pieces, high quality clothing and more in these stores.
Thrift By Location
What you happen to find in a charity shop is often luck of the draw, so if you are visiting London, it’s a good idea to pop into a store whenever you come across them when you are out and about in different neighbourhoods.
That said, different neighbourhoods will have different types of clothing and bric a brac for sale depending on the residents.
- Head to Chelsea, Kensington or Hampstead for designer clothing. But remember, you are likely to pay a higher price for the clothes that you find here.
- East London or Camden is your best bet for unique and edgy clothing. You are likely to find fun second hand clothing and perhaps some vintage in these locations.
- Head to neighbourhoods which are further away from central London for the lowest prices. Often, the further you go out from central London, the cheaper the prices will be. Try neighbourhoods in zone 3 to get the best of both worlds.
If you’d like to see more thrifty finds and thrifty London tips, follow me on Instagram @thriftylondoner