Is there anything better than pushing aside the hangers, spotting a label, and knowing you found a great deal – at a steal? For some people, thrift shopping is the best way to reduce your carbon foot print; for others, it’s the thrill of the hunt – and the chance of finding a gem – that inspires a trip to the second-hand store.
Best of all? London is full of thrift shops; anything you want to buy new in London, you can probably find used at a way better price. It’s just a matter of perusing the racks with patience, and perhaps trying a few spots.
Whether you’re a sustainably-minded souvenir hunter or just love to find treasures while thrifting anywhere you travel, this post is for you. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the different thrift stores in London – both charity shops and those for-profit. I’ve also included a few of the London markets that are great for finding second-hand goods too, so you’ll have plenty of options to add to your London itinerary. Basically, you could go thrift shopping every day and still have plenty of options for a return trip!
Charity Thrift Shops
You know what makes thrifting even more exciting? Knowing that you’ll be supporting a good cause in doing so. Charity thrift shops are, as their name implies, stores that sell second-hand clothing to raise money for charitable causes. Below you’ll find the best thrift stores in London that have not only the best bargains but also the best causes behind them.
Cancer Research has about 600 charity shops across the UK. It is one of the most affordable second-hand shops in London and you can find everything, from trendy homeware to chic wedding guest outfits. Your purchase will fund life-saving research to help beat cancer sooner.
Crisis Charity Shop
Regarded by many as the best charity shop in London, Crisis Charity Shop boasts a wonderful mix of stock. The staff has a fantastic eye for sourcing. You can find recent high street bargains, premium labels, and vintage pieces… a true thrifting paradise.
FARA has 41 shops across London. Each store has its own personality, but there’s a common denominator to all of them: they’re full of great finds. Believe me, there’s no way you step foot in the store and leave without at least a tiny bag. Pro tip: the stores in posher locations are filled with amazing second-hand designer pieces.
Mary’s Living & Giving
Found in London’s wealthier neighborhoods, Mary’s Living & Giving is a great store to find designer goodies. The store has a lovely curation of used clothing. Though you find mostly women’s clothing, there’s some men’s and children’s, too.
The Octavia Foundation has a little extra flair– you can tell by the gorgeous Zanotti high heels in the window. The store isn’t huge but everything in there has good quality and is in good condition. There’s often a great selection of second-hand designer goodies.
Say hello to the chicest of all London thrift stores. Shelter Boutiques is a high-end thrift shop with over 100 outposts in the UK. If you can’t afford designer new, Shelter Boutiques has a stunning collection of designer clothes. Best of all, a purchase here won’t crush your wallet.
The Royal Trinity Hospice
The Royal Trinity Hospice is one of those places that hooks you as soon as you walk into it. There are 19 of their shops scattered around London. So you’re bound to accidentally find one wherever you are. All shops are packed with nice finds, from vintage dresses to quirky décor.
Other London Thrift Shops
In a city like London, where people would don their best outfits just to ride the Tube, it makes sense to have a thrift shop on every corner. Below you’ll find the list I compiled with the thrift shops that London’s fashion insiders can’t resist.
- Atika (Spitalfields) – Atika is a heavy hitter, so, if you google the best thrift stores in London, this one will definitely pop up. You’ll fall in love with the goodies and the building. Everything is stunning.
- Beyond Retro (Brick Lane/Dalston/Soho) – Save at least three hours, because that’s what you’ll spend at Beyond Retro. This haven is filled with racks and racks of vintage dresses, Hawaiian shirts, and retro goodies.
- Retromania (Victoria) – Retromania is run by Fara, and most habitués would love to keep it a secret. They have amazing vintage clothes that are timeless and effortlessly chic.
- Rokit (Brick Lane/Camden) – Rokit has been on the scene for thirty years. They clearly know what they’re doing and it reflects on the store’s fantastic collection of vintage and designer clothing.
- Traid (Multiple Locations) – Traid opened twenty-six years ago as a thrift store. Today, it’s become a charity store and one of the best for designer steals, second-hand clothing, and vintage bargains.
London Markets for Vintage & Second-Hand Goods
Nothing compares to the thrill of a good ol’ rummage – and the best place to find that experience can be found at some of London’s markets. Luckily, London has markets in every size and color available under the sun. Here are three second-hand and vintage shops in London that will put your thrifting skills to the test.
Brick Lane is a classic market that Londoners resort to when they crave amazing food and vintage clothing. You can find so many local and unique items here, from wristwatches to shoes to houseware items. It’s open every day and, on Sundays, it becomes a street full of antique dealers and flea market stuff. And the food. Oh, the food in Brick Lane is just extraordinary.
A hub for street food and artisans and shopping. That’s Camden Market. It’s the best place for high-street clothing and accessories as there are shops of all genres and tastes here. The streets could be a bit hectic with people everywhere.
Spitalfields is a fantastic place to find a gift with a difference, have a bite to eat, or just while away a couple of hours. You can find great deals on vinyl, vintage pieces, and second-hand goodies. The market is open daily, but Thursday is Antiques Day if a baroque drawer is what you’re after.
With that, you’re pretty well set for an incredibly thrifting experience in London. Have any questions about these top thrift shops in London, or London markets where you can find second-hand goods? Let me know in the comments!