Charity shops don’t all have to smell of wee and be full of musty dead nana clothes (or worse, over-priced ‘vintage’). Oh no – here’s four quirky specialist chazzas where you can find some absolute treats on the cheap and do a little good while you’re at it.
British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical
Furnish your pad on the cheap at this well laid-out store, with an open-plan set-up divided by room type – from lounge, kitchen and dining to bedroom. You can find everything here from a not-too-bad-at-all £30 fridge to a £15 widescreen telly, and while the strip lighting does nothing for the complexion, it does flag up any imperfections in what you’re buying. 36-38 Acre Lane, SW2 5SP. 0844 248 9154, bhf.org.uk. Brixton.
Pimlico, strangely, is quite a hotbed of charity shops. This one has a huge 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. Each item here looks about as good as new, with trusted labels like John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and Mini Boden spoiling the little people for choice. There are also toys, books, prams and even a few sizeable cots. 40 Tachbrook St, SW1V 2JS. 020 7630 7730, faracharityshops.org. Pimlico.
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. It’s the perfect place to find large pieces of quality furniture, a sprinkling of designer clobber amongst high street brands and there’s also a sizeable stock of CDs, vinyl, cassettes and books. Unit G15, Kings Walk Shopping Centre, King’s Rd, SW3 4TR. 020 7584 0764, ymca.org.uk. Sloane Square.
Red Cross Bridal
A wedding dress is the one item you can be sure has only been worn once. Twice max. It’s worth travelling to Dorking to browse the bargain bridal gear at this shop, which includes veils, shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses and wedding mags. 91-193 High St, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1RU. 01306 882 819, redcross.org.uk. Dorking West rail.
Find more of London’s best charity shops.