Who can resist a good charity shop? Easier on the wallet, better for the environment and, in my opinion, infinitely more thrilling than trawling through pages and pages of ASOS. Plus, you’re supporting a good cause- new jeans = good deed for the day done.
As one would expect from the greatest city on Earth, London has some pretty awesome charity shops. The only problem is (unlike my cosy little hometown where all you have to do is walk down the high street) there isn’t one particular area to find them in. It’s taken me almost three years, but I believe I have finally cracked Mile End’s charity shop scene- so, here I am, ready to pass on my wisdom. You’re welcome.
Using Mile End campus as a starting point, let’s get started…
Just a walk away…
East End Thrift Store- 1-11 Assembly Passage, London E1 4UT
A favourite with freshers, this place leans more towards your ‘Beyond Retro’ esque (slightly pricier) vintage store but is worth a mention for their famous ‘fill a bag’ events- arrive early to beat the queues and bag (haha) a bargain. They even have an account on ASOS Marketplace so you can shop from the comfort of your own home.
East End Vintage Clothing- Railway Arch, 452 Huddart St, London E3 4AT
Come prepared to sift through piles of grubby tat and your patience shall be rewarded. There are always plenty of gems to be found and better yet, there’s nearly always a sale running- head down on the 2nd March for their next £1 sale.
Lana’s Pyjamas- 83 Roman Road London E2 0QN
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Head straight up Bancroft Road towards Bethnal Green and you’ll find my favourite shop in the whole of East London. Part of the London Buddhist Centre, it’s slightly pricier than your run of the mill charity shop but there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Notable mentions must go to the coat and jacket section, the postcard basket on the front desk and the wonderful array of OAP style broaches (in case that’s your thing).
Spitafields Crypt Trust- Bethnal Green- 385 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AN
Roman Road- 589/591 Roman Rd, London E3 2RW
Whitechapel- 27 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DU
An East London based charity that supports the homeless and those recovering from addiction, this is local organisation well worth supporting (so no need to feel guilty about spending too much money here!) They have several branches all easily accessible from campus- Bethnal Green tends to be the best for clothes, with a pretty solid shoe and bag section and a cheeky designer/’high-end’ rail tucked away by the counter, whilst Whitechapel always has an abundance of cheap ‘n’ cheerful earrings on offer. Roman Road isn’t so strong on the clothes front but is the best place to go for nick nacks of any variety, specifically mugs and glass wear (and novelty cookie jars).
Hop on the bus…
Emmaus Greenwich- 175 East India Dock Rd, Near All Saints DLR, Poplar, E14 0EA
Moving closer to uni has sadly meant moving away from another of my favourite charity shops EVER. Another local charity combatting homelessness, this is one of the most unassuming looking charity shops I have ever encountered- do not be fooled by it’s slightly desolate appearance, this place is always full to the brim of awesome clothes in great condition at a RIDICULOUSLY low price. And the clothes are just the tip of the iceburg- the shop is predominantly dedicated to furniture, in case you’re ever in need of a sofa or a CD holder.
TRAID Dalston- 106-108 Kingsland High St, London E8 2NS
A chain of charity shop that pops up all over London, the Dalston branch is easily accessible from campus- just catch the 277 bus from outside Mile End station. If you’re looking for something very cheap, it’s best to wait for a sale day as it is one of those ‘slightly pricier’ charity shops. However, it’s unparalleled for great quality second hand stuff and they always have a massive selection of Nike and Adidas stuff. They also have a cute vintage-style home section.