You might have noticed that we’re big fans of a charity shop. Whether it’s a cute trinket to update your bedside table set up, a toy for the kids or a great dress in just the right size, nothing is more satisfying than a successful charity shop rummage. We even did an Instagram Reel of our favourite finds recently, including everything from a £10 Ganni dress to a set of vintage wine glasses.
We’re not alone in our adoration of these secondhand treasure troves either, as research shows there has been a thrifting boom this year with people looking to shop more sustainably, de-clutter their wardrobes or simply spend less post-pandemic. Even when physical shops were shut during lockdown, charities saw a whopping 185% increase in online sales and The British Heart Foundation reported its busiest day on record when stores reopened. Finding the good stuff secondhand is all about knowing where to go, and, thanks to research by mystudenthalls.com, we’ve now got the lowdown on the top twenty charity shopping destinations in the UK.
The research analysed metrics like the total number of charity shops per area and their Google ratings, the average weekly earnings within the area and the number of charity shops per person. Bonus points were awarded for boutique-style charity shops offering designer and vintage edits.
While you might expect the number one spot to be taken to be somewhere like West London’s iconic Portobello Road, it’s actually Nottingham. The city centre is home to almost 100 charity shops, while Hockley, dubbed Nottingham’s “coolest neighbourhood” is fast becoming the go-to destination for secondhand goodies. North London takes second place – not surprising considering it’s home to the brilliant Shelter boutique in Coal Drops Yard near Kings Cross, Mary Portas’ Stoke Newington Living & Giving Shop and the ever-popular Age UK in Camden. Seaside town Bournemouth scored third place with the most number of charity shops per person in the top 10.
Edinburgh was the only Scottish destination to make the list in fifth place, while vintage mecca Manchester was surprisingly far down the list at number 18. “Charity shopping has always been popular for those looking to save money, be more sustainable and find something unique; it’s no surprise that charity shops have become even more popular with younger people and students who are cash-strapped and looking for an ethical way to enjoy fashion and homeware trends”, says Mystudenthalls.com MD & Founder, Dan Roberts. “With charity shops surging in popularity again as the highstreet reopens and students return to term time, many will be looking to find the best destinations for a secondhand haul, but it’s not always easy to know where to start. Our ranking has done the hard work for thrifters, to find out which destinations are worth a trip to find the best quality and value in donated items during Secondhand September and beyond.”
Here’s the full top 20 – the perfect shopping inspo for your next UK city break…
- North London
- Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Brighton and Hove
- South London
- Kingston Upon Hull