London Cheap Shopping
If you are in London on a budget or simply don't like to spend more than you need, there are many opportunities for your cheap shopping, listed below. And don't forget London street markets.
London Discount Shop
A number of stores in the London area label themselves as bargain or discount outlets, specialising in goods at discounted prices.
They range from high street outlets selling men's, women's and children's clothing, sportswear, sports equipment, china, furniture, electrical and household goods, toys and luggage from mail order companies like The Catalogue Bargain Shop in Rye Lane, Peckham, to clothes shop chains like Matalan, from a chain of stores selling everything for the family and the household like Poundstretcher to electronic, sound & video shops like the Hitachi Discount Outlet in East Ham.
Charity Shop in London
Charity shops are all over London. Look for them in all central London areas, in every shopping district, in each high street in inner and outer London.
A note for overseas visitors: high streets are the main streets of a particular area, and they are lined with shops, bars, restaurants. These outlets usually belong to national chains, so you will find the same familiar names the width and breadth of Britain, giving a sense of both monotony and reassurance.
Some of these household names are those of charity organizations which run shops to fund their activities and campaigns.
These stores get their merchandise and wares donated by supporters of the association and by the general public, and sell them cheaply. They may be second hand but they are good and nice, and often in excellent condition. You can find anything, from designer clothes to books, from records to shoes, from home goods to bric-a-brac to fashion accessories, at amazingly low prices.
Many charities and voluntary organizations are given rent-free use of shops that are temporarily vacant, so it's impossible to list those charity shops since they are here today gone tomorrow.
It's easy to spot charity shops. Watch out for national charities names on signs of shop fronts. If you choose your charity shop carefully, you'll not only save money, but also help a good cause. Their names are, among others: RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Sue Ryder, Oxfam, Age Concern, MIND - The Mental Health Charity, Paws, British Red Cross, Barnardo's, Cats Protection, FARA, Relief Fund For Romania, PDSA (Peoples Dispensary For Sick Animals), The Salvation Army, Notting Hill Housing Trust, Animals in Distress, Catholic Childrens Society, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, The Samaritans, Dogs Trust, YMCA, Trinity Hospice, Cat Concern, Sense-National Deafblind & Rubella Association.
These can be both small shops that sell directly to the public products that they have manufactured themselves on the premises, or retail outlet stores of great manufacturing companies. In both cases, the products are offered at a discount rate.
The former are often open only by appointment.
Of the latter, some of the most famous for designer clothing are:
Burberry Factory Outlet
Address: 29-31 Chatham Pl, London E9 6LP.
Phone: (+44) (0)20 8328 4287.
Open Monday-Saturday 10am–7pm, Sunday 11am–6pm.
Nearest tube: Bethnal Green (Central line), a bus ride from the store. Nearest rail: Hackney Central, 5 minutes' walk from it.
The location is a bit out-of-townish, in Hackney, East London, but this is one of the best renowned and most popular London factory outlets and the prices are slashed on Burberry coats and classic clothing for men, women, kids. They also sell all sorts of other merchandise, including tea, coffee, perfumes, accessories. Reductions can be as high as over 80% off normal retail price. The regular Burberry shop can also give similar discounts on some products during the sales (see below). Be careful before buying at the Burberry Factory Outlet, because there is no refund policy. Check the accessories in particular, as they are often second hand. Phone the store before visiting, to make sure they have a good choice of clothing in your size.
Paul Smith Sale Shop
Address: 23 Avery Row, London W1K 4AX.
Phone: (+44) (0)20 7493 1287.
Open Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday 10:30am–6:30pm, Thursday 10:30am–7pm, Sunday 1pm–5:30pm.
Nearest underground stations: Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park.
The factory shop of the designer Paul Smith is in a posh area of central London, Mayfair. While the fashion creator's prices are often prohibitive for normal purses, this retail outlet of Paul Smith's men and women clothing and accessories, as well as gift products, offers good discounts and bargains on previous seasons items.
Sales are held after Christmas and in July, but can also take place at other times of the year. During the sales all types of stores offer their goods at cut prices, sometimes with huge discounts of 50 to 66% off retail price.
Many second-hand bookshops are in Charing Cross Road (nearest tubes: Charing Cross, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road), the street that goes from Charing Cross Station to Centre Point Tower, at the beginning of Oxford Street. Second-hand book stalls are on the South Bank of the river Thames, along the embankment.
There are second-hand antiques' shops around the Marylebone rail station area (tube: Marylebone), also selling books sometimes.
For fashion, there is Retro Clothing Exchange, a second-hand clothes shop in 28 Pembridge Rd, London W11 3HL, in Notting Hill and near Portobello Market, (nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate) that buys, sells and exchanges clothing.
Cash Converters is a chain of second-hand shops, the world's largest, where you can sell a wide range of used or unwanted goods and find special bargains, from jewellery to PCs, from fitness equipment to mobile phones. They are located in Kentish Town and in several other places, mostly in West London, including Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, Kilburn, Acton.
Car boot sales
Car boot sales are held all over London, in particular where there are street markets or large shopping areas. Common car boot sales are in Portobello Road W11, Seven Sisters Road in Holloway N7, East Finchley N2, Kilburn NW6, Shepherd's Bush W12, Battersea SW8, Hackney Wick E15, Chiswick W4, Woolwich SE18, Crystal Palace SE20.