A guide to the best charity shops in Chelsea & South Kensington, London

Chelsea and South Kensington, i.e. my local neighbourhood. Dangerous because it means that I can pop into my local charity shops on the daily if I want to. I don’t, but trust me it’s tempting.

There does seem to be a pattern I’ve noticed with charity shops around this area. It’s all about the fabrics. Although you still need to be prepared to spend a bit of time browsing and hunting through the stock in these shops what I’ve found is that the things I do pick up and the things that have made it into my wardrobe are all really quality materials like silk and linen. Sometimes with labels I immediately recognise and sometimes not, but the quality of the clothes is what I think I’m getting an eye for the more time I spend shopping this way and I think that’s great.

But anyway, what you’re all here for, where to shop sustainably in South Kensington and Chelsea.

South Kensington.

Conveniently, just a short stroll away from the station you’ll find charming little Bute Street with a great Octavia Foundation shop.

Further north, along Gloucester Road (just north of the junction with Queen’s Gate Terrace) you’ll find an Oxfam branch with Royal Trinity Hospice and Fara Charity stores just across the road. I would say that it’s definitely walkable to get here from South Kensington but if you’re heading straight to these shops Gloucester Road or High Street Kensington Stations are closer.

The Royal Trinity Hospice shop is full of the most beautiful beaded gowns at the moment. Perfect for a special occasion, or even just brunch at this point! What are normal clothes again?

I mentioned this in an earlier post but Farah charity shops are just so underrated in my opinion. Take this outfit for example. The top half (shirt and jacket)? All Fara Gloucester Road store. Love them separately but I love them layered together as well. What do you think of chocolate brown/dark brown clothing? Feels like vegemite, you either love it or hate it. It never used to be a go to colour for me but much like red wine and blue cheese the older I get the more I love it. Maybe my fashion palette is maturing alongside my actual taste palette, is that a thing? I thought it went well with creams and other brown shades but I’m really liking it with other pastel shades too as you can see from one I’ve styled it in the photos below.

I’m not sure if this is a deliberate marketing strategy but the Farah charity stores have this sort of treasure cave like set up. Walk in and feel like you’re in Aladdin’s cave…

Are there any other colour combinations you like to pair with brown tones? Let me know in the comments so I can try them out!

I have a few favourite places to eat and drink around here too. Of course I have to share them. Hjem Kensington on Launceston Place is tiny and cute, and I’m a sucker for a scandi aesthetic so I was sold straight away. It’s also where I would head for a post shopping pick me up on my way home from high St Kensington/ Gloucester Road area.

The line outside Hjem on a Saturday morning speaks volumes.

Closer to South Kensington Station try Hagen Espresso Bar which is another little hole in the wall, my favourite type of cafe/bar. Continuing with the slightly international vibe The Kensington Creperie on Exhibition Road feels like a little slice of Paris in South Kensington. The savory crepes are food coma inducing and although haven’t had a chance to try the pancakes yet after seeing the table next to us ordering them, they are definitely on my list for my next visit. The coffee isn’t the best but then that’s what my other options above are for! Another place I’ve yet to try but hear very good things about is Daquise on Thurloe Street. A little Polish restaurant with rave reviews for their perogi (polish dumplings which can be either sweet or savory). Who doesn’t love a dumpling?! I think I ate about 300 of them when in Poland. Stay tuned i’ll report back on this one.

Chelsea

The residents of Chelsea have clearly been busy spring cleaning, or maybe lockdown cleaning, but there have been some great bits popping up in my local charity shops lately.

My favourite shops are the YMCA shop (tucked away in a little arcade of the Kings Road and the Oxfam Boutique on Shawfield Road. Actually probably my favourite reason to visit the former is to find new books! I love my kindle because I read so quickly that it’s nice to have a whole “library” with me on the go but nothing is better than holding an actual book in your hands. That old book smell! I’ll often re-donate them back to the shop after reading so so they can have another life afterwards too.

One of my YMCA charity book finds. Not something I think I would ever have thought to read if I hadn’t come across it when rummaging around in the shop bookshelf!
Also peep my crafty bookmark, the result of one of my lockdown hobbies!

The Oxfam boutique is tiny and I’m guessing sometimes overlooked because of its location but it really shouldn’t be. Last time I literally just popped in to look around on my way home from the supermarket and walked out with two pretty pure silk tops (see below for how I’m going to style them).

Love the pretty little flowers all over this shirt and feels very on trend with all the short sleeve shirts I’ve been seeing in high street shops. It’s a brand I haven’t heard of before but I can imagine a brand like Urban Outfitters stocking something similar.
This Massimo Dutti silk top feels like it’ll be a perfect easy blouse for smart casual office wear or paired with jeans perhaps. I’m finding a lot more soft Green tones creeping into my wardrobe, it makes a great ‘neutral’ alongside the more traditional colours thought along those lines.

Stop for a take away coffee at the other Hagen Espresso Bar Chelsea on the Kings Road (different to their branch in South Kensington which I already mentioned, the Chelsea cafe is one of my regular go to places for a great coffee) before continuing on further along the Kings Road towards Fulham.

Hagen Espresso Bar. They even have a couple of little benches out the front if you prefer to sit and enjoy your coffee while people watching like me.

About 100m on you’ll find a Red Cross shop (actually just off the High street on Old Church Street) which I am convinced is the kind of place you just need to visit at the right time, an Octavia Foundation shop, and then just past the Post Office you’ll find a cluster of shops including a Royal Trinity Hospice shop, Cancer Research UK shop and across the road an Oxfam shop that just happens to be next door to the Vivienne Westwood World’s End store…am I crazy to hope that one day she might donate a few things to the friendly next door charity shop? Writing this out and manifesting hard!

Watch out for the High Street Kensington Charity Shop guide next.

In the meantime let me know if you check out any of the shops I’ve mentioned here, I’d love to know what you’ve found!

L x.

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