The best of Edinburgh’s charity shops

Edinburgh presents you with a plethora of charity shopping destinations, and it is easy to get incredibly overwhelmed by them all. Here is a handy guide to a charitable wander around Edinburgh.

Start off small. Marchmont is home to three relatively close charity shops all in close proximity to the bend of Marchmont Crescent. If you don’t have much time, then head here for a quick and efficient trawl. Chest, Heart and Stroke is a definite highlight; it is more of a small boutique than a charity shop and they have the most fashionable window displays with genuine colour coordination, rather than an abundance of granny jumpers (not that there is any problem with a cosy granny jumper. I bought mine in a spring shade of pink).

If you were looking for a more luxurious shopping experience, take yourself to Morningside for something resembling London’s Bond Street. Here you can find more upmarket brands, handed over after limited wearing from their financially comfortable past owners. They often have a plethora of long fake-fur coats, which can be purchased for keeping wrapped up warm or for your next fancy dress costume as Cruella Deville. There’s a lot of flexibility here, but watch out for their more expensive prices.

Newington is the heart of all charity shopping destinations in Edinburgh on a student budget. Not only are they closest to the university, meaning you can combine a trip to get lunch with a scrupulous search for a bargain, but there are about eight charity shops all within 200m of each other. You can hop from one to the other in quick succession if you need to stay in focus on the search. The prices are low and you can often find a good selection of books, music and records here too.

However, the ultimate destination has to be Stockbridge. Stockbridge strikes the perfect balance between good quality pricing, brands and bric-a-brac. The long high-street vista is a lovely place to wander down and the charity shops sit among a collection of independent cafes. Each charity shop has been given a vintage edge to it, which makes the shopping experience more fun and fashionable. Often they have a special rail holding all the vintage items together and a few even have sections devoted to wedding and prom dresses, which are fun to peruse and try on, even if you have nowhere to go!

[image: the extracare charitable trust via flickr]

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