Didn't Pack a Jacket? Think Charitably
by Kate Stout
Did you ever pack the wrong clothes for your trip? Is the
weather not what you expected? Need a rain jacket? When you're
in Britain and discover you didn't pack everything you need, do
what many Brits do -- think charitably, and pick up what you need
from a charity shop.
Nearly every town in Britain has charity shops that benefit
worthy causes. These shops have inexpensive and clean second-hand
clothing. Pick up a sweater for £5, or a man's tweedy
jacket for £10. The quality of clothes is generally better
than those in American second-hand shops. On my last trip to
England, I forgot to pack that staple of English winter wear, a
scarf, so I picked up a plaid wool scarf for £2 at the
first charity shop I found. I was much warmer, and saved a lot
Charity shops are easy to find. Walk down the local
High Street (the British equivalent of Main Street), and you'll
see several shops with an eclectic display of clothing, mugs,
jewelry and furniture in the window. Pop in, and you'll probably
find what you need. If not, there'Ős likely to be another
charity shop just down the street. Charity shops are part of the
cultural fabric of Britain -- the organization Cancer Research
UK has over 600 shops, and Oxfam raises over £15 million
yearly through their shops. St. Michael's Hospice is another charity that has large shops in many towns. These are just three of the many groups
that run shops. Local people routinely use charity shops, so
don't be shy, join in.
Charity shops also carry cards and used books. The cards are a
practical souvenir of your trip, and make good gifts. Books in
charity shops are inexpensive, so stock up for your vacation
reading. In addition to their usual charity shops, Oxfam runs a
number of stores that sell just books, and is the second-largest
used bookseller in the UK.
Finally, if you don't want to bring your charity shop purchases
home with you, just drop them off as a donation at a nearby
charity shop. You'll be helping charities twice.
- London Charity Shops
- Charity Shop Locator
Kate Stout writes about history and travel, with a particular interest in medieval and Tudor England. She also shares her enthusiam for stories from the past by writing history for children's magazines.
Article and photo © 2006 Kate Stout