A Guide to Lancaster's Charity Shops

The biting cold of Winter is upon us and the smell of Greggs’ Festive Bakes are in the air. It's officially the season we usually spend running around the stores in a panic, spending our last bits of cash on overpriced and often unused gifts. As students, it’s even more stressful: there’s only so far that our loans can keep up with our gift-buying wishlists!

But there may be a better way. My guide to Lancaster’s charity shops has arrived in the nick of time to rescue you from your festive fiascos!

Perhaps not the first thing you notice about Lancaster is the amazing variety of charity shops scattered across its streets. These shops are my little slice of heaven; I've completely negated the need for Primark and New Look by digging out the hidden treasure they have on these charity racks. And, of course, it would be cruel of me not to share my top picks!


Cancer Research UK, Market Street

This place has slipped under my radar until recently. With the arrival of a new part-time job, I found myself suddenly on a desperate hunt for smart work trousers without the hefty price tag - luckily for me I stumbled upon Cancer Research UK’s Lancaster store and discovered the racks of trousers priced at £2 a pair! The dresses and shirts cost around £3 and they have a bargain jewelry section too! Needless to say I had a bit of a spree in the store, which I also found to have a large range of sizes and styles.


Barnardo’s, Penny Street

One of the first charity shops I visited, drawing me in with its deals at the window. I have found many a bargain in here, including A LOT from the nik-nak shelves to the left of the entrance. Beautiful glass fruit bowls for mere pennies, a wardrobe organiser for £1, mugs, iPad cases, board games - you name it! You never know what you may find, but it is bound to be a deal!

Asides from the nik-nak browsing, which is always enjoyable, the clothing racks have been organized by colour, allowing for a more structured and ordered shopping experience. Though the clothing prices are slightly higher in general than Cancer Research, there are some great deals on coats to be had here.

St John’s Hospice Pound Shop, Penny Street

Well, the clue is really in the name here. Everything in this charity shop costs £1! So you can walk in, spend only a fiver, and come out with 5 items of clothing - what's there to complain about? This shop is always great to poke your head into and have a browse. It is only small, and the range is not huge either, but at such low prices you are always in for a chance of a massive saving. As well as browsing the clothing rails you can take a dive into the bargain bin of handbags and rucksacks and see if they’re hiding any gems. This is definitely the more luck-based charity shop experience, and requires you to roll your sleeves up and rummage around.


The Salvation Army Charity Shop, Market Street

This shop is probably one of the best for men's clothing, exhibiting a wide range of bargains which come in handy when you’re looking for men’s clothes, or just a big and baggy shirt to wear as a dress or nightie! Aside from men’s clothing, I find the range here to be not as great as the other charity shops in the list, but Salvation Army is excellent for plain items which makes it perfect for finding workwear. The thing that makes this shop stand out from the rest is its costume rack, which is crammed full of random costumes and onesies for children and adults. Costumes can be wildly expensive so before jumping online for your christmassy outfits this year, why not check out this charity shop’s railings first?

And there it is, a quick guide to Lancaster’s charity shops! And the great news is that there are many, many more of them to investigate during your high street shop - and with cheaper and more unique options than mainstream outlets, why not?