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Your ultimate guide to charity-shopping in Cambridge

Looking beyond the baggy cardigans


Students aren't exactly known for being flushed with cash. But, there is a solution. There is light beyond the long, dark shadow cast by your rapidly growing college bill and mounting debt. Cambridge is something of a goldmine when it comes to charity shops. From records to ra-ra skirts, Christmas cards to candles, tablecloths to trench coats, Cambridge has got you covered.

Charity-shopping is a fab way to spice up your wardrobe with something a little bit off-the-wall. All you need is a discerning eye, so you can sift through the dark green cardigans (there are so many of them), beige trousers and endless stacks of bric-a-brac. Where else could you find something like a pair of embroidered Zara jeans for £3.75, or a Miss Selfridge top for £1.99??

Unfortunately, it is a known fact that the range of men's clothing in charity shops isn't great (in the words of my older brother – "everything is XL, XXL or XXXL"), but if you have the patience, you might stumble across a hidden gem. And you can also scout for books, DVDs, records, or Christmas presents for undeserving siblings.

That's Christmas sorted then

So, here is a ranked list of Cambridge's five most esteemed charity shops (in my humble opinion)…

1. The Salvation Army Charity Shop

THE BEST charity shop I have ever visited. It's huge and you can get sunglasses for ONE POUND per pair. One. Pound.

Location: 44A Mill St, Cambridge CB1 2AS

Pros

– It is massive

– If you're a dangly earring fan, there's a huge selection and they're only £1 per pair

– Sunglasses are also only £1 per pair

– If you're going on the Varsity trip and need gear, the ski wear is a bargain (£4 for a pair of ski trousers!!!)

– Huge clothes section, extremely cool coats

– Tonnes of DVDs, CDs, records and videos

Cons

None – basically, 10/10 would recommend.

2. The Arthur Rank Hospice Charity Shop

Small, cosy and the best location.

Location: 30 Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DB

Pros

– They sell gowns and graduation caps

– Great selection of ornaments and trinkets to spice up your uni room (I bought a little clay hedgehog for 95p)

Cons

– Quite small so a limited range of clothes

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it's called fashion honey, look it up

3. Cancer Research

This one wasn't bad, but way too much Christmas stuff (it's barely October for God's sake).

Location: 42 Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DP

Pros

– Surprisingly good for jeans, and they're reasonably priced

– A very extensive selection of DVDs

Cons

– Too much Christmas

4. Oxfam

There's two Oxfams in Cambridge worthy of a mention – the standard one as well as the Oxfam bookshop.

Locations: 2 Mill Rd, Cambridge CB1 2AD (general) 28 Sidney St, Cambridge CB2 3HW (bookshop)

Pros

– The Oxfam bookshop has a very broad selection and it is so cheap

– The general Oxfam is great for records

Cons

– the clothes selection in the general shop is absolutely packed full of ugly cardigans and not much else

– It also has weird opening hours, so be sure to Google them before visiting

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No need for a record player, just convince people you're a 'collector'

5. British Heart Foundation

A 'higher end' charity shop – where Cambridge's more affluent residents deposit their goods.

Location: 10 Burleigh St, Cambridge CB1 1DG

Pros

– Good clothes selection – less baggy cardigans and more hidden gems

– Very friendly staff

Cons

– Pricey

So. Stop moaning about how poor you are all the time and hit the charity shops instead, taking this handy guide with you…