The definitive guide to student shopping in 10 of Lincoln’s best High Street charity shops

I love the smell of mothballs in the morning…


Charity shops are cool, didn’t you hear? And Lincoln has plenty of them. Whether you’re looking for cheap, vintage clothing to con your friends into thinking you’re interesting or you’re in the market for a crockery set that’s been collecting dust in some old lady’s cupboard for 30 years – the charity shops are your best bet. This is our definitive guide to Lincoln’s High Street charity shops, from worst to best.

10. Barnardos

Bernardos charity shop, Lincon.

Looks more like an arcade prize corner than a charity shop…      

Barnardos is more like a second-rate pound shop than it is a charity shop: It’s cramped, packed with cheap consumer items like calendars and dog toys, and an entire corner dedicated to “pocket money toys”. I’m not sure who this place is catering for, but I surely wouldn’t be popping in here after a long day at school.

9. Scope

Scope charity shop, Lincoln.

Have you ever seen a sadder display of nick-nacks in your life? (pic: Daniel Griffiths)

Scope is your grandma’s wet dream. Cheap jewellery, modest blouses, and tacky cardies galore. This place knows its audience and caters to it well – those eligible for a free bus pass. Despite a healthy offering of women’s clothes and shoes, the walls were bare! A light smattering of cottage-core jigsaws and a few shelves of monochrome crockery, where’s all the vibrant nick-nacks and bric-a-brac?

8. Oxfam

Oxfam charity shop, Lincoln.

A lovely two-piece if you’re going for the Femme Crocodile Dundee look.

Once you go south of the train station, they start coming thick and fast. Oxfam is first on the left. This is another bog-standard charity shop: ,ore modest blouses and ghastly shawls. The clothing was colour coordinated (psychopath behaviour) and the sizes were all over the shop, which left a bad taste in my mouth, but differences aside, this place seemingly specialised in women’s shoes – everywhere you look, shoes. Whatever you’re into, Oxfam.

7. Cancer Research

Cancer Research charity shop, Lincoln.

What’s with all the merch? At least it was organised.

This is a modest little joint with a decent range of clothing and household decor, some good board games and the bookshelf wasn’t half bad either. However, this place was sweltering, the heater blasts you right from the front door, so come prepared. It wouldn’t be my first stop, but worth a visit.

6. British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation, Lincoln.

Look at all that ghastly green clobber. Glorious.

I felt as though I needed to be wearing sunglasses walking in, it was almost overwhelming to look at inside. Again, another haven for our dear grandmothers, brightly coloured blouses and straw sun hats abound. There are some nice designer pieces dotted around, though, and the clothing is both colour AND size coordinated. However, the bric-a-brac felt a little neglected, where were all the ornamental salt-and-pepper shakers and dreadful mantlepiece figures?

5. Mind

Mind charity shop, Lincoln.

Neat, tidy, and wonderfully drab.

Just like its namesake, Mind packs a lot into a small space. No cat swinging in here, but it was very neat and tidy. It’s just a shame the clothes were so drab.

4. St Barnabas on the Strait

St. Barnabas, Lincoln

I know you’re chomping at the bit to root around in there.

St Barnabas is a proper charity shop – small, and unsuspecting from the outside, but inside it’s brimming with beat-up accessories and vaguely interesting rubbish. It’s like a hoarder’s Tardis. Shelves of outdated goodies, novel clothing you won’t find anywhere else on the High Street, and plenty of antique books to give your student apartment that faux-intellectual look. What more could you want?

3. St. Marks RSPCA

RSPCA, St. Marks, Lincoln.

Looking for a hideous green dress to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? Nah, me neither.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking the RSPCA charity shop is actually some derelict Methodist chapel, but inside its full of eccentric garms and accessories to add a little flair to your wardrobe. It’s usually teeming with people so navigating the place can be tricky. However, with so much to explore – a little cubby-hole dedicated to donated pet supplies (it is an animal charity, after all), and a themed display to celebrate national holidays – it’s always worth a visit. And being so close to the University of Lincoln campus, it beats sinking pints in The Swan between lectures.

2. Oxfam Bookstore

Oxfam bookstore, Lincoln.

More hardbacks than a… Oh, I don’t know. They sell a lot of books.

Whilst first and foremost a bookshop, I would be grudged to not mention this gem in the list somewhere. Ambling around this place is like a warm hug. Stocked with books in every genre and theme imaginable, a cracking collection of CDs and vinyl records, this is a must-visit for anyone interested in their arts. And they also have a sweet collection of Moomin tote bags for instant rizz.

1. St. Barnabas by 179 High Street

St. Barnabas, Lincoln High St.

Now that’s what I call bric-a-brac. One wrong move and you’ve lost your student loan.

St. Barnabas has seemingly mastered the art of charity shop architecture. Another unsuspecting shopfront that is bursting with quality antique goodies and uncategorised trinkets inside. This is one long corridor that only gets more interesting the further you go. An entire corner of eccentric crockery, an overstocked bookshelf, and even a bucket of National Geographics and historic magazines tucked away for all you nerds out there. It also has a collection of various university level study books, if you’re looking to save a penny or two.

You are now officially an expert on Lincoln High Street’s charity shops – and yes, we want credit when you inevitably find your showcase piece for your next shit shirt night.

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