What do you do when you have a spare day in Edinburgh? Visit the castle? Check the free museum or art gallery? Stroll through The Meadows?
No, when in Edinburgh, you go shopping – but not any old shopping – charity shopping!
The lovely suburb of Morningside is just a short walk from the centre of Edinburgh, however it is very residential, with rows upon rows of Edinburgh's quintessential sandstone townhouses. Along the shopping stretch of Morningside road there are not one, not three, but in fact NINE charity shops, all within half a mile.
Given the fancy surrounds, these aren't the cheapest charity shops in Edinburgh, but they have good quality items, and the sheer number of them means you have a good chance of finding whatever you're looking for.
We'll start our journey furthest from the city, going back towards it. At 390 Morningside Road, we find Save the Children Morningside.
For price comparison, I'm going to use the average price of winter coats, since this is exactly what I was looking for on this trip. Save the Children had some of the best prices we saw (maybe because it's a little further away than the rest) with an average coat price of ₤10.
Moving up the road, we hit the first of several charity shop clumps, with a Chest, Heart and Stroke London next to Marie Curie.
Chest Heart and Stroke London is very nicely curated, with some high-quality (and high-priced) items. However, it's well worth looking around this shop for its aesthetics and book corner. Average coat? These vintage and designer coats will set you back ₤50.
Marie Curie is a different story. It goes for a more mainstream charity shop style and charity shop prices. A coat here will set you back ₤10-15. It's quite a small shop, but worth sticking your nose in.
Now, it wouldn't be a charity shop spree unless there was an Oxfam stop. Appropriately, Morningside road has two Oxfams, one dedicated to books, then a double-fronted general Oxfam store next door, selling a small range of second-hand clothes then a full range of Oxfam branded products.
Opposite the Morningside Library (a good place to stop if you need some, uhhh, facilities on your long trek), is Capability Scotland. This is a great all-rounder of a shop, with average prices and a good range.
Now for the highlight. Midway along the route, you will find the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, a small charity shop dedicated to helping homeless dogs and cats. There shop itself isn't different from the many others along this road, HOWEVER, you might just be lucky enough to meet this darling little lady, attending to all your customer service needs:
So, yes, I would shop here just to get a pat of the smallest full-grown dachshund I've ever met.
PHEW, okay, we're down to the last four shops. Conveniently, three of them are located together, just opposite Waitrose. Here we have a British Red Cross, with very neatly curated wares, and a strange tendency to colour-coordinate its shelves, not to mention the full rack dedicated to white women's clothing. That's cool, you do you.
And penultimately, we have a Cancer Research shop with a GREAT range of winter coats at very reasonable prices. Here, finally, we found winter coats to help us combat the Scottish cold. I got a nice black woollen coat for ₤15 and my man got a heavy waterproof coat for ₤27. This shop mostly focuses on clothing and has a really good range leading up to winter. Many of the other shops still have their summer stuff in (in September), so a great winter range is really helpful.
Finally, the marathon ends! We make it to Shelter Charity Shop, at 104 Morningside Road, with a quirky range of wearables. I really enjoy the more adventurous fashion they have in this shop, along with all the classics. However, the prices aren't the best. Some pieces are well-priced, however, they are aware of the value of their more unique pieces, so they price them up accordingly. Still, the prices are within the standard range of the shops along this road, and a far sight better than prices in normal shops!
So, next time you have a hankering for some charity shopping in Edinburgh, I know you'll head to Morningside Road. Happy searching!