Second-hand shopping in Bristol (Park Street)

I realise it’s been ages since I last posted a Second-hand shopping in.. post, but a recent trip to Park Street, in the centre of Bristol, inspired me to add to the series.

I don’t profess to be an expert in all the locations for second-hand shopping in Bristol, but the centrally located Park Street is a good starting point.

Park Street extends from Bristol Cathedral and College Green uphill towards the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (free entry and well worth a look). Being Bristol, there is also a Banksy located half way up the street.

Park Street is bustling with lots of coffee shops, cafes and a smattering of art galleries. Although selling first-hand items, The Guild, is well worth a look at for homewares and gifts.

But it’s the second-hand shops that really catch my eye.

Just parallel to Park St, located on Queens Road, is the Cancer Research Shop which is worth a browse.

The two stand out charity shops on Park Street, though, are the Oxfam Bookshop and Sue Ryder shop.

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The Oxfam Bookshop (officially on Queen’s Road) is two floors of paperbacks, hardbacks, specialist texts, vinyl and more. It is a book-lover’s paradise and I could easily spend a few hours browsing here! For second-hand bibliophiles there is another Oxfam Bookshop,located  just over a mile away in Clifton.

Further down Park Street, The Sue Ryder shop is crammed with vintage goodies! There is a dedicated retro clothing rail that seems to go on for ever… For an over-organised person like myself I love that it is colour coordinated too!

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I spotted this Laura Ashley dress on the rail; made in Wales, which automatically dates it to pre 2005 (see this post here)

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The shop also sells a good range of second-hand vinyl, which can be a little pricey. It also has a wonderful curved shop front which I love!

Sue Ryder, charity shop, shop window, Bristol

Beyond the charity shops, Park Street is also famed for its vintage clothing shops.

Squashed between two bigger stores, the diminutive Uncle Sam’s American Vintage is overflowing with secondhand clothing, imported from the US. It is also Bristol’s longest established vintage store, specialising in outfits from the 1940s to 1980s. Unlike many secondhand clothing stores, it also has a good selection of menswear.

 

Another Park Street favourite, Sobeys also has branches in Exeter and Cardiff. I do like this store but, for me, it’s a little too young. Everytime I step inside they seem to be playing Duran Duran (which I love as an old school Duranie!) but the 80s and 90s themed stock tends to remind me of what I used to wear at the time. Being slightly more mature, ‘vintage’ for me harks back to earlier eras. But they do have an excellent range of dungarees and, once more, cater for male customers too. Similarly, BS8 (not pictured) is a vintage store that caters for a younger market but certainly worth a browse.

If you’re new to Bristol then Park Street is a great place to start your second-hand quest. Other areas such as trendy Stokes Croft and upmarket Clifton are great locations to browse in too, and miles away from the mainstream, High Street stores of Cabot Circus and the out of town mall at Cribbs Causeway.

Second-Hand Shopping in Bath (Part Two)

As promised – a while ago – here is the (shorter) Part Two of shopping in Bath.

This week, now that the children are back at school, I took myself off to Bath. I shouldn’t have bought anything but I seemed to come home with a couple of new (to me) purchases.

The first item I bought was from the Dorothy House shop on Argyle Street (previously posted about here).  A few months ago I bought a gorgeous burgundy sleeveless dress from this shop and then proceeded to shrink it as I hadn’t read the label! Well I encountered another burgundy coloured pinafore dress (originally from Next) and found myself buying it. This time I’m going to check the label!

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On this tour of Bath I headed towards Milsom Street (Bath’s central shopping street, north of the new Southgate Shopping Centre and home of Jollys department store and a few more upmarket boutiques). At the top of Milsom Street it joins George Street. On the left hand side of this street are two charity shop gems.

The first is the Shaw Trust shop. This charity helps people with disabilities enter the world of work. It has  shops throughout England and Wales and even has its own ebay shop. It also has a small range of garden shops (my nearest one is in Trowbridge where I’ve picked up plants at good prices). The Shaw Trust shop in Bath used to have a vintage rail, long before other local charity shops created their own vintage areas. In the past I have picked up very reasonably priced trousers by Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren from here. Alas, the vintage rail is no longer here and I’m not so sure that the wealthy of Bath are donating to this store as much. In fact the window display highlighted the need for donations: a theme that was echoed in many of the other charity shops I visited, as well as vacancies for volunteer help.

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On this week’s visit to the shop I had one of those Shopping Moments where a) you see something that screams to you ‘buy me’, b) you try it on, it fits perfectly and – despite the price and all sense – you buy it. In this case, even though I wasn’t looking for one, I came home with a brand new orange swing coat (originally from Sainsburys Tu range). Even the thought of wearing it with the new burgundy pinafore makes me smile…

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After I’d given myself a good talking to about not buying stuff I don’t need  (even if it is second-hand) I popped next door to the Oxfam Boutique,  located on the corner of George Street and Gay Street. This Oxfam store transformed into a Boutique a few years ago, showcasing high-end, good quality clothing and, at one time, one-off recycled designs created by local fashion students. There are Oxfam Boutiques in half a dozen locations around the country and it seems to fit in perfectly with Bath. The interior of the shop, with its ample space and Georgian features, make browsing a pleasant experience. I have yet to find something that I really like – or can afford – here but it’s always worth a look.

One more high end second-hand shop in Bath that is worth mentioning is downhill from Gay Street.  Just off Queen Square and down the quaint cobbled street that is Queen Street is Scarlet Vintage. This second-hand clothing shop buys and sells some beautiful clothes. The prices are out of my range but it is a gorgeous shop and in such a lovely setting.

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Back on the main shopping route is Westgate Street, home to the last two charity shops I want to mention. The Cancer Research Shop has a good selection of clothing, some bric a brac and a small book and record section. Having recently acquired a record player I’m on the lookout for second-hand vinyl.

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Across the road is the PDSA shop, a smaller charity shop that is worth stopping by.

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The one shop that I havent featured in the second part of this store is the only charity shop that is located close by the new Southgate shopping Centre in Bath. The Oxfam Book Shop is a treasure trove of second hand books, including rare editions, and vinyl. As I begin my search for second-hand LPs I am sure I will be posting more on this shop and similar ones in Bath in the future.

Apologies if there are any other second-hand city-centre shops that I have missed. If you do get the chance to explore other areas of Bath I would highly recommend Widcombe (just south of the river and a short walk from the Railway Station: there are a couple of second-hand clothing shops here), Larkhall (a thriving area to the east of the city with some great independent stores and the Mercy in Action charity shop) and Moorland Road/Oldfield Park to the south (home to a couple of charity shops).

Well that has exhausted the shoe leather – hope this guide (and the first part) are of interest but do let me know if there are any other gems I have missed.