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London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

by SandiM Online Now Feb 4, 2013 at 11:38 AM

In April we'll be in these 2 towns and Ma & I love to shop for great deals on clothing and accessories. We don't want to buy brand names, just really good clothing at super cheap prices (haggling is ok!). In London we are staying near King's Cross, and I've read that Petticoat Lane is the place to grab a bargain for ladies clothing/shoes and maybe a leather purse and gloves or something like that. We don't want to buy a lot, we just want something special that we didn't pay a lot for. Not sure where to go in Cardiff, but I'd love to buy a wool sweater or some other type of outerwear (handmade would be nice?). New is preferred over used/consignment. The funkier the better (although Ma prefers traditional). Suggestions are welcome. I had a blast in Florence haggling over leather coats & gloves and purses, so the experience of it all is key, too. Also, if there is a must-have souvenir I should also be buying in these places, do tell!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by leics Online Now Feb 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Haggling may be 'ok' but it's really not something which is commonly done in the UK. You can try it if you like, but best to keep your tries to market stalls and be prepared for a shirty answer.

    Petticoat Lane may be quite good for bargain clothes on its outer edges. I thought Brick Lane Sunday market was also good (Sundays 8-2) but you need to keep your wits about you in both.

    You could also try Camden Market:

    http://www.camdenlock.net/

    Not sure where you'll find super-cheap good-quality clothing in either place, to be honest. Now factory outlets and outlet 'villages' are commonplace you simply don't find good-quality super-cheap stuff on market stalls in the way you once did. So the two things don't really go together, unless you are prepared to browse through our many charity (thrift) shops. You really can pick up bargains in those.

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  • robine's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by robine Online Now Feb 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    For cheap and cheerful, go for Primark (branches near Marble Arch in central London, or - much less crowded - on New Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road). Forget haggling! For better quality at not excessive (but much higher) prices, Marks and Spencer (branches everywhere).

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  • MacedonianUK's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by MacedonianUK Online Now Feb 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Hey J, i wasgoing to suggest Camden market too.
    Another v. Good market is Sheperds Bush. Is on the red line ( Tube) close to BBC and on Begining of Uxbridge Rd. one of the longest in London.
    Also you might enjoy the biggest urban shopping Center in Europe-Westfields. Granted not bargain place but very enjoyable days out window Shopping. Marke & Spencers, Debenhams, Next, monsoon,British home Stores, River Island, booths but to Name few....

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by hawkhead Online Now Feb 4, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Good clothing at super cheap, even cheap, prices do not go together! Handmade is certainly not cheap. Nor is wool. The majority of clothes are not made in the UK and those that are, are usually good and guess wot, not cheap!! As leics says, you can often pick up a really good buy at the charity shops. Sometimes in local markets there is a stall where someone local-ish sells items they have made. I know our local market, here in Newark, has one such stall, so you might have more luck if you are visiting places other than London and Cardiff. I doubt if there are any bargains to be had in Petticoat Lane and second the possibility that it would be better to try Brick Lane and Camden Market. Haggling is definitely not the way to go!

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  • zuriga's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by zuriga Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Definitely try Primark and other fairly inexpensive shops are Zara, Mango and TK Maxx. Avoid touristy souvenirs and bring back some nice food items from Harrod's Food Hall or the one at Fortnum & Mason.

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by hawkhead Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Selfridge's also has a Food Hall. However, there are loads of places to buy really nice local food items, as I am sure you will discover on your travels, without paying the inflated prices in these Food Halls. Again, local markets are a good place to find local produce e.g. jam, biscuits, cheese, sweets (candy) and so on. More or less any town you visit will have at least one shop selling interesting items. As I remember, you are going to be travelling around quite a bit, so should have plenty of opportunity to see, sample and buy!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by leics Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Hawkhead is right about market stalls in local areas stocking good bargains from local productions. I have market stall access to Marks & Spencers clothing and also to seriously-good-quality outdoor-life coats (overstocks and minor seconds) simply because there are factories in the immediate area.

    Primark is definitely cheap but it is certainly not what I would call 'good-quality'. I do buy clothes in Primark, on occasion, but like everything else: you get what you pay for.

    The best place, by far, to look for good quality (and branded) clothes is our charity shops. But rarely woollen clothing. As Hawkhead notes, woollen clothing is expensive and (in my experience..I'm a keen charity shop shopper) is not usually given to charity shops until it is very well-worn, bobbled and/or shrunk.

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  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo

    Re: London & Cardiff shopping for great bargoons!

    by aaaarrgh Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    I'll echo what others have said and warn you that haggling may be met with a confused or offended look! I suspect too that many high street shops will be introducing their new Spring/Summer ranges in April and discounts will be less common.

    Cardiff's best independent shops can be found in and around the covered shopping arcades, generally off St Mary Street and High Street. But quality products come at quality prices. There is a large shop opposite Cardiff Castle that sells a range of Welsh souvenirs and, if there is someone special in your life, the Welsh love spoons can be fabulous.

    Occasionally the city hosts craft stalls in the city centre, but these usually coincide with special events/festivals.

    Otherwise, Cardiff is a thriving modern shopping city and the smaller tourist towns are often better places to find crafts, Welsh clothing and woollens.

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