There’s a certain amount of truth in every stereotype, and in my experience, none more so than the Essex image of the tackier, gaudier side of life. Loughton is the Platonic ideal of this: located still on the tube, but well outside anything that could be remotely classified as innercity problems, the long high street is located just seconds from the depths of Epping Forest and is populated by slightly above average chain eateries, sub-couture boutiques and – I’m presuming – some monumental warehouse outlet selling solely peroxide and Ugg boots. This means that, like Epping, there’s money here, and so the charity shops are large, full and useful.
We have a Sue Ryder, a Sense and a Cancer Research, each one a large premises. The best would be the Cancer Research, on the upper reaches of the High Road. Not such a large space as the others perhaps, but full of goodies – we got an excellent tapestry-ish tablecloth (that’s right! middle age approaches!), more credibly an espresso machine (which brings my tally of available ways to make coffee in my house to five) and most credibly, Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town on LP, resplendent in its 70’s wallpapered glory.
Elsewhere on the High Road an impressively-scaled Marie Curie, rapidly catching up to Oxfam in its level of class. Here was a full range of the various weird collectables on offer – I don’t really get this development in charity shops, but if they can make money on children’s toys, ethnic paraphernalia and Sylvanian families, fair play to them.
Though there’s not a great number of charity shops here, Loughton’s definitely worth a visit for the quality of the ones there – not overpriced (Essex, even Essex money, still likes a bargain), good range, we like.
Find: Loughton @ Google Maps
Transport: Loughton station on the Central Line
Consume with: Though we didn’t stop, Molens was pretty packed
Visit: Epping Forest – High Beach is just around the corner
Overall rating: three chocolate fondue sets