Yesterday I was given the gift of some “solo Sarah time” and better still, it didn’t even have a set limit on that time. Bryan took vacation from work this week for our oldest’s half-term break and was home with the boys with big plans of taking Rosie (our beagle) for a long walk in Wandsworth Common and to “explore”. I took this opportunity to try a new spot that I have had my eye on for some time; Pimlico.
It’s a great hotspot for charity shops in London because it boasts 6 different charities (but 8 shops) within a two block radius and it is very central. Pimlico is considered to be a southern extension of Belgravia and is known for its garden squares and Regency architecture. It is home to over 350 Grade II listed buildings. I can’t speak to the garden squares but I was able to appreciate the different architecture of the area compared to that of Battersea.
I started my day at Victoria Station and made one stop in the area before venturing into Pimlico. The British Red Cross charity shop on Buckingham Palace Road is just two blocks from the station and really shouldn’t be passed up if you are in the area. This was not my first visit and yet again I was not to be disappointed.
Because of my slight detour to visit the Red Cross shop in Victoria I did get momentarily turned around on my way down to the shops in Pimlico. This wrong turn ended up being a happy accident as I stumbled upon Westminster Cathedral. I didn’t even know it existed and as is often the case in this amazing city, it literally caught me by surprise. It sort of appeared in front of me as I passed a large, grey and rather uninteresting concrete building.
I was able to visit 6 of the 8 charity shops during my visit and will gladly return to the area. There was limited road traffic (once I left Vauxhall Bridge Road behind) and between Upper Tachbrook Street and Tachbrook Street there is a pedestrian only access area that hosts Tachbrook Street market. The smell from a few of the food vendors was very tempting and I did pause and consider if I should make it my lunch for the day. Not surprising of course, there were also a number of your regular coffee shop chains and a few local pubs that looked busy enough during the start of lunch hour.
Something that did catch my attention, in the charity shops themselves, was a greater sense of community than I have come across before. On more than one occasion during a browse, someone would come in and be greeted in a very familiar manner (twice by name) and polite conversation would begin between the shop staff and the visitors. Sometimes the conversation would revolve around a particular item the visitor was still looking for and sometimes it would be general conversation about the shop or area. But it was always more than general pleasantries and I would say it happened in half, if not more, of the shops I stopped in. It was lovely to observe these interactions and be reminded that Pimlico, like many other areas, really has it’s own community within the larger city of London.