Saturday, 4 September 2010

A day in Sutton Coldfield

Today I fancied a trip out so decided to visit Sutton Coldfield- a town north of Birmingham. Sutton Coldfield, so I heard, has quite a few charity shops so I thought I'd go have a mosey around.

Now, a day out is me being a little over ambitious; it was more like two hours. Mainly because I slept in, then forgot to use my Young Person's Railcard, so I'd be damned if I was going to fork out for an Anytime Return! (This makes more sense if you already assumed that I took the train- you now know).

Photos may not be so great because I forgot my camera- these were taken on my not-so-brilliant phone. Although I did find it easier to take sneaky pictures on my mobile, you can pretend to be texting which stops you looking like some sick voyeur!

I'm probably the worst person in the world at navigation, my satnav even takes a sarcastic tone with me ("I've said turn around when possible six times now...") , so finding my way around somewhere unbeknown to me is quite a task you're asking.

So having got off the train and trotted off into Sutton Coldfield in the wrong direction, I quickly realised (a good 10 minutes) that there was noting much about and that I needed to find the centre. I followed some groups of kids milling around and was lead right to some railings in the centre of town where some more miserable teenagers were loitering about- oh and chucking things at passers by.

In fact, that's what probably surprised me most about Sutton Coldfield- there were so many teenagers hanging about! If I had a quid for every midriff on show and bumfluff-chinned child I saw, I'd be laughing all the way to the bank. Coincidently this didn't happen, and I wasn't laughing.

I don't know where I got the idea that Sutton Coldfield was a pensioners haven- but I was wrong. Sadly, this is the main reason I went! I expected the charity shops to be filled with lots of granny-esque cast offs. Strangely though, I did see some such old ladys selling their wares.

In the centre of town today was some kind of street market (I wasn't aware that this was going on prior to going- a pleasant surprise). It was sort of like a mini car boot sale; most of the sellers were older people selling their antiques and old jewellery- right up my street. Though the gear was quite pricey; these folk were clearly clued up and had read their share of Miller's guides.

The street market

Earrings for sale. 80s clip-on heaven

Onto the charity shops. Now, if you take a look at this map I've put together you'll see the charity shops (as listed by google) in Sutton Coldfield. I think I hit all of these today, apart from The British Heart Foundation, which I can't comprehend the location even looking at the map, and also the Severn Trent Trust Fund.

View Sutton Coldfield- Charity Shops in a larger map

I've also added the Walsall Hospice charity shop to my map. Google won't admit it exists, but it was there! I've guessed the location, I think it was between Oxfam and the Birmingham Settlement charity shop. You can't be sure with my memory, but it might help.

I wanted to mention the Walsall Hospice shop because I thought it was a particularly good one. I nearly bought a bag in there but resisted. There was also a great vintage brush and mirror set for £4.something, gold setting with a floral design- very pretty. The shop has quite a bit of furniture too- if you're after an old armchair this is the place!

Oxfam was a bit of a let down, as I'm often finding these days. It's got very overpriced; my Mum was in an Oxfam today too because she saw a vintage suitcase in the window and thought I might like it- it turned out to be £48! She also spotted a short leather jacket in there for £150, madness!

The Birmingham Settlement shop was good however. I bought this tapestry bag for £1.

I'm not sure it's really my cup of tea- I'm not really into brown clothes or accessories. So this one might be a buy to sell on, hopefully I'll make a profit!

I also bought this cream leather skinny belt for £1.

It's quite long, which is what I wanted so that I can wrap it around and tie it like a boyfriend-style belt. I love that it's such an old, worn belt- the leather's really cracked and battered.

Happy shopping.

P.S Oh yeah, and I'm in London next week to do some work experience at Mizz magazine so it's highly unlikely that there'll be any posts. There will probably be plenty afterwards though so stay tuned! 


  1. You've missed the trick here Katie. Sutton has several villages (or to use the estate agency phrase "secondary retail areas") and they are where the charity shops are. Boldmere and Wylde Green are the South (Birmingham) side of Sutton, just off Chester Road. Get off that train at Wylde Green, and head one way for WG shops, the other for Boldmere. Pretty much all there is in Boldmere now is charity shops or pricey bridal boutiques. Or takeaways.

    To the North of Sutton, the Mere Green shopping area has a few charity shops - these are near the poshest houses so it might be where the top draw stuff is, I have no idea.

  2. ahh right yeah I noticed there was a few in Wylde Green and the area above the town centre- the plan was to go further afield but I was a bit too relaxed in getting myself organised and didn't have time! Thanks for the tip, I'll go visit these areas next time :)


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