Author OLHA BENDIKOW
buyer from London, founder of the vintage project IZUM
No one will argue that the English are first and foremost proud of their history and carefully preserve manifestation of it: castles, palaces, estates, fences and doors, fireplaces and stained glass windows, weapons, lace, dishes, paintings, tapestries, and much more. It is not surprising that there are many flea markets in England. It is part of the national culture and daily life of the British. There are different trading formats: car boot sale – selling from the trunk of a car, vintage fairs, stores, and galleries. It will not be that hard to find something unique in magnificent old England. But you need to know the right places. So here is a brief overview of flea markets in London and the suburbs:
Crystal Palace Car Boot Sale
You can buy absolutely everything here, from IKEA bathroom shelves to rare antique books, tapestries, furniture, and dollhouses. Only cash is accepted – you need to stock up in advance because the nearest ATM is far away. A rental van will transport large-sized purchases to the given address. Haggling is possible. Near the end of the trade, many sellers grab the last customers and give away any item for £1 or £2. Time and place: twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday, from 6 to 11 a.m. The market is organized only in summer and winter. The location depends on the season: Sutton in summer and Crystal Palace in winter.
Adams Antiques Fairs
Lots of silver, paintings, antique items of women’s clothing, vintage jewelry of famous brands (Dior, Chanel, etc.) All the vendors are in their old age. Ladies and gentlemen are ready to tell fascinating stories and legends about their treasures. There is the possibility to pay by credit card here, although not everywhere. Time and place: once a month, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in one of the old buildings in central London.
Bermondsey Square Antique Market
There is a little bit of everything here: porcelain, silver, jewelry, cutlery. The market is pretty small, but I never come out of it empty-handed. I can buy a string of pearls or a doll. Art dealers and true connoisseurs of antiques love to pop in here. Time and place: on Friday, from 7 to 12 a.m., near London Bridge, part of the market is in the pavilion; another part is in the open air.
Greenwich Vintage Market
There is a lot of bijouterie and furnishings here. The market is small, but you are sure to ‘dig out‘ something interesting. Only cash is accepted. Nearby there is a park and an observatory, so if you wish, you can ‘kill two birds with one stone.‘ Time and place: on Saturday, from 7 to 12 a.m., near the vast market for food and handicrafts, do not get confused!
Portobello Road Market
An entire street of shops and antique stores! It is a concentration of beauty from all trends, eras, and styles. Exquisite silver, the finest porcelain, precious jewelry – you can find anything here! From an old vinyl record autographed by a legendary musician to a rabbit’s foot brooch! You can pay with a credit card in the stores, but only cash in a street market. There are two ATMs nearby. Time: stores are open every day except Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the street vintage and food market open on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grays Antique Centre
Museum-level antiques are those that are inherited or purchased for investment purposes. A fabulous place for treasure hunting! And for me, it is a place of power and inspiration. Jewelry: tiaras, necklaces, brooches, and diamond earrings. Silverware, collectible watches, antique lace, rare porcelain. New stuff almost every week! Experienced dealers will help you in case you can not make a choice. Time and place: every day except Sunday, usually from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m., in central London, one minute walk from Oxford street.
The British’ reverent attitude to the past is in the interest of antique lovers. If you like things with history – go this way! Enjoy your shopping!
Author: Olha Bendikow