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Peterborough - Festival of Antiques

5 of the Best UK Antique Fairs

There are Antique Fairs almost every day country wide. We look at five of the best antique fairs and why.

“There are Antique Fairs almost every day country wide.” But which antique fairs held throughout the UK will you choose given so many choices? Happily, we’ve ferreted out the best of the best, so you don’t have to wander from one fair to another seeking antique Valhalla.

Bring a van. Bring a backpack. Don’t forget a tape measure to make sure that little end table works in the corner you’re trying to fill. Oh, and bring money. Most antique fairs are all-cash affairs, reason enough to check with organizers so you don’t have to leave behind the locket you’ve searched for endlessly because they don’t take plastic.5 of the best antique fairs in the UK


Top 5 Antique Fairs in the UK

  • Alexander Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair
  • Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair
  • Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair
  • Shepton Mallet Antiques and Collectors Fair
  • Peterborough Festival of Antiques


Alexandra Palace, London

Talk about a great environment for showcasing antiques; North London’s Alexandra Palace has reigned supreme on a hill overlooking the city since 1873, so when it began hosting antique fairs 25 years ago, it quickly became a popular mecca for browsers of a certain sensibility.

How many collectors and browsers show up for this fest of nostalgic and contemporary treasures? At the February 2017 show, 250 exhibitors hosted 11,000 visitors. Impressed? You should be.

What can you find there? A better question would be, what can’t you find at the Palace? From true antiques that bear authentic dating to an eclectic mix of 1960s and 1970s cookware, this festival is the place you go when you seek exceptional finds.

Are you mad for ceramics? Peruse a grand selection that includes Clarice Cliff, Sylva C. Poole, Hornsea, Carlton Ware, Susie Cooper and Ridgeway pottery. Bring home with all manner of wares—tea services, glassware, clocks, lamps and posters that represent unique examples of Art Deco finds, 20th-century kitsch, vintage toys and chrome ware.

If your only objective is adding to your vintage wardrobe, the selection of garments, handbags, fur coats and jewelry will impress you big time. You don’t have much time to clear your calendar since the next fair opens on 21st May, but you can do all of the prep work necessary to get a ticket by visiting the organizer’s website:


The Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair, West Sussex

Figure out how to sort a West Sussex holiday and you’ll return home so relaxed and sated with antiques, it’s going to take a while to wipe that smile from your lips. This festival attracts repeat visitors from all over the world, so you’ll get your fill of exotic in addition to vintage.

Why has Ardingly become an epicenter of eclectic antiques and collectibles? No mystery here. West Sussex bumps up against the Channel so you’re as likely to find sellers and buyers from France as avid shoppers from Asia and North America. The word “International” isn’t used just to lure shoppers.

There could be up to 1,700 stalls packed to capacity with decorative items, textiles and furnishings not found elsewhere, which is exactly why shoppers flock here. Plan to stroll this pastoral setting to snag traditional antiques (paintings, china, silver and jewelry) plus collector’s items.

What should you be looking for specifically? Something different. Folk frequenting this fair seek unusual furnishings and accent pieces that can only be described as quirky. Schedule your Faircation for 18th to 19th July. Take the rail from London Victoria to Hayward’s Heath. If you buy tonnage, you can always ship stuff home.


Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair, Nottinghamshire

Mind if we start with a bit of trivia? The Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair was included in a book called “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” so if your bucket list still has holes, pencil in this show, scheduled for 1st and 2nd June.

Visitors don’t so much shop here as “make pilgrimages,” so consider this the vintage and antique world’s Lourdes. Does this mean the casual shopper can’t comport with zealots? Don’t be silly. You’ll run into people from all over Europe, North America and Asia hobnobbing with Brits as the faithful roam from stall to stall poised to pounce.

This fair can be deceiving to the eye because the physical space is so compact, but crowding actually adds to the excitement as treasure seekers take time to examine wares at their own pace: china, glassware, collectibles, jewellery, quirky garden pieces, rustic treasures and even signature art.

Are you pining for a stained glass window? Vintage advertising signage? Industrial lighting? You’ll compete with professional decorators and collectors on the prowl. If you don’t leave Newark with something sure to impress, you didn’t look hard enough!


Peterborough Festival of Antiques, Cambridgeshire

Held twice a year in Easter and September so a great way to begin the years antique hunting and end your summer at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques, held over two days at The East of England Showground in Peterborough. This is antique fair is worthy of its reputation as the Largest Antique Fair in Europe.

The upcoming Peterborough Festival is scheduled for 29th and 30th September, so you’ve plenty of time to add it to your fall calendar. Look forward to spotting everything from furnishings to collectible art and every sort of décor item under the sun.

Bring along your patience because you can expect to queue when you arrive at the Gate 15 entrance. Not to worry; organizers shunt shoppers through the gate at such a steady pace, you’ll be examining cream pitchers before you know it. No fears about running out of Euros, either. There are three cash point machines on the grounds if your shopping expedition turns out to be more lucrative than you imagined.

Arrive early so you have ample time to take in displays sprawling across the grounds and if it starts to rain, you can duck indoors to peruse indoor stalls filled with bric-a-brac, jewellry, art, pottery, furnishings, baskets and authenticated vintage finds. You won’t go hungry if you decide to make a day of it since there are multiple options on premises for refueling a body exhausted by all of that browsing.

Take a train or bus to reach the fairgrounds if your intention is to bring home small items to add to your collection or drive and use the car park. It’s free, so you can spend those Euros on treasures instead of parking fees.