There are a wealth of reasons that make antique collecting such a popular activity – whether it is the thrill of discovering hidden gems, decorating a new property with a distinct style or looking for investment opportunities. But, no matter if it’s a bargain or an asset that you are searching for, the UK has an abundance of places to find fantastic antiques.
As well as numerous antique shops, auction houses and specialist dealers that can be found online, there are certain towns and districts that are hotbeds for antique buying. We take a look at just a few of the best and most interesting places across the UK for antique shopping.
1. Petworth, West Sussex
In the heart of the South Downs National Park in West Sussex, Petworth is a picturesque English market town. In addition to its natural and historic attractions it is also often known as “The Antiques Centre of the South”. This is because of the twenty four antique and design shops within a half-mile radius. The Petworth Antique and Decorative Arts Association (PADAA) has, for over 30 years, brought together antiques traders to help promote and grow the antique industry in Petworth. Considering the wealth of choice in the town, they have clearly been successful.
2. Newark, Nottinghamshire.
International Antiques & Collectors Fairs (IACF) run events across the UK, the biggest of which, and in fact the biggest of its kind in Europe, is the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair held at the Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground. With over 2400 stands the two-day event is a feast for collectors and caters to budgets from the £10s to the £1000s. Some of the best buys can be found in the outdoor stalls – which sometimes means braving the brisk Nottinghamshire weather.
3. Marylebone & Portobello Road, London
Portobello Road market is probably the most well known place to find antiques in the UK and rightly so – it is the largest antiques market in the world. The market is open every Saturday – arrive early for the best choice of antiques from over 1000 dealers – or peruse the antique shops which are open all week. Also worth a look is Alfie’s Antiques Market – a quirky location on Church Street near Marylebone that is London’s biggest indoor antique market. Described by Timeout London as “A rambling network of four floors, the indoor market houses some 75 clued-up sellers providing a discerning selection of jewellery, clothing, homeware and decorative items predominantly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”
4. Preston, Lancashire
Moving further North, Preston in Lancashire is home to The Preston Antique Centre – one of the largest antique markets in the North West. Housed in a 19th Century former cotton mill you can find furniture, clocks, porcelain, metalwork and a range of other antiques.
5. Tetbury, Gloucestershire
Tetbury is another market town in the South of England well known as a centre for antiques. Described as “The home of antiques in the Cotswold” it boasts nearly two dozen antique shops all in the town centre. Tetbury is also home to a wealth of architectural heritage, most notably the Market House (picture above) which is a Grade I listed building.
Naturally there are 1000s of fantastic places around the UK to find antiques, if you have a particular favourite to add to our list, please mention it in the comments below or on our Twitter or LinkedIn channels.