The best antique fairs and flea markets in the UK

In the current climate, antique markets are a particularly good way to shop, as many of them are based outdoors and have social distancing measures in place. Now that life is mostly back to normal, the fairs and markets are back in force, and we’re excited to get shopping. Although some are free to enter, many charge between £5 and £20 for admission. First day entry is often charged at a small premium, although it’s well worth paying for if you want first pickings and have plenty of space in your car to fill. Always take cash – although some fairs have cash machines, the queues can be long and it could get in the way of you cinching a deal if someone else is ready with notes.

Here, we round up ten of the best antique fairs across the country, which offer an excellent range of pieces, many a bargain, and count lots of the interior designers we feature among their customers.

Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair

Just an hour from London and with a reputation for high quality decorative pieces, this two-day fair (a Tuesday and Wednesday usually) attracts all the best European vendors thanks to its proximity to the channel. Look out for lorry loads of antique cabinets, chairs and benches from Hungary, as well as beautiful vintage linen sheets, fresh from France. With up to 1,700 stands to peruse, there is also a good number of indoor stalls, housed in agricultural buildings and offering everything from fine china and silver to postcards and prints. Tuesday entry costs £20, while Wednesday admission is £

Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair

A favourite for serious dealers and buyers, this monthly fair is the largest event of its kind in Europe, playing host to 2,500 stands that are spread across the 84-acre showground. Attracting the likes of John Evetts, the Landmark Trust’s Furnishing Manager, the two-day fair is renowned for its diverse offering – from fine antique furniture and oil paintings to chandeliers, rugs and garden ornaments. Thursday admission is £20, while Friday entry costs £

Shepton Mallet Antiques, Vintage and Collectors Fair

Just over 25 miles from Bristol, this is an absolute trove with over 600 stands spread across four halls. It’s a firm favourite of Patrick Williams of Berdoulat Design, who lives nearby in Bath. ‘It’s got a good selection of most things,’ he says. ‘We collect meat plates and picked up a stack of Burleighware there once.’ The fair takes place every other month, with Friday admission costing £10 and Saturday and Sunday entry costing £

Sunbury Antiques Market

A favourite for Londoners due to its proximity to the capital (it’s only about a half-hour drive from west London), this bi-monthly fair brings together over 700 dealers, selling everything from stoneware jam pots and galvanised watering cans to nineteenth century tub chairs and mid-century sideboards. It’s easy to reach by train and equally easy to organise a courier to ship your purchases to your home if you don’t have a car to carry them away in. Entry is free, but it’s worth getting there for 6.30am on the dot if you’re looking for the cream of the

The Great Wetherby Racecourse Antiques and Collectors Fair

Less than 15 miles from York, Harrogate and Leeds, this popular weekend fair offers both indoor and outdoor stalls and takes place eight to nine times a year. The emphasis is on vintage rather than antique, and along with furniture and decorative pieces, there is also an excellent range of agricultural items, reflecting the area’s rural heritage. Indoors, you will find glassware, ceramics, jewellery and prints, while larger items tend to be displayed outdoors. It’s friendly and down-to-earth, with attractive prices. Admission costs £

Alexandra Palace Antiques Fair & Collectors Fair

Well worth a visit, not just for the 300 dealers selling everything from 20th century design classics to antique ceramics, but also for the spectacular Grade II listed setting. The north London fair, which is held every other month, is easily reached by tube – head for Wood Green Station and then jump on the W3 bus – or by car should you wish to drive. Admission costs £6.

Malvern Flea and Collectors Fair

Set against the backdrop of the Malvern Hills, this sprawling one-day flea market is held nine times a year. Spread across two exhibition halls, several sheds, as well as outdoors around the showground’s perimeter, there is a diverse range of pieces on offer, from garden pots and taxidermy to enamelware and studio pottery. Admission costs £

Camden Passage, Islington

This charming pedestrianised street in north London plays host to four converging markets – Camden Passage Market, Annie’s Antique and Vintage Market, Charlton Place Market and Pierrepont Arcade Market. With over 200 stalls, there’s a huge array of pieces available, from antique door knobs to traditional bone-handled knives from Stoke-on-Trent. It’s a calm and understated affair, especially if you arrive early. Some markets are only open on certain days (Charlton Place, for example, is just Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays), but chances are that one part will be in full swing on the day you choose to visit. For full opening times, visit the website.

Lincolnshire Antiques and Home Show

Something of an antique extravaganza, this one-day fair hosts thousands of stands over the 200-acre showground. Taking place every other month – often just before Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair – it attracts international dealers and buyers, as well as casual collectors. Head to buildings for delicate decorative items, such as glassware and silver and the marquees for fine furniture and art. The outdoor stalls offer a pleasing array of rustic pieces, kitchenware and garden items. Admission costs £

Peterborough Festival of Antiques

One of the UK’s largest antique fairs, this Friday and Saturday fair takes place twice a year. Spread across 2,000 stands, there is plenty to excite, from architectural salvage and garden statuary to antique ginger beer bottles and fine porcelain. Be prepared for lots of walking if you want to see it all. Entry costs £