Best places to shop for vintage homeware in UK

Treasure Seeker

Author: Lauren Coleman

One of my favourite ways to pass the time is to do a spot of treasure-troving as I LOVE to rummage through piles of vintage paraphenalia.
I can’t pretend that I’m the best antique-buyer. I am utterly atrocious at bartering but I do remember to take notes and small change and a handful of carrier bags.
When I first started furnishing my house I used to carry around a notebook with various room dimensions and alcove measurements, along with a tape measure so I didn’t miss out on a perfect piece. Now the house is almost complete, I like to have an idea in mind of what I’d like to come home with so that I don’t get distracted and end up buying something on a whim. I try to be really realistic when I buy older pieces too. There are some furniture pieces that are utterly gorgeous but I don’t have the time or expertise to return them to their former glory.

With the lighter mornings and the summer just within sight now is the time to get yourself to an early morning sale to grab yourself a truly unique piece for your home. Here are some of my favourite haunts.

Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton, Shepperton, TW17 9WE

Last year we were blessed with a particularly gorgeous end of May Bank Holiday. It’s a shame the sun couldn’t manage to keep his hat on for a day longer as my first early morning trip to Kempton was met with heavy rainfall. My faithful troving companion Lindsay and I looked like we had been dragged through a hedge. Backwards and forwards.
Despite the weather we had a fab morning combing stall after stall of furniture, fabrics and kitchenalia ending up with various vases, retro boxes and silverware.
It’s a biggie and people travel far and wide (some stallholders had nipped over from France to sell their wares) but don’t be put off by the size. It’s easy to navigate and as an added bonus perusers get free admission and free parking.

Next Event – Tuesday 27th May 2014

Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair, West Sussex, RH17 6TL

Ardingly is is next on my list to visit. It’s a truly massive fair with over 1,700 indoor and outdoor stands. That’s a whole lot of vintage.
It’s £20 entry for both sellers and buyers on the first day, but £5 if you just choose to go on the following day.

Next Event – Tuesday 17th to Wednesday 18th June 2014

Sheffield Antiques Centre, S8 0XL

As we all know, antique hunting doesn’t just happen in the South. When I’m back in my hometown I regularly nip down to Sheffield Antiques Centre and neighbouring Heeley Bank Antique Centre.
I’ve found that their wares don’t have the hefty London price tags and there’s a huge selection, particularly vintage furniture, glassware and garden knick-knacks.

The Vintage Rooms, Matlock, DE4 3LU

This is probably the most beautifully merchandised vintage store I’ve come across. They don’t have a website but their instagram feed is utterly divine. If you have a penchant for French or rustic pieces then this is the shop for you. On the same street there are many other antique and collectable shops so well worth spending the afternoon hunting a myriad of treasures.

Car Boot Sales & Charity Shops

Granted a car boot sale pasting table is unlikely to be curated and displayed like you’d find at an antique fair, however your local car boot is often the best place to bag a bargain. I have a favourite one just down the road from me that starts at 12 noon on a Saturday (hooray for a morning lay-in!) I picked up a candelabra (currently residing on the loo cistern) and soda syphon bottle that I have seen on sale in antique for stores for more than ten times the price.
I’ve always found Charity Shops a great resource for crockery, glassware and cutlery.


It goes without saying that eBay is a fabulous resource for picking up pre-loved memorabilia. Some of my other favourite websites for tracking down vintage trinkets are Sugden & Daughters, Homebarn (well worth a visit to their barn showroom near Marlow), and Goose Home and Garden.

This is just a summary of a few of my favourite places to visit for vintage homeware but there are literally hundreds of stores, stands, fairs and sales all over the country. What are your favourite places to shop for collectables and unique pieces? What’s your best antique or second-hand find? Don’t just stick to home and decor, please share clothes and jewellery finds too.

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.
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16 thoughts on “Treasure Seeker

  1. I love finding treasures and have been scouring car boots and charity shops for the past 8 months for wedding paraphernalia! I think once the wedding is done and dusted our wedding may need a re-haul! I actually live in Marlow and have never come across Homebarn, how rubbish am I?!

  2. I love a bargain and I love to have something that I won’t necessarily see in many places. I live in Nottingham and some of the best places here are the following:

    The Arthur George auctions – – (near the cattle market and Notts County Ground) – My husband and I go here often, particularly in the run up to our wedding, but it’s great for all sorts of cool furniture. It starts at 10am every Saturday but the actual building is open before that so you can have a look at everything beforehand. Plus they sell awesome bacon sandwiches in the van outside the auction room so we always use them as an excuse to come down early. There are three rooms, for vintage furniture, for new furniture from factories etc and one for nerdy collectable items like little bo beep figurines etc..

    We only go to the room for older furniture but have bought some excellent bargains from there. They often sell job lots of old paintings for a tenner and we take the paintins ou and use the lovely ornate frames to frame posters etc. We also used one to frame a piece of wood we’d painted with blackboard paint for the table plan at our wedding and now we’re going to use it in our new home. We also bought a wardrobe, dressing table and chest of drawers for our bedroom for £10. For the lot! And other cool things like a blanket box, wooden step ladders and various lamps.

    For clothes, I would 100% recommend Cow in Nottingham City Centre. I have got heaps of cute dresses and shoes from there. Before everyone else had decided to ditch platforms for single soled shoes vintage shops like Cow were selling 1980’s single soled stilettos for a fiver. They’re a bit more pricey now.. Like £9! And they also do some really lovely bags – of which I have many. My favourite way to add vintage to my look is through accesories and Cow is a great place for that.

    Sherwood in Nottingham is also a great place to do some charity shop shopping. They have about 8 charity shops in very quick succession and we’ve got lots of good trinkets from there. But the best charity shop I have ever been to is the Mary Magdelene shop on Arnold Road in Basford. The shop is only open 10-4 Monday to Friday so I only get to go there when I am off work but I always walk away with something, from old books, crockery, a brand new Zara jacket to larger items like an awesome sideboard wehave in our living room that has a record player built in to it or an eames style chair we got for a fiver.

    I didn’t expect to go for so long! Sorry!

    1. Oooh Jennifer, you make me want to go to Nottingham now! Can’t believe you got all that bedroom furniture for a tenner….
      There’s a Cow in Sheffield too – it’s fab and so well priced x

  3. It’s funny, I was reading this post and was jealous of where all the places you mentioned were and then when I started to think about what’s on my doorstep I realised how lucky I am! Nottingham is pretty cool. I’ve never been to Sheffield though.

    Excellent post! Xx

  4. Yey another mention! I remember the rain fondly, and the hot cross buns I prepared for the journey ; ) We must get Ardingley ticked off the to do list as soon as…x x x x

    1. Hello lovely, you think the person mentioned in the cleaning post is you?! 😉
      Defo need an Ardingley trip x

  5. If anyone ends up in Greenwich you should head to The Junk Shop and Spreadeagle – I’ve spent hundreds there since we moved to the area two years ago… I found the most beautiful Camphor Engraved Trunk in there for the most amazing price of £170. It has a gorgeous cherry blossom and bird pattern all over and is in incredible condition. They have everything under the sun from furniture to trinkets and a cute tearoom out the back.

    Next door but one/two/three there is Halcyon Books where every single book goes for £1, I’ve found some gorgeous books for our shelves and even some first editions!

  6. Thank you so much for mentioning Sugden and Daughters. I keep seeing people popping onto our website referred from Rock My Style.

    1. Hi Louisa, so glad that you’re seeing traffic from our site. RMS readers are in for a treat 🙂

  7. Fab post, I’ve often ogled your instagram feed wondering where you find all these treasures. I love nothing more than a weekend outing for a mooch around great shops like these and am always picking things up to add into our hire stocks for weddings.

    Some other places I’ve discovered: skipton Antiques Market is quite good plus there’s loads of charity shops in the town too.

    Kirby Lonsdale is a really lovely little town with quite a few antique shops, I picked up some fabulous wool blankets there for a bargainous £45 each, loads of tea rooms and nice restaurants too if you want to make a day of it, or for something a little fancier Hipping Hall is not too far.

    I live in the Ribble Valley (Lancashire) which us teaming with great little shops, Clitheroe good for a day out, the Emporium is a huge homewares shop with cafe/restaurant attached, stop by Whalley village too and head to Theofano Interiors (my family used to own the shop many moons ago when it was a ladies clothes shop and I lived above it-random fact) then wander a little further down the road to what looks like a battered old garage, the guys there pick up some really random vintage pieces. Another in this area is Backridge Farm, quite a few little shop there worth a look, it’s near Waddington where you’ll find great pubs as well as another random vintage shop held in someone’s home garage.

    Crumbs I could go on and on!!

    1. Thanks Michelle! Sounds like you have some great shops on your doorstep – am very envious. This battered garage-shop sounds like a real find x

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