Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair

Firstly apologies for the lack of posts over the last week; the kids’ half term holiday and the decorating of our study distracted me somewhat, but happily normal service has now resumed.

A highlight of the week was a visit to the Antiques & Collectors Fair at Ardingly, West Sussex with two friends. I’ve wanted to go for ages and was not disappointed as there is an amazing range of wares on display and some definite bargains to be had. The buyers from Petersham Nurseries and Retrouvius clearly agree as I spotted vans from both. I also spotted Katie Price doing some filming, although I’m not sure what can be inferred from that.

Showing uncharacteristic restraint, I didn’t actually buy anything as I wanted to get a feel for what was there on my first visit so that I could do my homework prior to going back. Although if truth be told I do slightly regret not further investigating a little glazed bookcase that needed some TLC. Ho hum.

You name it, you can buy it there; from taxidermy to suits of armour, and rugby balls to vintage handbags. Highlights for me were the Hungarian benches, vintage baskets of all shapes and sizes, French linens and galvanised containers that would look fantastic in the garden or as storage.

Having not been to this kind of event before it was useful to see how the regulars approach their bargain-hunting. Here are some tips that I gleaned:

  • Get there early – entry badges are sold while you’re queueing which means you can get browsing as soon as it opens at 9am.
  • The stalls are roughly grouped by type so grab a map and make a beeline for the kind of thing you’re most interested in as otherwise the best items will be sold by the time you get there.
  • Be decisive if you want to buy something, or face disappointment.
  • If you’re looking for something specific, make a note of any relevant measurements before you go and take a tape measure with you.
  • Take some large carrier bags with you. Many stallholders will mind your purchases for you while you browse but you still need to lug them back to your car. If you want to look like a pro, take a wheeled suitcase/shopping trolley.
  • Take cash and a cheque book to pay for any purchases; some stalls will also accept Euros. There is a mobile cashpoint there but they charge for withdrawals.
  • Wear comfortable shoes; it’s huge, and a bit muddy.
  • Take a backpack or cross-body bag to keep your hands free.

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