Antique fairs are a great way to get started on any antique journey. Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, there is always something to surprise or delight in the sprawling maze of stalls and stands at antique fairs in the UK.
We’re incredibly lucky to have so many antique fairs in the UK, many of which are internationally renowned for the quality of their merchandise.
Antique fairs are where professional buyers rub shoulders with thrifty students and creative homemakers all looking for a hidden gem.
As with most things in life, the more time you put into antiquing the better your return. But with some fairs finishing before lunchtime and others only moments from central London, you don’t have to give up a whole weekend to get the very best antique buying experience.
While many public events are still in flux currently due to the worldwide effects of the Coronavirus pandemic we’ve collected together some of the best local antiques fairs, their locations and their future dates (though as with many events this year, these are all subject to change!).
If you’re looking to redecorate a room, find a great gift or even just for a fun day out with friends and family, we hope you find the perfect event in our guide to the best antique fairs in the UK.
Adams Antiques Fairs
Location: Lindley Hall, The Royal Horticultural Halls, London.
2020 Dates: 8th November, 13th December
Best for: A family affair.
Despite the fact the fair is held on a monthly basis, queues are still fairly common, so it’s certainly worth getting to the venue before the doors open.
Each event features around 140 stalls of quality antiques, combined with the stunning backdrop and central location it’s no surprise the fair has been a firm favourite since the 1970s.
Traders and buyers flock to the fair from across Europe and each event offers a real mix of items.
TOP TIP: It’s worth checking the website to see if anything special is on offer on the date you plan to visit.
Despite having a loyal following, it remains one of the most welcoming antique fairs in the UK and enjoys a fairly relaxed atmosphere, so it’s definitely one to visit for a more leisurely browse.
Antiques for Everyone
Location: NEC, Birmingham.
2020 Dates: Between 19th – 22nd November 2020.
Best for: Famous faces.
While it might not be the most spectacular of locations, Art & Antiques for Everyone has become the largest fair outside of London and the vast space means you get to see an awful lot without having to trek to other venues around the country.
An eclectic range of objects from antiquity to the present day will be on show at the events this year, including unique art deco pieces and continental furniture.
One of the best attended antique fairs in the UK, it also includes talks from a number of guests including Antiques Roadshow experts, so it might be worth taking a seat before you head to the stalls to bag that bargain.
Arthur Swallow Fairs
2020 Dates: Various.
Best for: Getting a regular antique fix!
Bargain hunters and seasoned collectors alike can get their antique fix throughout the whole year thanks to Arthur Swallow Fairs.
Its flagship event, the Lincolnshire Antiques and Home Show, was established more than ten years ago.
Now, it’s not only one of the largest antique fairs in the UK, but across Europe, with exhibitors setting out their wares across the 200-acre site on a bi-monthly basis.
Although particularly popular with interior designers, architects and collectors, the fair is also a big hit with ordinary homeowners who want to create a unique space.
Throughout the summer, the company hosts its popular Decorative Home and Salvage Show at Ripley Castle, Loseley Park, Cheshire Showground and Welland.
The salvage shows are a must visit for anyone in the midst of a renovation project with upcycled furniture, period fixtures and fittings and industrial-style items all available to browse and buy.
Throughout the year, Arthur Swallow also add a number of dates to their popular Vintage Flea Market which will be held this year on 15th November.
The vintage fair is perfect for those looking for a more relaxed day out while on the hunt for those quirky trinkets and retro pieces.
Chelsea Antiques Fair
Location: Chelsea, London.
2020 Dates: CANCELLED.
Best for: Quality at good prices.
Usually a highlight of any antique lover’s social calendar, the Chelsea Antiques Fair was much missed this year.
The fair is now provisionally scheduled for 2021 from the 17th to the 21st of March - though these dates are subject to change.
Established in 1950, it is one of the most intimate and prestigious antique fairs in the UK.
With a capacity for only 30 stands inside the Town Hall, the emphasis is on quality over quantity. Expect knowledgeable dealers and unique pieces.
Chelsea has become known for its influence on budding dealers aiming to blaze their way in the world of antiques.
Dealers such as Robert Young, Wakelin & Linfield and Witney Antiques all started out at Chelsea.
As one of the most reasonably priced of the major London fairs, it’s a great chance to discover a hidden treasure.
It’ll certainly be worth the wait to see the Old Town Hall restored to its former glory and everyone bringing their best after the year off.
Edinburgh Antiques, Vintage and Collectors Fair
Location: The Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.
2020 Dates: 23rd - 24th November (pending government approval)
Best for: Wet weekends.
Scotland’s largest antiques event boasts up to 300 dealers bringing a real mix of good quality retro homeware, clothing and art for all tastes.
To cater for the unpredictable Scottish weather, the fair is held entirely indoors – which also makes it a great way to spend a wet and windy weekend.
Getting there couldn’t be easier, with coaches going from the city centre straight to the venue – visit the fair’s website for more details.
Great Antiques & Vintage Fair
Location: Nottingham Racecourse.
2020 Dates: 28th-29th November.
Best for: Local history and agricultural antiques.
Boasting perhaps the most varied backdrops of all antique fairs in the UK, the Great Antiques & Vintage Fair is also one of the largest in the country with a huge and eclectic mix of collectables and vintage items from all eras ready to be discovered.
Unfortunately a number of the events in 2020 have had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event – which is part of Racecourse Tuesday in Nottingham this year – has a real feel-good factor thanks to its licensed bar and live music and is a perfect place to pick out a hidden treasure or find some home décor inspiration while soaking up the unique atmosphere.
IACF Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair
Location: Alexandra Palace, London.
2020 Dates: 1st November.
Best for: beginners and vintage enthusiasts.
Since opening in 1873, Alexandra Palace has played host to countless spectacular events.
As well as becoming a hub for arts and culture, the Palace proudly houses the IACF Antiques & Collectors Fair.
The Alexandra Palace Fair is the largest in London and one of the best attended antique fairs in the UK, regularly attracting over 300 dealers.
The quality and scale of the fair sees it frequented by public and trade buyers alike.
Traditionally known for its vast selection of 20th-century and Art Deco stalls it’s the perfect place to hunt for glassware and early plastics.
Thanks to it’s easily recognisable style, browsing the Art Deco selection is a wonderful way for beginners to get into antiquing.
With a vast array of clocks, tea services and much more there’s a treasure to be found around every corner.
Pop Up Vintage Fairs London
A welcome addition to the Antiques & Collectors Fair is the Pop Up Vintage Fairs London who bring a fun twist to a traditional antiquing experience.
Their stalls comprise of vendors from all over the UK and Europe selling the best vintage merchandise in London from designer clothing for men and women to retro furniture and mid-century homeware.
Easily accessible by public transport and car, the Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair is a must for anyone looking to get into antiquing.
Before you book your tickets, be sure to read our beginner’s guide to buying antiques - here.
Knebworth Decorative Salvage & Vintage Fair
Location: Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire.
2020 Dates: CANCELLED.
Best for: Vintage homeware.
In normal times, this popular fair promises a treasure trove of vintage pieces and furniture and could be the ideal place to grab a bargain for your home, with lamps, signage and collectables all on offer as well as more one-off collectables.
A real vintage theme runs across the weekend and the fair’s hosts always hope for the sun to shine on the outdoor event to encourage a repeat of previous record crowds.
Unfortunately the Decorative Salvage & Vintage Fair is yet another event that has been cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic. While we’re saddened by the news, we hope to see the fair in fighting form in 2021.
LAPADA Art and Antique Fair
Location: Berkeley Square, Mayfair.
Best for: Art enthusiasts.
Almost ten years since it launched, the LAPADA fair has become one of the most prestigious antique fairs in the UK.
This year over 110 exhibitors bringing everything from tapestries to ceramics will flock to one of the capital’s most iconic locations.
As you would expect with a fair hosted by LAPADA – the largest society of professional art and antique dealers in the UK – the event will be stocked with some highly sought after pieces and packed with seasoned collectors.
It also promises treasures for first-time buyers and those with smaller budgets, so it’s certainly worth an after-work trip out to Mayfair.
Unfortunately due to the 2020 pandemic the fair has been cancelled this year, though hopes to re-open in 2021.
Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show
Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire.
2020 Dates: 2nd December.
Best for: Collectors, interior designers and retail buyers.
The Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show is an excellently curated fair which brings together the very best in antique dealership.
It is considered by many to be one of the best antique fairs in the UK for set and interior designers. Its well-organised stalls and collection of fine antique furniture make it a great destination for anyone seeking interior inspiration.
The fair also offers a wide variety of antiquities at reasonable prices; the buildings of the showground host dealers selling jewellery, vintage trinkets and smaller collectables.
Although the fair is a veritable playground for the experienced buyer, it’s also a great place to get creative and see how you could integrate antiques into your home.
Malvern Antiques & Collectors Fair
Location: Malvern, Worcestershire.
2020 Dates: 1st November (awaiting approval from the council).
Best for: Antiquing with a view.
Unlike the popular Malvern Flea, the Malvern Antiques & Collectors Fair takes a purer approach to antique buying.
Usually held inside with up to 150 exhibitors, in June, the fair spreads out into the grounds of The Severn Hall.
The Antique & Collectors Fair is a great opportunity to look for high-quality antique, retro and vintage merchandise all in one manageable fair.
Not only is Malvern one of our favourite antique fairs for its variety and quality, the stunning view of the Malvern Hills is the perfect backdrop to a day antiquing.
Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair
Location: Malvern, Worcestershire.
2020 Dates: 13th December.
Best for: Eclectic mixture.
The Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair is the largest of its kind in the UK. It has a vast array of bric-a-brac and decorative collectables, jumbled together in a maze of curiosities.
Although you’re unlikely to find major collectables and high-value pieces, there’s still a great selection of interesting items on offer.
As well as the fascinating and diverse stands, the atmosphere at the Malvern Flea is not to be missed.
Stalls of miscellania are broken up by artisans selling home-made food to fuel your antiquing.
A great place to get your hands dirty sifting through house clearance boxes, furniture and everything in between.
Location: Royal Hospital Chelsea.
2020 Dates: CANCELLED this year - the show will resume in 2021.
Best for: Rubbing shoulders.
If you think you know anything about antiques, this is one fair you don’t want to miss. Priding itself on being the world’s ‘leading’ cross collecting fair, many see this event as at the heart of the antiques calendar and this year will include 160 international exhibitors showcasing their collections. But don’t be put off if you’re not an experienced collector, as the fair offers a vast selection that you won’t find at other venues across the country and not just for those with lots of money to spend.
As well as the chance to get your hands on – or at least see – some of the best pieces on the market – particularly its impressive collection of British and European Art – the fair also includes a number of events, including champagne tastings, stand talks and highlight tours with academics from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair
Location: The London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square.
2020 Dates: Finished for the year, will return 7th - 10th January 2021.
Best for: Finding a late Christmas present.
The Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair has become a firm favourite on the London antiques calendar since it launched seven years ago and it's easy to see why.
Located in the hotel’s recently refurbished Westminster Ballroom, the fair offers a vast selection of art and antiques - including ceramics, vintage watches and an array of paintings.
With most of the dealers being members of BADA or LAPADA, the fair promises high quality and rare pieces.
Being held at the end of the festive period, this boutique event often attracts visitors not only from throughout the UK but from across the world.
The fair runs from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday and, with the hotel boasting two Gordon Ramsey restaurants as well as plenty of other eateries, there's no need to leave the venue until you've found exactly what you're after.
Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair
Location: Newark, Nottinghamshire.
2020 Dates: 3rd - 4th December.
Best for: Variety.
As the largest event of its kind in Europe, the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair is known world over.
Its sprawling 84-acre plot housing up to 2500 stands pulls in dealers and buyers from around the globe.
The fair’s scale and spectacle have even contributed to it being featured in 1000 Places to See Before You Die !
There are a huge variety of antiques available from decorative interior pieces such as chandeliers and china collectables to architectural gardenwear and industrial lighting.
Thanks to its status as a pilgrimage for antique dealers and buyers, you’re likely to find high quality merchandise and knowledgeable traders.
It’s certainly one of the antique fairs in the UK not to be missed.
TOP TIP: if you’re going to soak up the atmosphere and hopefully bag a bargain, tickets on the Friday are £5 instead of £20 for the Thursday ! If you want to get the whole experience, a Thursday ticket will include Friday entry too.
Peterborough - Festival of Antiques
Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
2020 Dates: FINISHED FOR THE YEAR.
Best for: A great day out.
The Peterborough - Festival of Antiques is a great all-rounder if you’re new to antiques or if you’ve been antiquing for years.
Although some vendors are specialists in their field, the majority sell an eclectic mix of items. If you keep your eyes open you’re likely to find a great piece at an even better price - and bartering is a must !
As one of the largest antique fairs in the UK, be prepared to rummage to find the best deals and wear your comfiest shoes !
Both in and outdoors, there’s no need to worry about the weather putting you off a great day antiquing.
TOP TIP: If you’re really searching for a gem, the early spot from 7am - 10am is worth paying an extra £7.50 to beat the crowds and get the cream of the crop.
The Festival of Antiques has finished for the year, but should hopefully be serving up another glorious weekend of antiquing in 2021.
Shepton Giant Flea & Collectors Market
Location: Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
2020 Dates: 29th November.
Best for: vintage and 20th-century collectibles.
If you’re looking for a fun and eclectic fair, the Shepton Giant Flea & Collectors Market is the best around.
The fair offers a great selection of silver, porcelain, militaria and paintings. As well as traditional antiques there’s a vast array of collectables on offer including West German ceramics, costume jewellery, kitchenware, plastics, advertising items and crockery.
If the huge variety of vintage and retro objects isn’t enough to persuade you, the fair also claims to have the best pasties in the South West! Just another reason why Shepton is one of our favourite antique markets in the UK.
Sunbury Antiques Market
Location: Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex.
2020 Dates: Every second and last Tuesday of the month (and a single event in December).
Best for: The early bird and the curious.
Held bi-monthly, the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse is great for those wishing to keep up-to-date with their antiques.
Despite being one the most frequent antique fairs in the UK, it is still considered to be a hidden gem.
At Kempton, antique dealers mix with collectors, interior designers and window dressers all looking for unique inspiration.
The early bird catches the worm at Kempton as fairs start between 6:30-7am and close between 1-2pm, depending on the venue. Be sure to check your dates if you’re hoping to get first pickings as times can vary.
This year, the popular fair will continue to run at Sandown Racecourse, Esher. Both Kempton and Sandown offer free entrance and free parking to encourage anyone still on the fence to come and give antiquing a try.
Their dedication to keeping antiques alive makes Sunbury one of our favourite antique fairs in the UK.
The Annual Buxton Antiques Fair
Location: Buxton Pavilion, Derbyshire.
2020 Dates: CURRENTLY POSTPONED - we will update when we get further information.
Best for: An intimate shopping experience.
One of the more intimate fairs on the circuit, the Annual Buxton Antiques Fair displays everything from contemporary art to jewellery and decorative items.
The fair is regarded by some as the longest continually running antiques fair in the country, though has been delayed to Autumn 2020 due to the pandemic. We will update this blog when we hear more.
The Vintage Home Show
Location: Victoria Baths, Manchester.
2020 Dates: 29th November.
Best for: Nostalgia.
The Vintage Home Show might be one of the smaller fairs in the UK but it has become hugely popular since launching in 2012.
The iconic location draws in the crowds who come from far and wide to find retro lighting, ceramics and textiles to create the most stylish of homes.
As well as interior designers, the show is also a haven for those undertaking their own home renovation projects keen to find something that little bit different and promises items to include most budgets.
Travel back in time with iconic and instantly recognisable household pieces from bygone eras and if you want to find something that will transport you back to childhood, this is the place to be.
Local Antique Fairs in the UK: a Summary
These are just a few of the many antique fairs in the UK. If you’re looking for a fair near you, Antiques Atlas is a great resource for finding all the best local events.
With knowledgeable vendors and an easy atmosphere, antique fairs are a great way to start collecting.
A few tips to help you on your way:
Always bring cash.
Don’t be afraid to haggle.
Enjoy the experience!