Straying from the traditional early morning car boot sale start, Battersea’s version doesn’t even open until midday, which means you don’t have to be up pre-sunrise in order to be the first in the queue. Expect to find a more premium product offering than elsewhere and a slightly higher price point to match, but the fact that sellers are rotated week upon week means that the quality stays high and varied, and you won’t see last week’s rejected stock resurfacing the Sunday after.
Bermondsey is one of London’s hidden gems, not least because of it’s Friday market – a treasure trove of pre-loved furniture, china and silverware. Sat alongside a car boot sale as well, it’s a magpie’s dream, but our tip is to get there first thing since passionate bargain-hunters will swoop in early.
Set in Wimbledon’s Greyhound stadium which is transformed for three days a week (Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays) into a vintage-lover’s emporium, Wimbledon Car Boot Sale is one to bookmark if you’re dedicated to finding a bargain. Enthusiasts be prepped, there’s an early-bird entry fee of £2 per person, and it’s a popular choice so you’ve got to act fast if you want to get the best of what’s on offer. Those less excited by the prospect can arrive at 10 a.m. and pay just 50p entry.
Saturday is by far the best day to visit the famous Portobello Road market in Notting Hill, because you’ll find retro charm aplenty and an atmosphere that’s just a little more true to tradition than you might encounter on any other day of the week. Every stall-holder is an expert in their own unique field, so if you’re after collectibles, memorabilia or any other pre-loved goods from the usual categories, don’t be afraid to quiz them on the stock they have on display.
Perhaps one of the more premium, better-organised second-hand markets to be found in the city, Alfie’s Antique Market is a vast indoor space with a bohemian sensibility. The interiors follow an Art Deco theme, and product on offer spans all the usual culprits; furniture, jewellery ceramics, clothing and paintings. Set aside a good amount of time to browse (there are over 75 different dealers inside) and be prepared to dig a little deeper as price points are slightly higher than you might find elsewhere.
Arguably one of London’s most highly-regarded flea markets, the stalls and stores at Islington’s Camden Passage are packed to the rafters with vintage trinkets, bric-a-brac and jewellery, and there’s one particular crockery store that’s worth a visit – even if just to marvel at the way in which its owner has managed to stack each piece without causing an avalanche. The market is officially open on Wednesdays and Saturdays but most stalls are open daily.
Whether it’s a 1950s fur or something as niche as a lace wedding gown from the 1920s, The Vintage Market in Old Truman Brewery is the destination to head for between Friday and Sunday of every week. Stallholders come from far and wide to showcase their finds, and it’s located just a stone’s throw from Old Spitalfields Market, so you can team the two visits together and really make a trip of it.
Loved by locals and tourists alike, Old Spitalfields Market is the kind of place you could get lost in for hours absorbing the atmosphere, the Victorian architecture and indulging in a spot of street food whilst you browse. Home to new and second-hand stall holders, there’s a real mix of product on offer, but head for the jewellery stands in particular to find one-of-a-kind creations.
A view of the Old Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch La Citta Vita/Flickr
Nags Head Car Boot Sale
Free to get in and open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Nags Head Car Boot Sale is worth a wander if nothing else, but we’re sure you’ll find something to get excited about if you’re willing to dig deeply into what’s on offer.
Open every Sunday except Bank Holidays, Pimlico’s Capital Car Boot Sale selects stall holders that place focus on clothing, accessories and homewares. This makes things a little easier to find if you’re in the market for a pre-loved denim jacket or a shabby chic dresser, but it’s perhaps not the one to head for if you’re looking for something less specific. Entry price is just £1 unless you want to be one of the first in, in which case it’ll set you back £5.
There’s something particularly personable about a family-run business and Greenwich Vintage Market captures that exact notion. Alongside the classic genres of vintage stock you’ll also come across The Coffee Hut – a welcome pitstop when you need a little caffeine and sugar hit after what’s sure to be a successful session.