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Market forces

Vintage lovers ahoy! Sandown Antiques Market has announced two Sunday fairs - with the first on Sunday 2 June from 10am. A cross between a Parisian flea market and a posh interiors boutique - this is a fair that's not to be missed if you love squirrelling out a bohemian bargain.

Nothing beats the thrill of finding a bargain – and an antiques market certainly gives you an opportunity to seek out original and quirky finds.

My idea of heaven on earth is a good old rummage at an antiques fair – and my house is full of secondhand and vintage furniture sourced from markets and fairs (and the occasional private seller via eBay). I also have an unbridled tendency to slap paint everything in sight – but that’s another story!

Two of my favourite midweek haunts are the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse and the Sandown Antiques Market at Sandown Park in Esher on alternating Tuesdays – click here for dates. But you’ve got to be dedicated to this shopping cause with a sharp eye and even sharper elbows – stall holders open from 6.30am and this is when the serious buyers arrive, so to get the best pieces for the best prices, you really must to be up with the larks.

But I’ve got a good bit of news for those looking for a weekend rootle – or who just can’t face the 6am rising time. Sandown Antiques Market has added two Sunday markets to its calendar with the first happening on Sunday 2 June and the second on Sunday 15 September

These markets are aimed firmly at private buyers, which means you won’t have to sharpen your elbows against the antiques dealers, traders and interiors glitterati who regularly attend the Tuesday markets at Kempton and Sandown.

If you’ve never been to the antiques markets at Sandown Park or Kempton Park – you’d be mad to miss the fair on June 2. Sandown is the chilled-out little sister of the bigger, longer established market at Kempton Park, with a more relaxed vibe and a more spacious set-up.

It’s like a cross between a Parisian flea market and a posh London interiors store – with an eclectic range of furniture and curiosities on offer, from ceramics and glass to silver, textiles, toys and furniture. Stalls are set up inside and out.

There will be stall holders from the Continent – including France, Belgium and the Netherlands – as well as some of the best dealers from the UK, so this means a grand offering of French farmhouse furniture, Dutch and Flemish style antiques and a brilliant range of other wares: quirky and cool, fine and rustic, antique and vintage.

In addition to the huge range of collectables (vintage books, kitchenwares, etc), this is a good place to pick up unusual furniture, rustic lighting, original paintings and quirky accessories. There’s also plenty of industrial and garden architectural salvage.

The team from BBC’s Bargain Hunt will be filming an episode, and top antiques experts Henry Nicholls and Karen Dalmeny will be offering free evaluations. If you’re curious to know the worth of that old bit of jewellery, ornament, vase, furniture or other collectable, they’ll be set up in the foyer and operating on a ticketing system so you won’t have to spend all day queueing.

The markets at Sandown and Kempton are 100% family owned and run – by husband and wife team Ed and Jennie Cruttenden who took over from Ed’s mum Sue – and unusually for these types of events there’s no charge for parking and entry is free. You won’t find many other antiques fairs in the UK with that set-up.

Sue started the Kempton market with just 12 stalls back in 1979 – it’s now one of the biggest antiques fairs in Europe, with upwards of 700 stall holders, but all of these events still retain that warm, family friendly vibe.

Even if you’re not in the market for vintage furniture or unique finds for your home, there’s plenty to see and do and there’s a brilliantly buzzy atmosphere. The best antiques markets attract people from all walks of life – and Sandown is no exception – so this is a people-watchers’ paradise.

The next Sandown Antiques Market is on Sun 2 June and then Sun 15 Sept. Sunbury Antiques is at Kempton Park Racecourse on the second and last Tuesday of every month


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