Flea Market Survival Guide: Best flea markets and antique markets in Britain.

Sep 13, 2010 at 9:46 a.m. ET
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The trend for vintage clothing has hit international shores with unknown precedence. No longer happy to fork out top dollar for designer threads, many these days are looking for the history, beauty and unrivalled craftsmanship of older pieces. Antique and flea market furniture finds are deemed far worthier purchases for a new home and, with Britain showcasing some of the finest flea markets in Europe, we’ve put together our list of the best flea markets and antiques markets in Britain.

Camden passage

Not to be confused with neighboring Camden Lock which, these days, is a bustling hub of new products laid out on endless stalls amidst hair and beauty products, Camden Passage has some of the best vintage finds in the capital city. Victorian collectibles are especially prominent each Wednesday and Saturday morning, and the quality of products is exceptional so, feel free to haggle on price somewhat, but remember you're buying from serious dealers and not those who have raided their granny's attic.

Portobello road

Though the "Bella" has undergone somewhat of a metamorphosis since the film Notting Hill was released, it still has a wonderfully eccentric vibe to it, especially if you visit on a Friday instead of the more touristy Saturday market day. Young designers sell their, often incredible, collections under the Westway, while the top end near Notting Hill Gate is still the retail space for some of London's finest antiques dealers. As "that" movie has brought tourists in by the droves prices have gone up somewhat so don't be afraid to negotiate down in price if you wish to do so.

Petticoat lane flea market flea martket

This is a bit of a British institution as it's been running for over 300 years but, Petticoat Lane Flea Market is a must, even if you're not in the market for purchases. The atmosphere of this eccentric gathering feels more like a travelling circus than a market so it should be visited just for the visual show and the street food, if not the vintage goods.

Brick lane flea market

A long stretch of London's East End is given to this world famous market where everything from Caribbean food to furniture, second hand clothing to jewellery can be bought. It's a stone's throw from Petticoat Lane Flea Market so the two can be enjoyed at once and, if you're in the area anyway, it would be a travesty to miss Columbia road Flower market, also in the nearby vicinity.

Brighton and Lewes flea market

Undoubtedly the best flea markets in the neighboring southern coastal towns or Brighton and Lewes, these flea markets are open every day from Monday to Friday so they mean business. With over 60 stalls in each, they are long established, serious enclaves of French objet'd'art, mint condition furniture and soft furnishings sold by serious sellers with immense knowledge of their products.

No matter where you are in Britain, these flea markets are a great find. The unique atmosphere and selection in flea markets is sure to add flavor to your day and your home.

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