In this article I am going to tell you some of the places I love to go antique shopping in England. I have written several other articles about buying antiques in England that you might find interesting. We imported our first container of antiques from England in 1991. Since then we have probably imported around fifty containers of antiques fro England. For over ten tears we hosted buying trips to England where we would escort our clients to different places where we found to be the best antique shopping in England.
The Best Antique Shopping in England
Let me state that this is my opinion for the best antique shopping in England, others might have a different list. We tried to take our clients who were mainly other antique dealers where they could find the best prices on the antiques they were buying so they could successfully resell them. Since many of our clients had many different interests, we tried to show them a wide variety of antiques and smalls. We did not go to extremely high end antique sources because our clients did not sell these items. They bought things ranging in price from five dollars to five thousand dollars.
Most planes from the U.S. used to always land at London Gatwick, when flying to London, and that is how we planned our trips. A few years a go when London Heathrow opened up more gates, everyone flew into Heathrow. But let’s get to the places that offer the best antique shopping in England. We picked up our clients at the airport and immediately headed out to do some serious antique shopping. We headed south from London and made our first stop in Lewes, a very beautiful town set a long the river. A serious flood over ten years ago changed the shopping here, but it usually is worth a stop. Be aware that antique shops open and close all of the time, and a town that was once great for antique shopping is now a waste of time. There are four or five shops and malls here to shop. Then we went further south to Seaford which is right on the coast. We sometimes only went to Martin Johnson Antiques here, but it depends on how much time you have. We had a pretty intense eight days of antique shopping in England with shop till you drop days.
Antique Shopping in Arundel England
Then we headed west toward Arundel. But just a few miles outside of Arundel there is an antique trade warehouse called The Vinery. There are several different shops located here. Many of the units are just furniture that can be pretty rough, but there are a few that have actually set up their spaces as showrooms. A couple of them feature both French and English antiques. Some of the units are not open every day, which can be frustrating. But you will learn you just can’t see everything. You will not be able to see this entire area in one day. Everyone shops at their own pace, so I can’t tell you how much you can see in a day.
From the Vinery, we hear into Arundel, another small town with several antiques shops. The favorite stop here for many is Spencer Swaffer, considered by some as one of the finest antique stores in all of England. It is a fun place to visit. Don’t be put off by having to ring to gain entrance. Once inside, you will usually be very welcome. I will warn you ahead of time, this place is a little more high end than most of the places we shop, but he has so many unique items. I have done very well with the things I have bought here, but we are always very careful. You have to know whether you can resell an item unless you are just buying for yourself. If that is the case you will really love this antique store. They used to not have many things priced and it was very frustrating to have to ask about the price of everything. But lately more things have been priced, and like everywhere they will give a better price if you ask. A little inside here, if you can get Spencer himself to give you a price, it tends to be a little better than his assistants give. But they will treat you very well, especially after they get to know you. Unfortunately, that is true most places. After they know you are a buyer they will treat you better. That was one advantage we had, is we were bringing buyers to the stores. Take your time here, even if it seems outside your budget. Sometimes you can find a sleeper, there is so much to see. Also you can get some great ideas for later shopping.
There are several other shops in Arundel. There is an interesting shop that specializes in antique walking sticks, but don’t let his stories and history lessons on canes suck you in. I speak from experience and overpaid for several walking sticks here. There’s also a couple of good place to eat while you are here. There’s also a historic castle here that looks interesting, although I have never had time to take the tour. I might also mention here that Arundel is a short train ride from Victoria Station in London. Depending on the group we had, we sometimes skipped this southern swing and would catch the train down here at the end of the trip. I think I will end this article here or it will be so long. I will write more on other places that I consider the best antique shopping in England.