If you love buying antiques in England as much as I do, you need to include shopping for antiques in the Cotswolds on your itinerary. It is a beautiful part of the country and it is a great place to shop for antiques.
Where to Shop for Antiques In the Cotswolds
You could talk to ten different people and ask where their favorite place for antiques in the Cotswolds and might get ten different answers. Part of it of course depends on what you are trying to find. We took antique dealers on buying trips to England and were looking for places where we could buy antiques for resale. So my suggestions are based on this and if you are a dealer or want to buy antiques where the dealers buy, this is where we shopped for antiques in the Cotswolds.
I might add that the present economy has hit the antiques business very hard, so many shops are closing and hopefully others are opening. So a town that is great for antique shopping one year may not be the next year. But lets get on with where to shop!
We always started our shopping for antiques in the Cotswolds in the town of Tetbury. It is an easy town to shop with nearly all of the shops on the main street of town, Long Street. There are about 10 shops along this street with a good selection of both furniture, smalls and art. Let me tell you one place you don’t want to miss. In one of the Top Banana shops, way up on the third floor is a great source for paintings. It is kind of scary going up those stairs, but if it hasn’t been picked over by dealers, you will not regret the climb up the stairs. A suggestion, try to get in shape before going on an antique shopping trip to England. You will do a lot of walking and stair climbing when shopping for antiques in the Cotswolds.
I might warn you that the last couple of times we visited there, the prices were starting to get out of hand. The first few years we shopped there, all of the dealers were pleased with their purchases, and the amount of things we found there. But the last couple of times, the pickings were slim. Sometimes when a town gets known to American antique buyers, the shops think they can start raising prices. Then it quickly becomes too expensive for dealers to shop there. Individuals can still find good buys for themselves, but dealers can’t buy and then resell. Unfortunately this is what has happened to many of the antique shops in the Cotswolds. You need to allow about 3-4 hours to hit all of the shops.
From Tetbury we head to Lechlade and there are two stops here. One is in town and it is a junky shop, sorry don’t remember the name, and don’t waste your time with the mall across the street. You might want to skip the junky shop if you hate digging to find a bargain. The other place is Jubilee Hall, which can be a great stop. But like many places, it is hit and miss. But I have made some really good buys here and it only takes a few minutes, so don’t skip this one. The shop is actually located just out of town on the road to Burford, which is where we are headed after this stop.
We sometimes make one stop in Burford if you are looking for antique furniture. It is located on the round-a-bout just as you come into town, although we don’t actually go into Burford. They are a little pricey, but they will deal if they know you are serious. I might add here, many antique dealers in England will not discount like they will here in the states, but others will. It can be an art in negotiating, but will save that for another article. But have to share a rather funny story. Even though we share the English language with our UK friends, anyone who has visited there knows there are a lot of differences. When my wife was negotiating to get the best price on something, many times the dealer will say, “Go on, now.” That meant they had accepted her offer, but she thought she had offended them and they literally meant, “Go on!” So she would walk away and go on. I am sure they thought there goes another crazy Yank.
From Burford we head to Stow-on-the-Wold. I might add that the drive between all of these places is a short drive. We only allowed two days of shopping in the Cotswolds because we are there only for antique shopping. A favorite stop here is Durham House Antiques which is run by a couple of Americans from Dallas. So obviously they are used to dealing with Americans. This shop has a good variety of items. There is one other good stop here, but sorry, can’t remember the name. Ask the people in Durham House which mall has all the dealers who relocated from Camden Passage in London. If you have more time there are several other shops here. But we were on a shop till you drop pace to get to Nottinghamshire which is our main base for shopping my two favorite places to buy antiques in England.
Our last stop is Moreton-in-Marsh which has several shops, including one pretty good mall. This is another one of those hit or miss stops where you may find several things or none at all. If you have time you can also visit the Station Mill Antique Center at Chipping Morton. Another stop here is The Quiet Woman, where some of our dealers have made some good buys.
Where to Stay When Buying Antiques In the Cotswolds
I feel I need to give some guidelines on some places to stay in the Cotswolds. If you are on a limited budget or had rather spend your money buying antiques rather than on hotel accommodations, you need to check out the Travelodge hotel chain. They have clean comfortable rooms and beds at very reasonable prices, as cheap as 19 pounds a night if you book well in advance. On the other hand if you want to experience the charm of the Cotswolds there are some wonderful hotels and bed & breakfasts in the area. If you are planning on traveling in the summer months, especially August, be sure and book you accommodations as early as possible.
If you are going to England to shop for antiques, I hope you found this article helpful and wish you well on finding some great antiques in the Cotswolds.