Whenever we leave London for a countryside adventure we make it a priority to visit car boot sales – there is nothing like scrabbling around a windy field in someone else’s rural junk. It is such a different kind of cast off, there is more tweed and wool and much less “Yes, it is VINTAGE, dahlink.”
But I love the fact that we have so many local London sales – we can spend every minute of every weekend rooting around other people’s dusty possessions if we want (we do want.)
London’s car boot scene is pretty diverse – if you are after something pretty special for a gift those “vintage, dahlink” ones are perfect. Equally though, there are a good crowd of car boots where “vintage” still simply means “really old, noone will want this, put 10p on it” – you might have to search harder but amidst the 6 months out-of-date packets of crisps and plastic toys they’ll be some hidden gems.
Battersea and Wimbledon are well known, but there are others that don’t get much of a shout-out. Always the promoter of the underdog, here are a few others; car boot sales which I reckon are the best. London’s top five!
5- Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, East Dulwich
This is only a small one but it has a great starting time (11am) and is very close to East Dulwich train station, a ten minute ride from Victoria. It is my local so I pop up there often and have found some seriously great stuff. It is worth going to even if you aren’t local because then you can nip down to Lordship Lane and rummage in the vintage boutiques and charity shops and grab a beautiful lunch in the Deli or the many independent cafes. Sundays, 50p Entry, Edgar Kail Way, SE22 8BD
4- Old Kent Road Car Boot Sale, South London
This is run by the same people as East Dulwich, but is brand new. It is a little harder to get to – about a 20 minute walk from New Cross Gate station or South Bermondsey. It gets to number 4 as I got some TOTAL BARGAINS there last time. I spent about a fiver and got a beautiful quilt, a Peppa Pig toy for Ramona, a vintage parasol and a few knick knacks. I was 40 weeks pregnant and on my bike and had to use various bits of string to tie it all on my back. I had quite a few gawkers on my way home HA! It is a nice and early one - one to sneak in before you head off on another Sunday adventure. Sundays, 50p entry 8.00am – THE CLUB, Hornshay Street, SE15 1HB
3- The one at your local school.
YES! YOUR local school! Once a term schools will often have a fair and these can be the absolute BEST places to nab a steal. Why traipse around London when you can nip around the corner and have a rummage? The only setback is that you kind of need to keep your eyes peeled for signage or keep in touch with the local paper to hear about it. Worth it though.
2- Capital Car Boot, Pimlico
Capital Car Boot is a car boot sale that has entered 2013, unlike nearly every single other which tends to be happily settled in the 1970′s, free from most marketing and online presence. Pimlico’s car boot is full of hipsters and gorgeous vintage stuff, but there are great deals to be had particualry compared to normal vintage boutiques. They are in second position because I have spent WAY TOO LONG poking through hedges trying to find elusive car boots that are meant to be on and aren’t and there is no info to be found about it. This one pretty much goes rain or shine and you can find them all over the web. Sundays, Pimlico Academy, Lupus St, SW1V 3AT. £1 from 1pm.
1- Hayes Street Farm, Hayes
This has all the bonuses of a rural car boot yet is only 40 minutes on a train from London Bridge – you can even use your Oyster. From the station it is a ten minute walk, whereupon you will find a MAHUSIVE field filled with country folk and city slickers and the most fabulous array of cheap, cheap knick knacks. It is my favourite London Car Boot fair by about a million and I’d say 50% of all of my booty has come from here. 50p entry from 6am, although I have been at 9 before and got some ace swag. 239 Hayes Lane, BR2 7LB. Get there on the double!!
If you are not in London check out Car Boot Junction for other sales – but remember to call to see it is going ahead.
Part of the beauty of car boot sales, of course, is their hit and miss nature. You just never know if you are going to strike gold or spend a morning in the cold and come out with NADA. Isn’t it this exact thing that makes them so tantalising?! So now, all I can do is give you my faves, but from here you are on your own. I wish you all the bargain-busting luck in the world, my friends. Go well.
What are you favourite London Car Boot sales?