On the Hunt at Antiques Fairs

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Six times a year, the International Antiques & Collectors Fairs (IACF) hosts the biggest antiques fair in the south of England in Ardingly, West Sussex. Having just returned from a full day of antiques hunting there, I thought I would share some tips on how to “do it like a boss” as my 8-year old son would say!


Photo credit: IACF

  1. Be prepared for all weather conditions:  Wellington boots are best in terms of footwear. Layers are recommended too, and don’t forget a waterproof top (forget umbrellas, you will need both hands free!)
  2. Pack a survival kit for the day: sunscreen, sunglasses, wipes, bottled water, mints, measuring tape and a wish list of furniture items with optimal dimensions. You may want to pack a quick lunch as well to avoid the queues and maximise your time on site.
  3. Size matters: You never know what you may come across so make sure you have maximum measurements for all those empty spots in your house so you can figure out whether or not an item is worth bargaining for.
  4. Invest in a foldable 4-wheel wagon. OTT, you think? NOT! My friend Natalie and I had Ikea bags and after a couple hours, we were literally lusting after those handy trolleys the pros were pulling down the aisles. Effortlessly cool AND practical.
  5. Haggle, haggle, haggle! One simple rule: never pay the first price you’re given. Always ask for 10-20% off, it’s expected. Also know that Ardingly attracts a lot of European sellers who favour Euros so if you have any left from your last continental holiday, take them with you. You can negotiate great deals if you pay in the seller’s preferred currency!
  6. Get social. Quite a few of the sellers are active on Instagram so look up the relevant fair hashtags to spot items they are previewing on their feeds.

Final words of advice… If you fall in love with an item, GET IT! Don’t “think about it” because you can be sure it will be gone if you ever come back for it. If you later change your mind about it, sell it on eBay. Oh, and be sure to bring a friend with you and stick to your budget! You’re guaranteed to have a smashing day out.

Happy hunting!


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