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Thrift stores and flea markets in London

by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Hello guys :) I'm visiting London with my family (2 small girls) in May. I would really appreciate your help with my questions about vintage/thrift store shopping in London. This is really important for me since this is one of the major activities that I'll be doing while there.

To give you a background, I am mostly interested in small vintage/antique items like cameras, small signs, small sized suitcases, tins etc. Basically, I am looking for things that are easy to carry when I get home and are affordable.

I've heard of Camden market (and other markets) but I really don't what can I buy from there. Could you please advise?

Notting Hill and Portobello Market of course but I heard the antique market opens only in Saturday. The shops are open 6 days a week but do they sell vintage items too? Or only during Saturdays?

There is this Cliffe Antiques Centre outside (?) London and they say it's much cheaper there than Portobello. Is it very far? And since I am only buying small scale items, Is it worth going to this place even if there are lots of other vintage/antique shops in London.

Lastly, could you please recommend or sugget a good thrift store, flea market or vintage shops in London.

Thanks so much guys and I really appreciate your time and help.

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10 Answers
  • dongix's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Oh and one last thing, by vintage, I don't mean vintage clothing/fashion that is usually associated with that word these days. Typewriters, radios, record players, vinyls, signs, cameras, suitcases, etc. are the sort of things I am interested in. Thanks again.

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  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by Britannia2 Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Cliffe Antique Centre is in Lewes, West Sussex. You take a train from Victoria main line station - there are direct trains at 22 and 52 minutes past the hour through the day. Journey time is 1 hour 5 minutes.Do not buy standard tickets - buy a Southern Day Saver ticket for £24 and you and your family can travel to Lewes for just £24. You must leave Victoria after 10.00 though.

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  • dongix's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Hello Colin:) Thanks so much for your reply. It is very helpful - especially that you gave me an idea as how long is the travel for. I guess I will just have to forgo Cliffe then as I only need small things.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by gwened Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    well not been in them but this site usually is pretty good
    timeout.com/london/shopping/...

    and this one claims to be the guide lol!

    thevintageguidetolondon.com/...

    hope it helps your planning

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  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by Britannia2 Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Well Lewes is famous for its antique shops so you may be lucky and find small items too. Its also a nice town and quite a pleasant ride out from London on the train as well as been a very nice town with a castle.4
    I have never been to Portobello Monday to Friday but there are thousands of antiques on sale on Saturdays and Sundays. As for affordable...all I can say is that some of the prices are possibly on the high side for someone like me from an area of England where prices are much lower but I think you can haggle. Portobello is much better than Camden Market but thinking about things despite the £24 rail fare Lewes may offer a better more affordable option.

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  • dongix's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Hello Gwened. Thanks for providing the links. That should be useful.

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  • dongix's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Hi Colin, Thanks for the follow-up reply. Hmm did you say a lovely town with a castle. I guess, I'm going to consider that. Thanks again for all the info.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Here's a nice summary of the markets in London, I would recommend checking out Camden before Portobello Road but we usually visit both. Camden is huge, there are a lot of different sections to the market.

    streetsensation.co.uk/market...

    Portobello is best visited on Saturday, that is when the market is the most active. Camden can be visited on either Saturday or Sunday, Sunday seems to be the busier day. Both of them are open during the week to a more limited extent but their main days are on the weekend.

    Portobello's antique section is closer to the Notting Hill Gate side of the market, as you go through the antiques will turn into food and then the junkier section of the market (souvenirs, used clothes etc)

    http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/

    Bermondsey is another market you might want to look at, I believe it's just Friday. That's more antiques

    This will give you an idea of what's at Camden, there are several different sections to the market, some outdoors, some indoors

    http://www.camdenlock.net/

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I misread post of your post, if it's not vintage clothing you are after, try Portobello 1st, Bermondsey 2nd and then Camden. I found their antique section to be rather small but I think it's the most fun market for just wandering around. The antique section at Portobello is very large but it's also the most touristy of the markets which equates into higher prices. Coming from a place with an unfavorable exchange rate I rarely buy anything

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  • dongix's Profile Photo

    Re: Thrift stores and flea markets in London

    by dongix Online Now Feb 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Hello Kristi, thanks so much for the tips. They're very helpful.

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