Kempton Antiques Market courtesy of Edward Cruttenden

As lockdown eases, outdoor markets and fairs are beginning to open up and right now they represent the best way to have a day out, safely browse and pick up a bargain. Here’s a round-up of what’s going on in the next few weeks and months.

Antiques & Interiors

Kempton Antiques Market Colourful Chairs

Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Racecourse – an old favourite with interior designers, prop buyers and set dressers, Kempton began its life forty years ago and now attracts around 700 traders from all over the country and many from the Continent. There is always a wide range of goods on offer including furniture, ceramics and paintings, gold, silver and glass, kitchen and garden wares and vintage fashion. The market reopened on 13th April with about 300 stalls to allow for social distancing and this number will gradually increase as capacity allows. A new staggered charging system has been introduced in line with government advice: 6.30am-8.30am: £10, 8.30am-10.00am: £5, 10.00am onwards: free. Kempton market takes place on the second and last Tuesday of every month. Regular trains from London serve the market and parking is free. For the moment the market is an outdoor only event, although the Silver Ring stand is open. Test and trace will be operating and masks are encouraged.

Kempton Antiques Market China

Sandown Antiques Home & Interiors Fair – an expansion of the long-running Kempton market launched in 2017, Sandown dates are usually Sundays and occasionally Tuesdays. It is re-opening on Sunday 30th May (subject to restrictions) 10am-3pm and there is often live jazz and Pimms, making for a relaxed weekend vibe.

Wimbledon Homes & Antiques Fair – a relatively new event in its second year, Wimbledon attracts 200 stallholders selling antiques for the house and garden, vintage fashion, furniture and paintings, it has already proven very popular between lockdowns. Located at Prince George Playing Field, Bushey Road in Raynes Park (SW20 8TE), opening hours are 10am-3pm and admission is £1. The Wimbledon Fair opened up again on 18th April and future dates (subject to restrictions) are planned for 2nd May, 13th June, 4th July, 1st August and 5th September.

Kempton Market Glass Jars

Ardingley International Antiques & Collectors Market is the largest in the South of England and regularly attracts up to 1,700 stallholders from all around the UK and beyond. Located in West Sussex, an hour from London and 30 minutes from Brighton, it has both indoor and outdoor stands and takes place midweek over two days. The next event is Tuesday 22nd (9am-5pm)— Wednesday 23rd June. (8am-4pm) Track and Trace will be in operation and prices are £20 on Tuesday and £5 on Wednesday.

The Country Brocante Summer Fair – billed as a celebration of country living, this fair has shopping, food and workshops on offer. Here you will find independent creatives, designers and makers with an emphasis on English country house interiors and antiques, as well as vintage French furniture and textiles, artisans and artists. Friday 25th June – early bird/trade entrance £20 9am-10am, standard entrance 10am-4pm £8.50. Saturday 26th June Standard entrance 10am-4pm £8.50. Under 16s free. Located in the West Sussex countryside at The Meadows, Loxwood, West Sussex RH14 0AL. There is also a Harvest Fair run by the same organisation at Daylesford Organic Farm, Gloucestershire on Saturday 18th September.

Flowers:

Columbia Road Flower Market, 8am-3pm, Sundays – A visit to Columbia Road is a real treat and you don’t have to be a huge flower lover to enjoy it, though that helps. One of London’s most vibrant markets, traders fill the narrow street with stunning displays of cut flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. It is always packed so if you want to avoid the crowds, arrive early. Behind the stalls are a mixture of independent shops – selling pottery, glassware, jewellery and all things house and garden. There are also quirky cafes and independent food outlets alongside interesting galleries. Live music from on-street buskers adds to the ambiance.

Chiswick Flower Market – conceived pre-covid by locals as a community enterprise in 2019, this market was billed as West London’s answer to Columbia Road and despite the challenges of 2020, they managed to launch three pilot markets which proved very popular – quite possibly precisely because the epidemic had us wanting to bring nature into our houses and improve our gardens. The plan is to hold the next market on Sunday 2nd May (9.30am-3pm) and available produce will include cut flowers, houseplants and dried flowers as well as seeds, bulbs, pots and gardening equipment and accessories.

Chelsea Flower Show, Photo by Anna Ainscough

Chelsea Flower Show, 21-26 September (8am-8pm Tuesday to Saturday, 8-5pm Sunday) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea – for the first time in its 108 year history, the greatest flower show on earth has moved its dates from May to September. Always compelling, this year’s event is fast-becoming more of a ‘must see’ than ever, as there’s much excitement about how the world’s best garden designers and horticulturalists will show off their skills using an autumn plant palette. The light will be different and so will the atmosphere, can’t wait!

Incidentally, if you’re likely to miss all the usual Chelsea razzamatazz mid-May, the RHS are bringing back their Virtual Chelsea show from 17-21 May. Launched last year in the middle of the pandemic, it offers inspiration and advice from designers, peeks into celebrity gardens and a little foretaste of what’s to come in September.

Hampton Court Garden Festival Tuesday 6th – Sunday 11th July, RHS members only the first two days, 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-5pm. Inspirational show gardens, workshops and talks on gardening, floristry and design, food, health and wellbeing. Trade stands offering everything from gardening accessories and tools to homewares and artisan crafts.

New Covent Garden Market – Not strictly outdoors but open none-the-less, selling cut flowers, fruit and veg as well as plants and garden accessories. 4:00-10:00am, Monday to Saturday. Most wholesalers close at 10:00 but some, mainly plant and sundries wholesalers, are open till 12:00. Closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

Food and Drink

Foodies Festival, Syon Park, 20-22 August — food, drink and wellbeing. Masterclasses, talks and tastings with Michelin star chefs and Masterchef winners alongside live music from Sophie Ellis-Bextor and others. Similar festivals by the same organisers in Winchester, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and other locations across the country, details here.

Pub in the Park, top chefs, Tom Kerridge and friends and headlining musicians (such as Toploader, Roland Gift and Gabrielle) combine with artisan food producers to offer a weekend of food, drink and music, complete with cooking demos, pop up champagne bars and a shopping village. Dulwich 25-27 June, Chiswick, 3-5 September and a host of other venues throughout the summer – see here for details.

Local Farmers’ Markets:

Thames Ditton, held on the fourth Saturday of the month, starting on 24th April.

Barnes, Essex House, Barnes Village, SW13, Saturdays 10am-2pm.

Richmond Duck Pond Market, Heron Square, Richmond, TW9, Saturdays and some Sundays 11am-4pm.

Twickenham, Holly Road car park (behind M&S), TW1, Saturdays 9am-1pm.

Wimbledon, Wimbledon Primary School, Havana Road, SW19, Saturdays 9am-1pm.

Venn Street, Clapham Common, SW4, Saturdays 10am-4pm.

Arts & Crafts:

Artwave is an annual festival of artists and makers from Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven and the surrounding villages. It has been an annual event since 1993 and is a chance to discover new work, meet artists and makers, and buy directly from them, often in their own homes. The trail takes in a range of work, including jewellery, painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and photography. This year’s event will take place in public venues rather than in artists’ homes and the dates are 11-26 September.

Sussex Art Fair takes place at Goodwood Racecourse, Selhurst Park Road, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0PS on the weekend of 2-4th July. n the heart of the Sussex Downs. More than 100 exhibitors with 1000’s of artworks available for purchase from £50. Tickets £7.20 – £14.40.

Whichever of these takes your fancy, expect the following protocols to be in place in one form or another:

  • Socially distanced queueing systems at the entrance gates and at key points e.g. catering areas;
  • Extra parking/park and ride;
  • Changes to layouts and expertise in crowd management to avoid build up in popular areas;
  • Enhanced cleaning regime and waste disposal;
  • Hand sanitiser available to staff and visitors at strategic points;
  • Cashless transactions where possible;
  • Track and trace check-in as per the guidance.

Details are accurate at time at publication but subject to change as circumstances dictate.

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