Treasure Hunting at Ardingly Antiques Fair

November 30, 2016

A couple of weeks back now, before our jaunt to the Seychelles, we got up early and headed to the IACF {international antiques collectors fair} at Ardingly in Sussex hunting for new finds for the house. It's the biggest antiques market in the South of England and we were so excited to go treasure hunting!

We normally stick to our beloved Kempton antiques market {posts here and here} that we feel we know so well. The routine, the sellers, the layout but we were excited to try new territory. We read up and found that the gates opened at 9am so we battled the m25 and drove down. Kempton is free entry so we hoped it would be worth paying the £20 per person for a ticket at Ardingly and driving for an extra hour to get there. {You can visit on the second day for £5 instead of £20 but I feel like the good stuff would have all been bought on the first day??} In short, it was good to try it out and there was some really incredible treasure there, but I think we'll stick to Kempton for the time being purely for the travel time and price. 

That being said though we're happiest when looking at old junk trying to decide what we could give a new home and it was heaven walking around it all.

There was a real mixture there, mainly old antiques but some new from stock sellers too. 

I always love things that are brought over from Europe to buy. Our dream someday is to take a van to France for a few weeks, stopping at all the brocantes and markets. We recognised a few of the sellers we normally see at Kempton but most were new to us.

The show ground that it's set on is huge and we could have spent all day walking around the different stalls - there were so many. It felt about 5 times the size of Kempton. The general rule is that if you see something you love, buy it straight away. Things do get snapped up here and there are a lot of dealers buying. Prices were generally good but have an idea in mind at what you'd want to pay for something. We've got to know rough prices over the years and as such try and only spot bargains unless it's something really special.

The other problem is getting things home! If you've got a van then take it. We just took our car, I mean we could have hired a van but it's hard to know in advance if you're going to find loads that you really love. It adds to the cost of it all. We had filled the car and had to drive back with the boot open slightly! 

We bought some more antlers {such a bargain} and the settle bench below for our new kitchen. 

I think I said on my Instagram the day that we got home from there that you just can't buy the kind of furniture you'll truly love at Ikea or the like. Ben and I laughed at our adventures and just how many Ebay and antiques missions we've been on over the years. As we struggled to lift the Hungarian kitchen bench we bought that day we thought about all of our furniture with a story, how it will be loved and how many family dinner and Christmasses over the next 5/10/20 years it will feature in. 

It started off sunny and clear but a couple of hours later the fog rolled in and we were freezing. Knowing that the car was nearly full we headed home around lunchtime vowing to maybe return in the Spring/Summer next year. 

We'd also bought some rusty plant supports for the garden, a cute little chair {under the towels in this pic}, hooks, a couple of big glass jars, another sleigh for our second christmas tree {bargain £10!} and I couldn't resist another pair of ice skates to add to the collection. 

Now to get the extension finished and find homes for all the new bits! You may spot the sleigh and ice skates on my Insta feed in our hallway already though...

Do you love hunting for treasure too? You just can't beat the old stuff. 

R <3 xx 

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  1. Love this write up thanks! I hope it's not cheeky to ask but what did you pay for the settle and the antler - hoping to go to Kempton for these but no idea of the kind of prices they go for. Do you haggle? I've always been useless at it!

    1. I was wondering the exact same thing! The only thing that puts me off buying from fairs is that I have no idea what to pitch for a price, or what's unreasonable/reasonable when it comes to haggling. :) Any tips please? (or is it a post you'd ever write!)? :) Flora x

    2. Hi Amelia and Flora. Not cheeky at all. I should have added that in to the post. For the antlers we paid £4 each for the small ones and £40 for a larger set. The settle we paid £150. You can get an idea by walking around and asking other sellers with similar things how much they are. And also if you knock them down on price and walk away see if they're bothered about reducing the price or not. Prices tend to be fair at the antiques fairs, they're not interested in selling loads of bargains x

  2. Thanks so much! Great to have an idea! Such great info! x

  3. Such a great post! I have been DYING to go to the Ardingly Antiques fair but work full time and can never get the time off. Curious to know whether you fit the settle bench in your car?? ;) or do they offer a delivery service there? If they do, do you know how much it is to deliver your finds? This info would help me persuade the other half to take time off and come with me! haha

    Love your blog Rebecca,

    Fifi x

    1. forgot to click to notify me any replies so posting again :)


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