When we are in England, we plan our trips around the ASFairs (Arthur Swallow Fairs) and IACF (International Antiques and Collectors Fairs). They are usually held during the same week. Then, we take a look at other fairs that coincide with them, either the week before or after. Our trip in October was preceded by a fair at the East of England Showground-Peterborough Arena called the Peterborough Festival of Antiques. Less than an hour and a half south of Lincoln, we decided to add this fair to our itinerary.
The Peterborough Festival of Antiques is advertised as one of the largest Antique Fairs in England and is held twice a year in March and October. It is a well-organized fair in super facilities with 1700 stall holders. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Fairs of this magnitude offer the best opportunity for those in the trade to shop for bargains. While we enjoy shopping in individual stores and centres, we find the majority of our inventory at the big fairs.
We lucked out with the weather. England was having a wonderful Indian summer and the temperatures were warm and no rain clouds in sight. We paid extra to get in early on the Friday. We were in line by 6:30 a.m. and considering that we were sleep deprived (less than 8 hours during a 48 hour period); we were ready for the gates to open at 7:00.
We learned that there are several large buildings and outdoor pitches. Since the weather was cooperating, we decided to shop outdoors first. We hunted for bargains amid the rows of tents and pitches. We found French, English, and German items. We bought well. And we weren’t the only ones. As we carried our bags out to car numerous times, we saw lots of shoppers doing the same. As usual, we played leap frog around television crews filming game shows/reality shows. They are very polite, but often in the way. And we try desperately to stay far away from the television cameras.
By the end of the day, we were exhausted and tired of all the walking and carrying. Our shipper was not with us and, boy, did we miss him. We had not even been in any of the buildings. We changed up our plans on Saturday, so we could come back the next day and shop some more. We are dedicated!
At the end of day one, we ate at The Cuckoo in Alwalton. It’s a country pub and restaurant. There’s nothing quite like a pint of Cider and a loaf of homemade artisan bread at the end of a long day of shopping.
We highly recommend the Festival of Antiques at Peterborough. Check out their website at http://www.festivalofantiques.co.uk/