A cornucopia, an aladdin’s cave, a treasure trove... however you describe Sunbury Antiques Market, if you’re in the business of restaurant interiors, we can’t recommend it highly enough.
Much as we’d like to jealously guard the source of the retro and often bizarre items we’ve used to decorate restaurants like Ham Holy Burger, we reckon this market is a secret too good not to share. Running every second Tuesday at Kempton Park Racecourse the market attracts more than 700 traders who offer a vast range of antique goods ranging from furniture, ceramics and kitchenalia to silverware, clocks, paintings and jewellery.
Admittedly the style is more Steptoe and Son than Sotheby’s but that’s what makes it so special. Many of the stallholders are real characters as eccentric and frayed at the edges as the bric a brac they’re selling and a big part of the fun here is the inevitable good-natured haggling with them. Most traders are wily enough to spot a novice buyer several vintage yard of ale glasses away – so keep your wits, and your wad, about you.
We suggest you have a clear idea of what you’ve come to buy and to stick to your plan. Otherwise, instead of that set of naturally distressed 1950s bar stools you had your eye on, you may find yourself driving home with a bootload of antique cobblers’ lasts you were coaxed into buying by a woman who wouldn’t look out of place in a Dickens novel.
With a plethora of eye-catching gems at every turn it’s easy to be tempted and led astray from your original mission, so just remember all that glitters isn’t gold – especially when it’s glittering between a chipped plastercast bust of Napolean and a moth-eaten stuffed magpie. Take a pre-determined amount of cash with you and don’t go back to the dispenser is our advice. If your top price isn’t accepted by a seller, walk away. Return a short while later and offer again – traders often bite the second time because they recognise a kindred spirit with astute bartering acumen.
For various interior projects we’ve been involved in, Sunbury Antiques Market has never disappointed as a source of quirky objects and furniture with which to add unique character to a space.
Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, an entertaining day out is guaranteed.