Ardingly International Antiques & Collectors Fair, South of England Showground, West Sussex

Two days of welcome sunshine and exciting buys at the south’s largest antiques fair 

Two days of welcome sunshine and exciting buys at the south’s largest antiques fair 

When Ardingly organisers IACF boldly describe this regular fair as ‘a truly cosmopolitan antiques event’, they’re not wrong. Spread across acres of prime showground a short journey from London, this is a comprehensive shopping experience, with traders and visitors piling in for the two day event from all over the world. 

Savvy homemakers, stylists and those in the know pick over the cream of the crop in British, European and worldwide antiques from all eras. Just wandering the endless avenues gives you a buzz, especially when the sun decides to shine.

Katie Grassby is style director at clothing company White Stuff while Lou Burnett is head of interiors. Both were out hunting for props for their ninety UK shops and a handful of newly opened international stores. Among their finds was a battered blue reclaimed airline storage box bought from industial furnishers Paul & Lucy Vintage, a Dutch sage green bread bin and a vintage suitcase.

It was great to meet Georgia Dorey, our featured VIP in the April issue, who is head of textiles at LASSCO Ropewalk in Bermondsey, an expansive and hip architectural salvage warehouse. ‘I’ve picked-up some printed textiles to make-up into aprons and some French linen nightshirts to re-purpose as cushion covers,’ she said.

Another textile-aholic is Estelle Lordonne, designer and owner of Suicide Blonde in London. Estelle is a regular Ardingly visitor who comes to pick up unusual pieces of lace, tapestry and trimmings for her collection of leatherwear and jewellery. Meanwhile, Sean Liu comes to rummage the homewares. They say they never go home disappointed!

For some, Ardingly is all about the spontaneous purchase. Michelle of Found Country Antiques came away with a door which she is yet to decide what to do with! ‘I just love the colour and the time-aged look of it so I couldn’t resist. It might make a great tabletop,’ she said. Her friend Sarah Fane bought a little folding table and a painted drying rack for her home.

It was lovely to be visited by lots of H&A readers such as Kathy Grace (middle) and her daughters Holly (left) and Bryony (right). Holly bought a chair from the H&A stand, which featured in our Upcycling special edition, for her flat in Bristol, while her mother and sister picked up smaller bits for their home.

H&A subscriber Caroline Cox has a stall in the Lewes Antiques Centre selling linens, china and all manner of what she describes as ‘industrial chic’. This striking pair of pendant lights will be heading home with her for re-sale.

I loved the staircase dotted with potted flowers and gnomes on French trader Gaelle Jezequel’s G’z Bad Boys Antiques stand. It’s no wonder that everything on her stand was beautifully presented: she’s got it down to a fine art as she does around fifty-five fairs a year. She attracts buyers such as Ralph Lauren who regularly purchase window display pieces from her.

The next Ardingly fair takes place 17th-18th June.

Here is where H&A will be throughout the country over the next few weeks.

And, don't miss The Decorative Living Fair on 8th May. This is an H&A sponsored event where we'll have a stand selling magazines and subscriptions as well as hosting talks by our stylist Kiera Buckley-Jones, The Great Interior Design Challenge winner Sarah Moore, stylist and author Selina Lake and fair organiser and queen of embroidery Caroline Zoob. Advance tickets available at


Saturday 3rd, 10am-4pm - The Art of Vintique, Great Barrington Village Hall, Nr Burford, OX18 4TB

Sunday 4th & Monday 5th, 8.30am-4pm - Antiques, Collectors & Vintage Weekend - Southwell Racecourse, Station Road, Rolleston, Southwell, Notts, NG25 0TS

Thursday 8th, 9.30am-5.30pm - The Decorative Living Fair, Eridge Park , Eridge Green, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 9JT 

Saturday 10th, 11am-4pm - Cuckfield Vintage Emporium, Queens Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, RH17 5EL

Saturday 10th, 11am-4pm - Northampton Vintage Fair & Vintage Market, St Matthews Parish Centre, 27a The Drive, Northampton, NN1 4RY

Sunday 11th, 9.30am-3.30pm - Shabbytique Pop Up, Waddesdon Village Hall, High St, Waddesdon, Bucks, HP18 0JE

Saturday 17th, 10am-4pm - The Country Brocante Decorative Antiques & Country Home Fair, Wisborough Green Village Hall, School Road, West Sussex, RH14 0DU

Saturday 17th, 10am-4pm - My Little Vintage, Nene Court, The Embankment, Wellingborough, NN8 1DL

Sunday 18th, 11am-4pm - Crystal Palace Antique & Collectors Fayre, Phoenix Centre, 66 Westow Street, London, SE19 3AF

Sunday 18th, 10am-4pm - Hinckley Vintage Fair, The Meeting Rooms, Marchant Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 OLQ 

Saturday 31st, 11am-4pm - Stamford Vintage Fair, Stamford Arts Centre, 27 St Mary's Street, Stamford, PE9 2DL

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