The Frome Independent, Frome, Somerset

Alice Roberton heads to an eclectic market that takes over the town

Alice Roberton heads to an eclectic market that takes over the town

On the first Sunday of every month The Frome Independent transforms the town centre into a giant market hosting a broad variety of traders. With areas dedicated to vintage and antique homewares and fashions, artisan food, wines, ciders and crafts, it really does live up to its claim of being 'more than a market'. The event takes over the marketplace, shopping arcade and several winding streets, including Catherine Hill, which is renowned for its excellent vintage shops.

The Roberts family (left to right, Anastasia, Angharad, Anette and Gavin) had heard great things about the market so made a day trip from Devon to seek inspiration for their home, an 1850s innkeepers lodge. ‘We love shopping together for our home. Everyone has a say in how it is styled so it’s quite eclectic,’ said Anette.

The market has a great atmosphere and offers plenty for everyone of all ages, from the spontaneous buyer to the dedicated antiques hunter. 

There was an abundance of interest for the younger collectors too, with a great selection of tin toys, old books, cars, games, dolls, teddy bears and marbles.

Traders Lou and Ade Watkins who run The Ark from their home in Charmouth, Dorset, brought a bit of the coastal summer with them in the form of cheery deck chairs, picnic sets and retro luggage. The pair said they love the boldness of 1940s and 1950s design.

Caroline Sloan, who lives in Frome, always has a stall at the market and was doing a roaring trade in Hawaiian shirts when I popped by to say hello. When Caroline, who is Annie Sloan’s cousin, isn’t trading at fairs she works as a decorative painter. It must run in the family!

Manager of local design shop Emporio La Strada Beth Reeves (right) and her fashion designer friend Truly Sopel were enjoying a browse in the gorgeous weather. Beth picked up a blue and white Chinese porcelain ginger jar, adapted as a lamp, to illuminate her collection of matching vases.

It was nice to see Adele Kammeyer, whose stand always looks fabulous, and great to hear that she’s fulfilled her ambition of opening a shop. You can find her trading as Number Ten Interiors in Warminster’s Silver Street.

I took a stroll up Catherine Hill only to be stopped in my tracks by the delicious tastes of Pavla Kislerova’s foraged food creations. The wild garlic pesto and hedgerow jam were both delicious. Beyond the distractions of food, the ‘suitcase sale’ on the hill boasts jewellers, potters, card makers, knitters and the like all peddling their wares out of suitcases, prams or wheelbarrows. What a charming area of the market to stumble upon.

This is where H&A will be popping up throughout the country during the next few weeks. 


Sunday 20th, 9.30am - 4pm Shepton Giant Flea & Collectors Market, The Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6QN

Sunday 20th, 10am-4pm - Oyster & Pearl Vintage Fair, Umbrella Centre, St. Mary's Hall, Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1DD

Sunday 20th, 11am-4pm - My little Vintage at Bosworths Garden Centre, Finedon Road, Burton Latimer, Northants, NN15 5QA


Saturday 16th, 10am-4pm - The Cotswolds Vintage Fair, Toddington Village Hall, Stow Road, Toddington, Gloucestershire, GL54 5DU

Saturday 23rd, 11am-5pm - Antiques On The Green - The Summer Country Brocante, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, RH14 0DU

Selina Lake’s Handmade & Vintage Summer Fete, Guildford
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