Antique collectors, enthusiasts and holidaymakers from Sussex and beyond gather every year to embrace history in a vibrant event that has been running for close to half a century. The Ardingly Antiques Fair, based at the South of England Showground, has attracted a reputation as one of the biggest and most vibrant events of its kind in the South East of England and has twice been voted the UK’s Best Antiques Market. With over 1700 stalls spread across six indoor halls and various outdoor stalls featuring various antiques such as vintage clothing, fine antique furniture, silver and ceramics, the fair is undoubtedly a haven for anyone looking for a truly cosmopolitan antiques event.
History of Ardingly International Antiques & Collectors Fair
The inaugural event in 1969 sprang to life as a result of the dedicated effort of one man, Harold Capener. Capener, the first of the fair organisers, was determined to establish a permanent market for regional antique dealers after having his antique shop in Brighton forcibly closed by the council. With a lack of events on the county’s antiques trade, he saw this as an opportunity to fill this gap – a vision he successfully achieved by uniting numerous local dealers to form the first of the UK antique fairs.
Over the years, Capener’s dream grew, and his event became a popular fixture in the Sussex fair calendar. As the event grew, it started to attract international visitors, including American enthusiasts, who flew in from across the globe. However, in 1998 the originator of the fair passed away, sparking one of the darkest moments of the fair’s history.
Without Capener’s direction, the fair’s social and financial aspects were uncertain. A management company later took over the reins and successfully rescued the fair from almost folding. In 2006 DMG World Media became the new fair organisers and added the International Collectors Fair to the Ardingly Antiques Fair, which has continued to boost its appeal.
Today, the fair has grown to become a carnival-like event where people from all walks of life come to explore, appraise and purchase exquisite and top quality antiques. As the fair continues to grow and even attract famous faces, its origins can never be forgotten and remain the foundation for the event’s success.
5 Perks of Ardingly International Antiques & Collectors Fair 2023
1. Discover a Treasure Trove of Antique and Vintage Treasures!
Prepare to be amazed by the vast selection of antique and vintage items at Ardingly Antique Fair. From fine antique furniture to exquisite silver pieces, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more from both local and international dealers. You will enjoy vintage shopping for top-quality antique commodes, wardrobes, chairs, tables, and beds. Plus, spruce up your home office with vintage accessories like office chairs, desks, bookcases, and decorative pieces that will add elegance and style.
2. Elevate Your Home Decor with European Gems
When it comes to high-quality European decorative items, Ardingly Antiques Fair is the place to be. Explore a world of fine antique furniture and quality European decorative items, including wall art, ornaments, garden ornaments, and metal wall art. Turn your home into a sophisticated oasis with exceptional antique artwork that will wow your guests. For exquisite antique and vintage decorative pieces, Ardingly Antiques Fair is your ultimate shopping destination.
3. An Unforgettable Mid-Week Adventure
Calling all antique enthusiasts, vintage shoppers, and professional traders! Ardingly Antiques Fair offers the perfect mid-week escape with its indoor and outdoor stands. Embark on an exciting antique hunt, indulge in vintage shopping, or explore the world of unique brocante findings. Spend hours trading and browsing through a wide range of vendors specializing in various areas. Whether you’re an interior designer looking to impress clients or a passionate antique collector, Ardingly Antiques Fair has an unparalleled selection of brocante items and antique silver that will leave a lasting impression.
4. Immerse Yourself in History
Step back in time and explore different historical periods at Ardingly Antiques Fair. From treasures of the Georgian era, featuring mirrors, furniture, and clothing, to charming Victorian antiques like dressers, chairs, and clothing, you’ll find a fascinating array of keepsakes from the past.
5. Effortless Delivery with Local Couriers
Arranging item deliveries to Ardingly Antiques Fair is a breeze with their recommended local courier service, Richard. Trust Richard to handle your delivery needs seamlessly, so you can focus on enjoying the fair without any worries or hassle.
3 Reasons to Love Antiquing
1. Unique and Quality Finds
Antiquing is about finding treasures that have a story to tell, with antique stores having items that you cannot find at your local departmental stores, with Ardingly Antiques providing one of the most diverse and intriguing collections in West Sussex, if not the most diverse of all the UK antique fairs due to the impressive number of international dealers. Whether you’re looking for fine antique furniture or a vintage dress, you are bound to find something that meets your preferences. Besides being unique, the quality of vintage items is generally superior to contemporary products of equal value as well.
2. Engage in a fun and thrilling day out with Friends and Family
Antiquing can be a little like treasure hunting, but more fun. As you wander through the aisles, you never know what you’ll discover at the next booth, creating opportunities to learn more about your loved ones and create lasting memories. Instead of spending your Saturdays binge-watching the latest TV series, why not experience the thrill and excitement of antiquing with those that you enjoy spending time with the most?
3. Support Independence and Eco-Friendly Shopping
Antiquing is both socially and environmentally responsible. When you visit antique markets, you support independent sellers who play an essential role in keeping history alive. Also, by buying second-hand items, you support the eco-friendly ethos of the `Reuse-Reduce- Recycle` movement. You’re giving these incredible items a second chance at finding a home.
By now, we’re sure you understand that this is no mere vintage street market, but a truly cosmopolitan antiques event full of top quality antiques. The Ardingly Antiques Fair has stood the test of time, and its evolution is a testament to the perseverance and passion of its originators and its managers and is undoubtedly the envy of all other UK antique fairs. So, instead of scouring the farthest corners of Sussex for treasures, why not save yourself some time and engage in an event that not only yields beautiful finds but also connects you to the history and culture of so many different places around the world with its quality European decorative items? So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to create lasting memories with friends and family, and support local communities and sustainable living while engaging in some vintage shopping. So why not get yourself down to the South of England Showground, to see for yourself?