The Thrill of the Hunt
Think antiques-lover’s paradise and you think of London. But how and where do the umpteen antiques dealers that fill the stalls and stores of Portobello and Camden Passage replenish their stock? Newark’s Antique Show, open to the public, is Europe’s largest, filling an 86-acre showground with up to 4,000 indoor and outdoor vendors’ stands.
Antiques hunters will find the two-day fair (held six times yearly) both a joy and an endurance test: the stalls stretch to infinity and parking can be a nightmare. Sellers arrive from all over Great Britain and Europe, attracting buyers and the merely curious from all over the world. Most dealers are savvy merchants and fantastic deals are not likely though by no means impossible.
The early bird axiom here is all important: the shows are held Monday and Tuesday, with a substantially higher admission fee for Monday (those arriving Tuesday morning before gates open at 8 A.M. might still happen upon a choice worm). In addition to the hope of the ultimate find, the crowds come for the enormous range and variety.
Those with little intention to buy will enjoy this as an enormous cultural outing. Since the British traveled so extensively during colonial days, shopping in England is like shopping the world.