Among the largest flea markets in England, the Peterborough Festival of Antiques offers a wide array of items, from finer porcelain, glass and silver to vintage kitchenware, gardenware and tools. Held at the East of England Showground twice a year towards the end of March and early in October, this event opened in 1999 and now attracts over 1,700 stallholders and over 15,000 visitors from all over the world to each event.
Though this is a busy and densely packed flea market, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. One gets the feeling that, for some, it represents a fun outing, a day out spent browsing the stalls and picking up something appealing to take home. While many vendors specialize in particular wares, others offer an eclectic mix, making the prospect of an interesting find at a reasonable price a strong one.
The show contains a spectacular array of antiques and collectables for sale within four permanent buildings, a variety of trade marquees and several acres of outdoor pitches. In the Main Arena, items such as jewellery, china, stamps, militaria, linen and toys, and anything old and collectable are all on display. There are also nine bays in the popular Nat West Building with stalls containing furniture, fine art, equestrian items and anything else that requires a little more space to display.
On from here is the purpose built Exhibition Hall. This huge building offers stand holders and visitors all the comforts that go with a state of the art exhibition hall. Three times the size of the Main Arena this building usually has a good mixture of ceramics and jewellery on display.
Lastly, surrounding all of the buildings are a variety outdoor pitches and trade marquees containing items from all over Europe, from architectural furniture to antique farm implements, which cover a vast area.
So be prepared to spend several hours at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques, as it will take you at least that long to get a good look at the huge variety and scope of what is on offer here.