Car boot entertainment: swing dancing in Brixton

It was a soggy Saturday afternoon in Brixton when we came across the Swingland dancers on the site of the Brixton flea market and car boot. Instead of wandering off back towards the foody fun of Brixton Village (hello, Franco Manca pizza), we got sucked in by the skills and enthusiasm on show.

Handily, the dancers were doing their thing right next to the cake stalls who’d been partaking in the Brixton Bake Off that day. So, not only did we stand around gawping at the fleet of foot, we also ended up buying cake. Twice.

Now, you’re probably not going to be able to hire a dance troupe for every car boot you park in – though lucky you, if so! But you can easily bake a few cakes to lure in hungry customers, and they’ll hopefully end up admiring your wares as well as your baking skills. Check out carbooted’s guide to what you need to do before you sell food at car boot sales here.

If baking’s not your thing, then there’s another easy way to get the attention of passers-by: music. A battery-powered radio is your friend here, and you’ll be especially popular if you happen to be tuned into live commentary when there’s a big game on. This stylish Roberts model is only £17.30 from John Lewis.

Brixton car boot sales are held every Sunday from 7am.

Helen Lawson


What you need to do before you sell food at a car boot sale

Cakes and biscuits are cheap to make and always popular with buyers. Carbooted headed to pop up market The Big Brixton Bake Off to get the low down on what you need to do before you start selling homemade food.

The Big Brixton Bake Off

1. Check whether you need to register your kitchen

To register your kitchen you need to contact your local council – don’t worry, it’s not much hassle – it’s free to do and they’re obligated to accept your request.

If you’re planning a one off bake sale you should be okay without registering, but if you’re planning on making a bit of extra cash by selling food once a month you’ll need to register.

Barbs was selling vegan cakes at The Big Brixton Bake Off. What type of cakes would suit your target audience?

2. Decide who your target audience is

Which car boot are you selling at? In some areas people might only buy organic cakes, in others it might be all about the glitter and colourful icing. Is it worth heading to a car boot in a more affluent area so that you can sell your food for a larger profit?

3. Do a course in food hygiene

Professional caterers have hygiene qualifications so follow their lead. You don’t want to get a reputation for making customers sick. Check out local colleges; lots run night courses in health and safety for kitchens.

This toffee banoffee cake from The Big Brixton Bake Off had to be eaten on the day so was served on a paper plate with a fork

4. Work out what packaging to use

Will people be eating your produce at the car boot sale or be taking it home? Does your packaging need to be pretty or functional? Packaging can be an expensive extra cost but places like Costco and Macro sell it in bulk.

Check whether the packaging you choose fits in with your local council’s legislation before you buy it though – some have strict rules on the chemicals used to make it.

5. Practice!

Make sure you’re selling the best possible produce on your stall by testing out your cooking skills on your family first!

What are your tips?

Kate Lloyd