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


The Apprentice goes to the car boot

On BBC One’s The Apprentice, the task this week was to buy second hand furniture and sell it in Brick Lane. Or as one succinct young hopeful put it: “get as much crap as we can and sell it for next to nothing.”

Carbooted regulars will not need to be told that car boots are a haven for anyone looking for vintage and collectible furniture. So surely, only a bunch of idiots could fail to find anything worth buying?

“Here we are – an enormous car boot sale full of everything you can imagine,” says Alan Sugar’s aide, Nick Hewer, following one team around a car boot sale as they hunt out bargains. All the contestants have to do is pick up some choice pieces and take them Brick Lane “home to the young trendy with the gelled hair,” says Hewer.

But soon Hewer is despairing of their inability to choose anything at all.  “They’ve only bought a few items – it’s nuts!” he says.

Later on Jade Adam and Steven are seen storming round the Battersea Boot having a bit more luck. They deliberate over one item for so long that the stall holder shouts in desperation, “have it for a pound as long as you promise you’ll go away.”

For tips on what goes down well at the car boot from someone who knows what they’re talking about, watch this video.

Tom Allsop

2012 predictions week: the top five markets worth checking out this year

Hackney Homemade, Wood Street Indoor Market, Frock Me, Judy’s kilo sales, and Little Chelsea: in the latest post of our 2012 predictions week, carbooted picks out five London markets you should visit on a bargain hunt.

Frock Me and Adams Antiques Fairs

Image via McMuggins

Hackney Homemade

Every Saturday, Lower Clapton Road, E5, 10am-4pm; Every Sunday, Chatsworth Road, E5, 11am-4pm

The Hackney Homemade markets are back up and running after a well-earned Christmas break. On Saturdays you’ll find them in the garden of St John church in Hackney selling good old-fashioned bric-a-brac alongside vintage clothing and books. There’s also a good choice of world food to fill your belly as you browse. Sundays are the artier days, promising ceramics, toys, and furniture in the courtyard of an independent book shop. As the name suggests, there’s a lovely handmade ethos to the markets, and they’re clearly doing something right as Time Out named founder Jane MacIntyre one of their most influential people of 2011. We love the clear advice that their friendly and welcoming website gives for people wanting to sell their wares at the market, telling you exactly what you need to know before pitching up.

Wood Street Indoor market

Wood Street, E17

Open Monday – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 10am-5.30pm

We’re really excited to check out the goods here after organisers ran a competition to find 21 brand new shops for empty space in this Walthamstow market. The winners get three months free rent, and there’s a love-themed launch party on February 11 to say a big hello to the new kids in town. There’ll be flowers, homeware, records, costumes, and plenty of vintage to browse as well as performances in the indoor market, which used to be a cinema.

Frock Me and Adams Antique Fairs

Frock Me: Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3. Next event: Sunday 12 February, 11am-5.30pm

Adams Antique Fairs: Elverton Street, SW1P. Next event: Sunday 5 February, 10am-4.30pm

Matthew Adams runs an antique fair at the Royal Horticultural Hall as well as the fun vintage Frock Me fair in Chelsea. Frock Me is excellent for celeb spotting (Hi Kylie! Hi Kate Moss!), and the prices do get a little steep at times. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do well on a budget as you explore the range of vintage clothing, burlesque items, jewellery and accessories, and there’s a tea room to quench your thirst in retro surroundings. The antiques fair attracts 140 stallholders so you could easily spend your entire Sunday lost among some real gems.

Judy’s vintage kilo sales

Moves around! Next event: The Rag Factory, Heneage Street, E1, on Saturday 11 February, 11am-4pm

Load up on a kilo of clothing for only £15 – bargain! You’ll need your rummaging arms at the ready for this sale, run by the team behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. As well as finding your new favourite shirt, this one’s a great opportunity to get crafty as you can turn old cloth into new togs, or rework a fantastic fabric into an e-reader cover/purse/neck scarf/pillowcase…

 Little Chelsea Antiques Fair

Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3

Next event: Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 March. 3-8pm on Monday, 11am-6pm on Tuesday.

This one calls itself “the affordable antiques fair”, so it’s a great way of making your first steps into antique buying for as little as a tenner. Steer clear of the items they say could cost as much as £30,000 – unless you’ve come into some incredible good fortune – and get haggling in the surrounds of Chelsea’s Old Town Hall. Here’s a long-running fair for furnishings, porcelain, glass… You name it, it’s probably there.

Helen Lawson

2012 predictions week: the top five up-and-coming car boot sales in London

Chelsea Walk-in, Brixton Flea Market, Princess May School, Purley Indoor and William Morris: in the first post of our week of predictions for 2012, carbooted brings you the top five up-and-coming car boot sales in London.

Photo via Urban 75

The Brixton Flea Market

Station Road, SW9

Held on the first Saturday of each month, open to shoppers 10am – 4pm

Station Road was once the site of a one of London’s most popular car boot sales, attracting thousands of sellers. Since November it has become home to one of London’s newest flea markets, The Brixton Flea Market.

As well as loads of second hand bargains, there are stalls offering Jamaican, Caribbean & Guyanese street food and an American cake stall (the pumpkin pie comes highly recommended).

Chelsea Walk-in Boot Sale

Chelsea Theatre – Worlds End Place, Kings Road, Chelsea, SW10

Every Sunday, open to shoppers 1pm – 4pm

You’ve heard of drive-in cinemas; now visit the walk-in boot sale at Chelsea Theatre – no car needed. This sale will celebrate its first birthday this year and carbooted predicts it’ll go from strength to strength. Make sure you bring a rain coat if you’re selling though, because as well as no cars, there’s no shelter at all.

Don’t be put off by the up-market surroundings. Posh neighbourhoods mean expensive goods at bargain prices. Keep your eyes peeled for a pair of Spencer from Made in Chelsea’s underpants.

Princess May School Car Boot Sale

Princess May School, Princess May Road, Stoke Newington, N16

Held on the last Sunday of the Month, open to shoppers 9am – 2pm

This Princess May School Car Boot Sale is an old favourite, attracting over a thousand buyers every week. It is now host to the Lovable Vintage Collectors Market, focusing on the retro side of things, as well as collectible vinyl.  The team behind it have more than 15 years’ experience running car boots in St Augustine’s and St Mary’s Schools in Kilburn. Carbooted is confident this sale is going to be a success in 2012.

Purley Indoor Car Boot Sale

St Mark’s Church Hall, Church Road, Purley, CR8

Saturday 28th January 2012, open to shoppers 10.00am – 12pm

Okay, this one’s pretty far out of the city centre, and it’s not regular (after January there’s nothing planned until March). But seasoned car booters will know that the more obscure car boot sales are often untapped mines for bargain hunters.  So keep this one under your hat. As long as it doesn’t become a regular fixture and the London crowd don’t find out about it, it could be a good spot for exciting finds this year.

The  William Morris Car Boot Sale

Oakside Stadium,Station Road, Barkingside IG6

Every Sunday, open to shoppers 6.30am – 1pm

This one’s been a way for a few months, but it’s planned to reopen in February. So make sure you’re there for the first sale of 2012. It’ll be the first sale since Christmas so make the most of people getting rid of the presents they couldn’t give house room.

It’s a hard ground venue, so no need to worry if the winter weather takes a turn for the worst. Also, it gets an extra thumbs-up for donating the majority of the admission fee to the William Morris School for children with special needs.

Tom Allsop