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


Carbooting: opening times of car boot sales across London and what they mean for you

Our map shows that London car boot sales don’t open earlier than 7am. But, if you like your lie-ins, you can still have a few extra hours in bed and attend a car boot, with lunchtime openings across the city.

Some sales might also have a rule that sellers cannot leave the site before a certain time.

The earlier the sale begins, the more hardcore your bargain hunters tend to be. They will be looking for collectibles, such as ceramics and glassware, and will want low, competitive prices. Your buyers might even be professional traders, looking for items to ‘upsell’ for their own profits.

Sales that start mid-morning or later are more likely to attract passers-by or the more casual browser, looking for inspiration and to be pleasantly surprised. These sales would be perfect for trying to get good prices for your stylish clothing.

If you take food to sell, target your audience’s appetites: you’ll probably find that sugary cupcakes aren’t too popular at 7am. For early mornings, try savoury items such as pasties and sausage rolls, or even a bowl of fresh fruit. We’ve spotted at least one enterprising stallholder selling individually-wrapped slices of cold pizza – perfect for staving off a tired head after a late night.

As for the aforementioned cupcakes: they’re becoming near-ubiquitous among younger sellers at car boot sales. They look pretty, but you’ll need to be a decorating whiz to make yours stand out. You could try food colouring in your icing, or edible cake toppers. You could also cater to the more traditional cake lover with nice thick slabs of versatile loaf cake, in whatever flavours you prefer.

Still, no matter the time you turn up, an important factor in the success of your day will always be the weather. Soggy car boot sales tend to be quieter car boot sales. You might feel it’s not worth turning out on a rainy day to sell, and if you’re a buyer this could be the opportunity to get lower prices from sellers eager to get home.

Helen Lawson