On the first weekend in March I hopped on a train to Brighton to discover the delights of thrifting in a bustling seaside city. As I scurried down the North Laines I found Upper Gardner Street Market which was bursting with jumble. I was drawn to the stalls where folk were having random clear outs of their own stuff and a vintage jeans stall with some ace pairs of old Wranglers and a stall with printing blocks both made me stop & sift.
As I waltzed along the street I nearly missed the small entrance way to the North Laines Antique and Flea Market. It wasn’t that promising at first but as I squeezed down the slope and took the first left and up the stairs – lo and behold! Fun vintage heaven! A mesmerising mish-mash of 40s to 70s crockery, kitchenalia, curtains, books, bags, clothes… all of a bright, novelty & fun persuasion. My favourite.
The jewel in the crown of this glorious treasure filled attic had to be the customised 50’s/60’s furniture. I fell in love with this retro blue Italian lamp that had a lovingly and brilliantly revamped shade using 1950’s fabric.
Time was ticking so I ran across to the Phoenix which is an artist-led space that hosts a monthly event called Art Junky. The mixture of craft and jumble stalls were quite hit and miss but on the whole worth the trip. It had a nice laid back atmosphere and after a good rummage & some exciting stock buying for the Stationery Store in the Thrift-ola Shoppe I lunched on a slice of homemade quiche and cous cous salad in their arty cafe.
It was now time to seek out the main attraction of my visit – Snoopers Paradise! With over 90 independent stalls under one roof this is one of the most famous flea markets in the South of England. I dashed through the turn-style entrance way and said goodbye to the next few hours of my life as I entered a thrifters trance like state. So. Much. Stuff.
Brightonians – you are lucky, lucky folk! If I lived in this seaside city this would be on my weekly rounds for sure. You could probably furnish & decorate an entire house from this vast second hand wonderland. I was totally snooped out after a trip to paradise and grateful to be staying with a Kemp Town based friend who took me back for a homemade lasagne and bottle of wine. I was snoozing by the midnight hour and my alarm clock was set for 7am ready to head to the weekly Sunday car boot sale at the Marina.
Strolling along the seafront on Sunday morning was quite a treat and my car boot giddiness was building as the car park turned from a spec in the distance to a bustling market place. I arrived at 8am and it was already getting going but not too busy. It was free to get into, unless I entered from the wrong hatch and there was a good mix of casual and professional sellers – see this post for an explanation of trader types. I bought more than I could comfortably carry which for me is the sign of a good boot fair. From a pretty lemon 100% wool boyish cardigan to Little Bessie a kitsch toy dog that barks and wags it’s tail – my finds were as random as always. I had a minor sleb-spot at the boot sale… remember when Mary Portas revamped the Brighton shop Ju Ju? Well the lady owner was scooting round the boot fair buying second hand clothes. Yes indeed.
There were many other thrifting opportunites I didn’t have time for. I didn’t step foot inside a charity shop unfortunately and I hear there is a good cluster of ‘em on St James Street and in Kemp Town village. On the Sunday the beautiful Brighton Dome was playing host to vintage fair Frock Me and there are more vintage shops than you can shake a stick of rock at in Brighton. I think a long weekender is called for this summer and I’ll bring my bucket and spade too.
I always try to research my thriftin’ trips as thoroughly as possible but there’s no way I can discover every secret second hand haunt. If you’re a local and have something to add *please* do post a comment below and let us all know… Sharing is caring!