Antiques add so much to a home or office: a sense of quality, history, refinement, and grace. It's no wonder that people find them hard to resist. If you're the type of person who can't pass by a shop, without wondering what may lie within, you'll relish London's bounty. A wide selection of antiques of all vintages, provenances, and places of origin can be found, and 10Best leads you to the top sources. Our editors and readers particularly applaud Andrew Nebbett Antiques, as you will with one glance at the merchandise. It's without a doubt one of London's best antique shops. Also nestling among London's streets is The French House, a favourite for those looking for that je ne sais quoi for their home, with pretty linens, lace cupboards and ornaments to adorn and prettify. If markets are more up your street, then Portobello road is still the source of some great vintages, as is Camden Passage in the north of the capital. Lastly, Alfie's Antiques market has a bit of everything, from furniture to clothing, to ornaments, to clocks, and with a wealth of expertise and history at their fingertips, you may just find yourself bitten by the collecting bug, and shipping exciting boxes half way around the world. Happy vintage shopping.
Alfie's Antiques Market
Alfie's Antique Market is the biggest covered market for antiques in London. It hosts numerous stall holders who sell antiques and collectables from a variety of eras. The place is frequented by interior designers, collectors, and set designers for theatre and television. You can get vintage clothes, and vintage China, including designers from the twenties like the English designer Clarice Cliff, famous for her brightly coloured geometric inspired designs. If Victorian charm bracelets are your thing, then this is the place to come, a perfect place to while away a whole day dreaming about how you'd fit out one of the beautiful neighbouring town house if you owned one, or picking up some great outfits for a fancy dress party or club night. (020 7723 6066)
Fine Art Society
The Fine Art Society have been dealing since 1876, so they bring a wealth of experience and history to their trade. Specializing in prints and paintings from the 1800s and 1900s, the Fine Art Society offers a large selection of goods. The establishment now occupies an attractive space on Bond Street. Among its eras, the Victorian period is particularly well represented. The once art-only store has recently begun to offer a high-quality collection of fine antique furnishings and decorative items too, including textiles. For upscale antique shoppers only, as prices tend to reflect the quality, but are high. TUBE: Bond Street (20-7629-5116)
Camden Passage Islington
This quiet street becomes a hub of antique-hunting activity on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when specialists and dealers gather in stalls and arcades. The long strip keeps visitors occupied for hours and turns up treasures no matter what you're looking for. With the Georgian Village on one side, The Mall on the other, and several unique arcades in between, the area provides London's largest selection of antiques. While cheaper goods, old books and clothes can be found near the Georgian Village, the more expensive and upscale Mall side has paintings, Edwardian furniture, Victorian objets d'art, jewellery and much more. TUBE: Angel (20-7359-0190)
Raffety and Walwyn
Kensington Church Street offers a plethora of antique outlets, and one of the best is this shop, which has sold beautiful antique clocks for many decades now. Timepieces from many periods are on display -including Georgian, Regency and Victorian - as well as Continental items from the 1800s through today. Popular among collectors, the store also restores timekeepers of all types, from watches to grandfather clocks. If vintage time takes your fancy then these people should be your first stop. And it's not just clocks either, they also offer collectors of barometers, that truly great British obsession, the weather, a place to indulge their passions. TUBE: High Street Kensington or Notting Hill Gate (20-7938-1100)
Haslam and Whiteway
Haslam and Whiteway deal in British 19th century design. It is another fabulous Kensington Church Street shop which is known for its supply of furnishings. With a huge, in-stock selection, the well-organized, elegant store is a must for furniture enthusiasts. Although the inventory varies, you can often find items of Gothic Revival and Victorian design (among others). Unique discoveries include intricate fireplace surrounds and stained-glass pieces. Some of the best British vintage designers are featured in their collections of fabric, textiles, tiles, and furniture. If you are an afficionado of the arts and crafts movement, then this is the place to go, ditto for William Morris and many other truly great British pieces of art. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate (20-7229-1145)
Waterhouse and Dodd
On shop-filled Bond Street, this art dealer focuses on antique paintings in various styles from the time period of 1850 to 1940. British works are prominent, but other nations are also represented. In addition, the shop prides itself on its shipping service. Plus, many international clients browse and purchase goods after perusing the consistently updated website. Proof of authenticity is provided with each purchase. Waterhouse and Dodd are well established fine art dealers, with show rooms in London, Paris and New York. The owners started working together in 1982 and formed their business 5 years later. They are happy to advise their clients and curate exhibitions.TUBE: Bond Street (20-7734-7800)
Portobello Road Market
Portobello is a shopping mecca, but the presence of antiques, particularly from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries is why many people flock to the market when they are in London. There is a broad range of goods, with prices to match. The antiques market is held on Saturdays, when you'll also find an abundant array of fashion; the surrounding shops and restaurants are open Monday-Saturday, and vendors congregate to sell everything from produce to clothing. Be warned it can be packed, and as with any market, not everything is always as it seems, so be careful and make sure you know your stuff if you think you've found something rare. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove
Andrew Nebbett Antiques
The shop hits the nail firmly on the head when it describes itself as a purveyor of the decorative and the unexpected from 1780 to 1960. Every bit as satisfying as the product range is the experience: this is everything you might imagine from a visit to an English antique house that's run by a discreet English gent. Spend as much time browsing the goodies as you wish, and there's no pressure to make a purchase. Andrew Nebbett antiques specialises in classic 20th century design and industrial furniture. Their clients are everyone from interior designers, to rock stars and royalty they say, and "they all come looking for the same thing, the Wow factor". (+44 (20) 7723 2303)
The French House
Thanks to the House, fans of French furniture have no need to jump on the Eurostar to find the real thing: every item here originates from France, and littered among the treasures you'll find vases, chaises (long and short), beds and artwork. You may either buy things as you see them or pay extra to have them restored to your specifications. They like most of the London shops, have a bit of everything, from lighting which spans the decades from ornate chandeliers to 1970s glass creations, 1950s crystal, and amazing beds. Some with new bases to fit current specifications and sizes, from padded pink boudoir furniture to black and gold wrought iron, this really is a treasure trove of beauty and fun. (20-7371-7573)
Michael Hughes Antiques
Michael Hughes antiques is located on the Fulham road in the heart of one of London's top spots for vintage finds and antiques. This shop is known among the antique-hunting crowd as a top place for 18th- and early 19th-century furniture. Spanning the three-story show room, the furniture selection is complimented by period artwork and other miscellaneous pieces. The store selects items based on originality and quality, and are always willing to assist customers with specific requirements and tastes. There are mirrors, lighting, tables, cabinets, chairs, writing pieces, and objets d'art, and miscellaneous objects, so there is really something to suit everyone's taste. TUBE: South Kensington (20-7589-0660)
About Emma Wallis
London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to London town. All that travel means she knows what she looks for as a visitor to a new city: insider knowledge, tips, and the feeling that she's found something that few travellers get to experience.
Emma enjoys keeping her fingers on the capital's pulse, in order to make sure that everyone enjoys her favourite city, as much as she does.
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