A buying guide to London’s best car-boot sales

by  Alisha Chopra  / Posted on

For sustainable fashion lovers, car boot sales are a bargain paradise with an endless supply of hidden, sustainable and affordable gems. Car boots work both ways, allowing one to sell on past-loved items that no longer serve one’s taste whilst being able to snap up absolute bargains. The beauty of a car boot sale lies in the array of weird and wonderful items that can be found, making it ideal for a family day out where every member’s taste can be satisfied without breaking the bank. Whether you’re hoping to freshen up your wardrobe or attempting to revamp your home décor, there is always something you can reuse, repair, recycle, resell or rehome.

Peckham Car Boot
Taking place at Harris Academy Peckham every fortnight, it attracts people from both north and south of the river, come rain or shine. Costing just £1 to enter, many attend with the mere objective of having a mooch around on a Sunday morning. For some it is a social affair, traipsing around with their friends whilst sipping on an iced latte (available from the coffee stall) they look but never touch. For others, it is a serious sport. Officially starting at 10:30, the true bargain-hunters arrive 15-30 minutes early to avoid the hefty queues and bag the good steals. Amidst the bric-a-brac, one can find not only clothes, but mint condition original pressing vinyl, art-deco vases, and beautiful marble wine racks, just a few of the many items I have uncovered. Initiated by two local residents, Erin Murphy and her partner Steven Lopes in 2019, beginning with just a mere two vans it has now garnered such attention it is sold out every Sunday.
When: 10:30am-2:00pm Sunday fortnightly. Where: Harris Academy Peckham, SE15 5DZ. Entry Price: £1

Princess May
Located in the hipster’s heaven of Dalston Kingsland is this iconic car boot that has been taking place for several years. Every Saturday and Sunday you’ll find a long queue beginning at the early hour of 7:30am. You’ll find trinkets, retro decor, ’90s magazines and an array of wonderful fabrics. However, the clothes remain the main attraction with the majority of sellers living in and around the area, several of whom are stylists emptying their wardrobes to make room for the new season trends. For this particular car boot, the early bird seems to catch the worm with the entrance fee being £5 before 9am and £1 after; so set
your alarms, take a shot of espresso and get yourself down there!
When: Sat & Sun, 7:30am-2pm Where: Princess May School, N16 8DF Entry Price: £5 (early bird) £1 (9am onwards) www.thelondoncarbootco.co.uk/venueprincessmay

Crystal Palace Boot
You can find this anything but ordinary car boot at the gorgeous green gates of Crystal Palace Park right next to the museum (worth a visit). With far more focus on homeware, furniture, jewellery and artwork, ideal for those with a keen interest in items from a bygone era, there is a selection of eras from antique, vintage, retro, mid-century to the more contemporary. If this sounds like your cup of tea, but are unsure as to whether you can differentiate between various eras, Crystal Palace car boot has put together a wonderful guide you can find below on their website.
When: Weds, 7am-12:30pm. Where: Crystal Palace Park, The Italian Terraces, Anerley Hill, SE19 2BA. Entry Price: £3 (early bird) £1 onwards. www.crystalpalace boot.co.uk/about-car-boot

Battersea Boot
Ideal for those who prefer to lie in and indulge on their Sunday mornings, Battersea Boot starts at the rather civilized time of 12:30pm. Designer goods reign at this specific car boot. Founded more than two
decades ago in 1999 they have gained in popularity immensely with both sellers and buyers alike. Keep in mind this is larger than those previously mentioned so you may have to look a little harder, but I promise it’ll be worth it. When: Sunday, 12:30pm-5pm. Where: Harris Academy, 401 Battersea Park Road, SW11 5AP. Entry Price: £3 (early bird) £1 onwards. batterseaboot.com

With over 30,000 car boots taking place up and down the country, it is definitely an
experience worth trying. If shopping isn’t your thing, try selling. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Empty your cupboards and declutter the home all whilst making a bit of extra cash, and while being eco-friendly and sustainable. With low buying and selling fees, there is little to lose by attending. Remember to check the websites for details and happy thrifting.

Alisha’s top tips for car boot sales

  1. The early bird catches the worm. The earlier you get there, the better chance you have at finding good deals, steals and more!
  2. Bargain, bargain, bargain. Items rarely have pre-written prices, take advantage, but not the piss.
  3. Bring a bag. Most sellers won’t have a supply of bags, so make sure to pack a tote or some plastic bags so you’re not left lugging around all your goodies.
  4. Take the time. The art of thrifting is not a rushed process, make sure to have a good rummage through each stall – you never know what you will find.
  5. Dress appropriately. If you want to try on clothes, make sure to wear cycling shorts underneath
    or a skort, this will save you having to guess your size and avoid an accidental flashing!
  6. Make sure to bring cash. Round up all your loose change lying around at the bottom of your
    handbag and put it to good use in an almost cashless era.

Alisha Chopra is a third year anthropology student at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her love of fashion, food and music encourages her to always be trying out new restaurants, music events and vintage shops. Residing in Peckham, she has a variety of local, up and coming establishments at her disposal.

This article is taken from the Jun-Jul-Aug issue of the FOCUS magazine

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