I was talking to a friend and happened to mention I was on a quest for second-hand furniture. She told me about a car boot sale in Wimbledon that’s supposedly London’s best car boot sale, and a great place to pick up some real hidden gems. There was just one snag. To bag a bargain she reckoned you have to get there early, and we’re talking 7am early. I’m not a morning person at the best of times so I was in two minds. I really wanted to check it out but couldn’t decide if it was worth the trek and having to drag myself out of bed from Forest Hill at 5am, an unholy hour on a Saturday morning, to get there from the other side of London.
When my dreaded alarm went off I was all but ready to bail until surprisingly Sharps (who would live in bed if he could get away with it) persuaded me we should make the effort at least this once.
Two buses and a train later (neither of us can drive) we made it to London’s best car boot sale at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. Our first test was getting in. Still half asleep we wandered up and down Plough Lane trying to work out where the entrance was, to the amusement of some of the stallholders we could see, but couldn’t get to. Having finally worked it out we were ready for some bargain hunting.
With up to 200 stalls this is one of the biggest car boot sales in London. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I’ve been to a car boot sale so I don’t have much to compare it to. But from the vast array of bric-a-brac, ranging from tat to some real hidden gems depending on what you’re looking for, I’d say it could easily be London’s best car boot sale. We arrived at 7am but to get your pick of the bunch it’s probably best to get there even earlier. It’s great for furniture, there were tables for a tenner, chairs, sofas – you name it – and don’t be shy about haggling with sellers either.
A word of warning though, it’s ruthless. Buyers and sellers take no prisoners at London’s best car boot sale. If you see something you want get in quick before someone else does! We discovered this the hard way when we saw an iron garden flower stand which I thought would make a brilliant shoe rack. The owner was away from his stall so we asked his neighbour if he could tell him we were interested in it. He told us it wouldn’t be a problem and not to worry as they guy hadn’t sold it from last week. But when we came back we overheard him trying to buy it for himself! Luckily for us he backed down but when on the hunt for a bargain, trust no-one. Our only problem was then getting it home – I’ve now got muscles in my arm I never even knew existed – it was heavier than it looked.
We also picked up this wicked shabby chic dressing table, which came with a mirror and stool, without any run-ins, for an unbelievable £30 from a guy who does house clearances. And he agreed to deliver it for an extra £20, a result as it would have cost us much more to get a van or courier service (it was too big to fit in a taxi).
I’m not sure going to London’s best car boot sale is something I could do every week (it’s open Saturdays and Wednesdays) but we’ll definitely be going back. We still need armchairs, a kitchen table, a coffee table… I may even be willing to get up at 4am so we can be one of the first to unearth the hidden gems you’re bound to find there.