Antique hunting in the Cotswolds: An owner’s guide

Christopher Wilson-Elmes Profile Image

Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

The Cotswolds, with its Arts and Crafts heritage and air of timelessness, is a great place to go rummaging for antiques, but it’s hard to know where to start looking. To help you get an ornate brass handle on some of the best places to go antique hunting in the Cotswolds, we turned to the antiques and vintage Queen of the Cotswolds, Faye Welford. Faye is the owner of Blenheim Cottage, for the decoration of which she spent a pleasant year scouring barns and backrooms. Here she picks out three of her favourites, close enough together that you could make a lovely day of poking your way through them all.

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The Barn, three miles from Blenheim Cottage, in Long Marston

We lived in Blenheim Cottage, (a Sawday’s place to stay) for many years, but when it became a holiday home we had to change a lot of things, especially in the children’s rooms! We wanted it to ooze character, so we spent a fair bit of time in The Barn. It’s great because there are over 40 dealers selling on two floors, offering all sorts of furniture and collectibles. There’s also the bonus of The Espresso Barn, serving coffee, tea, breakfasts and lunches. The kitchen table and chairs from the cottage kitchen were sourced here, along with the aquamarine chest in one of the bedrooms. I also found the church window that had been upcycled with mirror glass and is now in the garden.

Faye’s top tips: Get out of town 

I prefer to head out of town for antiques, especially if you’re looking for furniture and larger items. The more rural places have more storage and space to exhibit and free parking. Ask locals about the best places nearby, or drive slowly and keep your eye out for roadside signage!

Mickleton Antiques Centre

The second one is Mickleton Antiques Centre and it’s just outside the village. You can walk there from the cottage. They call themselves “a real Aladdin‘s Cave” offering all sorts of antiques, collectibles, vintage, china, you name it. They have rustic outdoor furniture too, and garden border art made of rusted metal. There’s also a snack van, so you can pick up a breakfast roll and a coffee which will keep you going as you explore.

Faye’s top tips: Make it on Broadway 

Broadway is one of my favourite places in the Cotswolds, a small village that’s big on charm. The pretty high street is lined with horse chestnut trees and independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. A great place to round off a day of antique hunting.

Saintbury Antiques & Architectural Salvage

Set in a selection of 17th century buildings on a beautiful farm, Saintbury is an amazing Cotswold Brocante shop. They have an eclectic mix encompassing furniture, architectural salvage, art, curios and bric-a-brac. Saintbury offer upcycled furniture and a bespoke painting service in case you see something you love, but you’d love it more if it were painted in your colour scheme! Browse from barn to barn, some of the furniture is piled high!
Home-made cakes, teas and coffees are available in the most picturesque setting .

Faye is always on the hunt for new places to find old things. She updates her guest book when places open or close, so the best way to go antique hunting in the Cotswolds is to head down to Blenheim Cottage for a few days and let the Antiques Queen be your guide.  

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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

Chris is our in-house copywriter, with a flair for turning rough notes and travel tales into enticing articles. Raised in a tiny Wiltshire village, he was desperate to travel and has backpacked all over the world. Closer to home, he finds himself happiest in the most remote and rural places he can find, preferably with a host of animals to speak to, some waves to be smashed about in and the promise of a good pint somewhere in his future.
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