Antiques hunting is great fun, and can be a great excuse to push the boundaries outward from your normal hunting ground and explore parts of Norfolk you are not familiar with, or always meant to visit, but never got around to.
There are still market towns my wife and I are finding and loving, after being in Norfolk for over seven years. We all tend to be a bit lazy and re-visit familiar places, where we know what’s on offer.
You probably shouldn’t try to drive between all the places we suggest as a ‘road-trip’, especially if you don’t have a support team, back up car and film crew to hand. But maybe as part of a day trip, to a new Norfolk market town, fitting in a little shopping, lunch, and a spot of antique treasure hunting to finish the perfect day out.
If your other half is not quite so keen, then some of the centres I am about to suggest also offer a exciting hunting ground for both vintage tools plus architectural and agricultural salvage. Two also have either, in-house or adjacent tearooms, offering lunch and teas, both of which we have sampled and come highly recommended.
The centre of the North Norfolk Antiques trail. Centred around the Shire Hall Plains Antiques Centre, just across the road from the entrance to Byfords, Holt is an ideal Georgian town and antiques lovers hot-spot. The antiques shops have organised themselves to provide visitors with a town map showing the location of each shop. There is something for everything on offer, including silver, jewellery, porcelain and vintage. If antique 18th and 19th century stoneware and porcelain is your passion, then don’t miss Richard Scott’s beautiful selection at 30 High Street. Antony Fell offers high end furniture at 47 Bull Street.
Probably not the first place that comes to mind for antiques, but Michael Holt has a national reputation for some of the rarest and most specialist pieces of early English antique furniture. Some pieces date from the 16th century, but there is something for everyone on the two floors of the old mill. It’s easy to find on the site of the main village car park. Check opening times as it’s not open seven days a week. Visit the priory and churches and enjoy a walk round this charming medieval town. One of Norfolk’s understated hidden gems.
Wells Next the Sea
The Wells Antique Shop is on Maryland, adjacent to the old railway station on the main road to the sea front. In a Victorian warehouse, it offers a complete mix of vintage and antiques, mainly smalls with some jewellery, mainly costume, but lots of usable affordable offerings, and is open every day. It is one of my personal favourite hunting grounds for affordable bargains.
Annie Lambert’s shop in the courtyard is well worth a detour. French interiors and objets d’art with an interiors twist and all next to a great food hall and cafe.
I hope I have given you a few ideas for your own antiques roadshow style trip. If you can’t quite manage a trip soon, then let me encourage at least an online browse of my vintage and antiques website to wet your appetite for what’s out there.