A charming Texas Hill Country town that embraces its strong German heritage by celebrating Oktoberfest and hosting a Christmas market, Fredericksburg is known for its many antique shops. With mild temperatures in the autumn and winter, hiking and picnicking can also be enjoyed year round at Enchanted Rock State Park just 18 miles outside of town. Spend the day visiting nearby vineyards, or if you’re short on time, sample some of the local wines with an elegant yet hearty meal at the Cotton Gin (cottonginlodging.com).
A well established vintage fashion fair running one Sunday per month in Primrose Hill. The fair is the perfect way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon and find some amazing vintage pieces.I got a really beautiful 1950's lace dress for under £30!
The fair has a great selection of stalls with a range of vintage clothing, shoes, accessories and textiles from a variety of decades with stallholders that really know their stuff and are approachable and happy to help. There is something to suit most people with clothes ranging from really affordable to some really special designer pieces and menswear. The pretty little cafe downstairs is also great for a cup of tea and slice of cake afterwards.
This shop is really affordable compared to other vintage store in Berlin. You have so many choices of colors and pattern, the cotton T-shirts from the 80s are amazing.
You can also enjoy the banana deco and the kindness of the owners.
I was looking for authentic cowboy boots; I didn’t expect to find so many of them quite so close to home. But then I hadn’t counted on finding a Western Man in Brussels, either.
François Chladiuk’s Western Shop grew out of a life’s passion for the Wild West.
This collector of the “real McCoy” started with antique Winchesters 40 years ago, adding
statues and saddles before a chance opportunity led to him acquiring 150 pieces that had languished in a basement for decades, including vibrant Indian headdresses, tunics, moccasins and jewellery. He suspected they were old, and placed adverts in magazines and tried to track down photos of the period. One day, while looking at a postcard, he realised he had a match. “I was shaking, I ran upstairs and compared it. And there it was!” From the few surviving photographs of the period, he discovered he owned clothing and artefacts that had belonged to the Little Elk and Little Moon families who had performed in the Wild West Shows for the Brussels World Fair in 1935. Since then Francois’s whole collection has been displayed at Belgium’s Royal Museum for Art and History, and pieces have been loaned to The Buffalo Bill museum in Golden, Colorado. A few pieces are currently ondisplay in that same Brussels museum.
22 years ago François started his shop, still with his collection in mind, selling the “real hats, the real boots and the real shirts.” The brands featured are 120 or 130 years old, including Tony Lama, which last year celebrated its 100th anniversary. This place is about as far removed from a western superstore as you can imagine. Wooden floors, country music in the background and the inescapable smell of leather. Among the Stetsons, jewellery and shirts I ask him what he is most proud of. Unsurprisingly it is the inventory of 2500 pairs of cowboy boots, including the traditional or the colourful, amongst exotic skins such as shark, lizard, python, hippo or stingray. To keep the shop well-stocked, Francois flies to the States five times a year, taking in the Denver show in January and September, which has “everything”, and twice visiting Tulse, Oklohoma, for collectables from the “biggest gun show on earth”. Then it’s either the Cody show or the High Noon show in Phoenix for antiques. Distances and unloading aside, there is no “work” involved in running this shop. “At 38 I opened, and at 38 I stopped working!
“Every ten or 12 years there is like a Western fashion wave coming all over the world.
My friends say; ‘You must be lucky now, you must be happy! Now you’re making a lot
of money.’ But it’s just not true”, he says. Those are the times of cheap imitations and dreamcatchers, not the “real McCoy”.
“Is it because my father was liberated by Americans that I became interested in the Wild
West?” Perhaps there’s something to that, but after a childhood of playing Cowboys and
Indians and his recent discovery of a Little Moon descendant in Wounded Knee, Francois’ enthusiasm shows no sign of waning. He has amassed memorabilia relating to the Wild West shows that took place in Belgium, and to the founder of those shows, Buffalo Bill. Can he bring himself to sell anything from his treasured collection? Once, he sold a 7ft by 6ft portrait of Buffalo Bill. “That’s enormous”, I say. It took six men to lift it, but that was not the main reason it had to go: François had moved to a house with lower ceilings, and, as he put it, “I didn’t want Buffalo Bill’s head – down there!”
Every Buffalo Bill and Wild West enthusiast should pay Brussels’ Western Man a visit. And I’ll be back for his boots.
79, Boulevard Adolphe Max, 1000 Brussels
+32 (0)2 219 55 17
Google map: bit.ly/wsPVWL
Bec is our Been there local for Brussels. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/brussels-local-rebecca.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/Becinbrussels
Feira da Ladra, also known as the Thieves Market, is a large open-air market in central Lisbon that is full to the brim with treasures and knick-knacks. Equally good for picking up souvenirs, antiques, furniture, crockery or just window shopping, the market has a great atmosphere and stalls for as far as the eye can see. It has a great location and it's a great way to spend a few hours wondering around marvelling at the things you find!
Campo de Santa Clara, Lisbon. 5 minutes walk from Santa Apolonia metro station and an even shorter walk from the tram 28 stop at Sao Vicente de Fora.
Google map: bit.ly/ADfeiE
The hometown of the Style Fair is Belfast but the fair travels to various locations across Northern Ireland. Each event has around 30 stalls packed with preloved clothing, as well as garments from vintage dealers. It's a great place to bag a bargain at a fraction of the original price. Some fairs specialise in style for the home and some have handcrafted items from local designers. Each venue is always different and there are often other features such as style makeovers and beauty advice from professionals. It is a great place to go with friends for a fun and rewarding shopping experience.
Cities across Northern Ireland, www.thestylefair.co.uk
Leominster is a small market town in Herefordshire, and it's a hidden gem when it comes to antiques. Try Broad Street for Teagowns and Textiles, a lovely vintage shop with a great selection of men and women's clothing plus a selection of table linen in the back of the shop. Broad Street also boasts the Leominster Antique Market, a veritable treasure trove set out over three floors that houses small rooms let out to individual traders. There's so much in there, you can spend hours wandering around, it's like the Tardis inside! They have vast amounts of pottery and china, so if you're looking for a set or are trying to find a replacement piece then you may well find it here. Corn Square, where the market is held, is home to The Old Merchant House, which operates on a similar basis to the Leominster Antique Market - it's a little less ramshackle and their wares are laid out with more care, so it's more expensive, but definitely worth a look. They also have a lovely cafe downstairs.
This is a 'brocante' (antique/flea market) that is not to be missed. It's medium-sized and takes about an hour or so to wander up and down, and it has the most wonderful selection of goodies. There's all sorts of classic antique French tableware including stunning linen and lace, as well as homeware objects and furniture set out alongside old posters and adverts on old weatherbeaten enamel panels. The last time I was there I picked up a huge one and a half metre high neon-lit 'Tabac' sign (I was there with my car, admittedly!) for just 60 euros. There are food stalls at either end so you can stop for a coffee and a croissant, and if you're feeling cultural there's also the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse next door on the edge of the equally impressive Jardin des Plantes. It takes place the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month from around 8am until lunchtime.
Allée Jules Guesde, Toulouse (next to the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse in the Jardin des Plantes). Nearest métro stop: Carnes / Palais de Justice
Google map: bit.ly/y9eyzz
This fair claims to be the biggest antiques fair in Europe and the size has to be seen to be believed!
Newark is not far from Nottingham - about 30 minutes by car or train. Or about one hour 30 minutes from London Kings Cross. Makes for an interesting day out - and you can even take your dog along. Next one is in April... they happen a few times each year.
The Georgian Rooms are very special. On the well preserved high street of the old town in Bridlington, they are a treasure trove of fascinating pieces, mostly antiques, some vintage clothing, garden ironmongery, furniture, photographs and to cap it all, a wonderful tea room on the ground floor, serving home made cakes and lunches. The owner collects items from far and wide and has a keen interest in the unusual. We picked up some Frank Meadow Sutcliffe photographs, reasonably priced and were very tempted by a gorgeous velvet purse for one sovereign and one half sovereign - crockery, glass and cutlery are kept in delightful old cases. The garden has several rooms and sheds with interesting outdoor objects, wooden restored furniture and follies. A real treat.
Is it a restaurant? Is it a club? Is it a record shop? No one is quite sure but either way Radost FX near Namesti Miru is very cool.
Street level houses a quirky veggie café and a music/video/wine shop. Downstairs is a lounge/restaurant area with the same menu, and a club.
During the daytime enjoy the Radost FX cafe. Set behind large windows facing the street, the cafe has some pretty eclectic decor. Tuck into breakfast from 8-11, or later on enjoy the wide vegetarian menu later in the day. Radost Fx has a truly global menu, boasting dishes from countries including Greece, Italy, India and Thailand as well as some of the best veggie burgers and 'slaw ever. Food is available all day.
The same menu is available in the longue area downstairs, which is complimented by a great bar and live music at the weekends - well into the small hours.
I especially love the shop area on street level next to the cafe. As well as videos, DVDs and wine, this cosy shop offers an ever changing selection of vintage and contemporary music on vinyl.
There’s something for everyone here, at any time of day.
Bělehradská 22, 120 00, Prague 2
+420 603 193 711
Nearest metro - Namesti Miru or IP Pavlova
Google map: bit.ly/zgnAMf
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
The windows of this tiny vintage shop are filled with embroidered silk blouses and strings of pearls. Inside is a labyrinth of small rooms crammed full with antique and retro clothing, from lacy wedding dresses strung along Elizabethan beams to rows of military and fur coats.
64 High Street, Town Centre, Totnes, TQ9 5SQ
Google map: bit.ly/shSRCX
I love Hobos. It's the only place I've ever been where I can buy vintage clothes, a retro bag, the wrapping paper and a card all at once. It's perfect for little off-the-wall gifts and is a hippy's paradise. The 60s theme decor works excellently and is very inviting. They also do a 10% student discount, which is great for us lot on budgets! If I need to get something unique and a little crazy, this is the only place to go.
My recommendation is an unusual pop up shop/online shop. It specialises in 'recreating found furniture into individual one off pieces'. Having visited the pop-up shop when it came to my local hometown in Banbridge, Northern Ireland I was both impressed by the quality finish of the restyled items and inspired by the artists' creativity and skill. The pop-up shop has set up in many areas/craft fairs around Northern Ireland and has also recently been in Glasgow, so it is best to either check their website or join their Facebook 'Refound' page to find out where the next location will be. Not only can you buy ready to go restyled furniture you can also bring in your own furniture and commission one of the many talented artists to revitalise it. Failing that, you can also buy furniture/organise a commission for your piece of furniture via their funky website. The founder Jill O'Neill on her website says “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” which sums up the basis for the concept behind her shop. If you like something unusual and a bit quirky, this is definitely something to check out!
The store offers an exciting mix of vintage clothes and accessories (both for men and women) side-by-side contemporary designs, all for very affordable prices.
Nestled on a very picturesque greater London high street is Mela Mela. Possibly my favorite shop in the world. It is a vintage clothes and accessories shop for women which stocks everything from wedding dresses to 1940s swimming costumes.
Stock is always changing and subsequently every time you enter minutes (and often hours disappear). The standard or stock probably exceeds some of it's central London cousins.
Just a great vintage shop, run by a fun team. Well worth a stop.
So many visitors leave Edinburgh having only made it to the shops of Princes Street. And what a shame this is.
Princes Street may have one of the best views of any high-street in Britain, (Edinburgh’s lovely castle) but the big high-street stores and garish tartan tat shops show nothing of the one-off boutiques, local designers, vintage stores and dusty bookstores that lurk off the beaten track.
Here are three of my favourite shopping stops:
1. Totty Rocks – 40 Victoria Street, Old Town
Little boutique designer shop run by two friends, and packed full with retro chic creations. They love to put their own twist on a classic look, so stand out from the crowd in one of their own unique designs.
2. W M Armstrong’s – 81-83 Grassmarket, Old Town
This world famous vintage store is packed to the rafters with plenty of wonders from the past few decades. Anyone with even the slightest interest in clothes should pay a visit.
3. Armchair books - 72-74 West Port, Old Town
This old-school second hand bookstore has been delighting for more than 15 years. The shop itself looks as if it is entirely built of books and has that wonderfully musty old-book smell that Waterstones somewhat lacks. Lose yourself in the shelves.
40 Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2JW
+44 (0) 131 226 3232
Google map: bit.ly/onN1oZ
83 The Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HJ
+44(0)131 220 5557
Google map: bit.ly/pNGBoF
72-74 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2LE
+44(0)0131 229 5927
Google map: bit.ly/pHQDUs
* Rachel is our Been there local for Edinburgh. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-local-rachel-brown.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/RachelBrown
Market under the arches that ring the square where people sell stamps, coins and old bank notes.
I bought some Franco era peseta coins as souvenirs. These coins cost only 50c or €1 each and are a reminder of Spain's dark days.
Plaza Mayor (Nearest metro Sol)
9am - 2pm every Sunday
Google map: bit.ly/qF8NUX
Located in one of the arches under the railway line, Secondo is a delightful cafe and second hand clothing emporium. The arch is crammed with all manner of retro clothing, furnishings, there's even a caravan and a dinky bubble car! The menu is great and customers can request bigger portions if required to give strength to sort through the vast selection of vintage and retro clothing. A DJ plays music from the 1950s and 1980s in the caravan on Friday and Saturday evenings. Great idea, great place.
While the vintage scene in Prague is very much in its infancy, there are a few places where a clothing hunt will produce more treasure than trash. The Item is one such gem.
The Item boasts a good range of vintage clothing lovingly restored by its American owner-dressmakers. This charming boutique also has its own 'house label' Kiss My Valentine, through which designers turn colourful 50s and 60s dresses into more contemporary items and create replica party dresses from luxurious Italian fabrics. A good range of accessories including clutches, jewellery and headpieces.
A lovely shop for a splurge.
Žatecká 8 , Prague 1 110 00
+420 777 273 238
Nearest Metro: Staromestska
Nearest Tram: Staromestska
Monday - Friday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday: noon - 5 p.m.
Google map: bit.ly/nOdau5
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