Exploring Cotswold Antique Shops
Cotswolds Antique Shopping in and around Broadway
‘The Cotswolds’ and ‘antiques’ seem to go hand-in-hand. In fact, most of our guests say that they plan to include a little antique browsing time as part of their stay.
With that in mind, here’s our guide to antique shopping in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds is a significant base for the antiques industry with villages such as Broadway, Tetbury, Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford establishing themselves as centres for the trade. They each have a concentration of antique shops, often specialising in a particular craft or era.
Specialist antique retailers tend to be premium price. Basically, you’ll pay a little more for advice, good provenance and a guarantee of quality. The stock in such shops is likely to be unique, with one-off items that you may not be able to find anywhere else.
If you’d like to find out what items specialist antique shops have to offer, a visit to the CADA website is a good place to start. CADA, the Cotswolds Art and Antiques Dealers Association is a group of the leading specialist antique shops in the area.
Members are generally experts in their field. Christopher Clarke Antiques (Stow-on-the-Wold), for example, specialises in the often wonderfully eccentric world of British military campaign furniture and travel equipment.
CADA also organises an annual world-class art and antiques show. The next Cotswolds Art and Antiques Dealers’ Association Fair is taking place at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park in Warwickshire. This, their eleventh annual fair, opens from Friday 17th - Sunday 19th November 2023.
Manfred Schotten Sporting Antiques shop in Burford is another ‘one-off’ shop that is a reminder of how specialist dealers can surprise you. As the Financial Times noted: “Schotten is Britain’s premier dealer and one of the country’s most notable authorities on English sporting antiques. Here valuable golfing artefacts sit comfortably amongst the club furniture, hunting prints, ancient wooden tennis racquets and autographed cricket bats.”
So much for specialist antique shops. Most visitors, however, make a beeline for the sort of general antique shops that pop up all over the Cotswolds. Tara Antiques in Stow-on-the-Wold is a good example - three floors that bring together over 30 dealers in antiques, paintings, glass, furniture, toys, vintage jewellery and clothes, and plenty of other things that are hard to categorise!
There’s a similar offering at Winchcombe Antiques, the Burford Antiques Centre and Mickleton Antiques Centre. We also like the Cirencester Antiques Centre where, amongst everything else, you can pick up a real Roman coin for a few pounds. Also, in Cirencester (and not to be confused with the Antiques Centre itself) is the Cirencester Antiques & Collectables Market, which takes place every Friday, in the Corn Market - there are usually about 25 stallholders.
If you’re a keen antiques buyer, nothing really replaces the excitement of an auction. It’s worth checking the auction calendar for the date of your visit - there are auction houses in Cirencester, at Prinknash Abbey, in Cheltenham and at Chipping Campden or Bourton on the Water, amongst others. Regular auctions attract both local buyers and international bidders. The auction scene in the Cotswolds is vibrant and dynamic, often giving you an opportunity to buy ‘at source’ before goods reach the antiques trade.
Antiques in Broadway Village
Broadway High Street (just outside our front door!) has an impressive group of antique, interior design and art galleries. You're unlikely to miss the nearest Betty and Violet - great for vintage and antiques. Here are four more to look out for:
Cheltenham House Antiques
4A&B The Green
Broadway, WR12 7AA
Christian Scahill is a well-established figure in the Cotswolds antique trade. With his wife, Clare, he specialises in sourcing unique antique furniture, decorative pieces and works of art from his Broadway base.
Haynes Fine Art
Picton House Galleries, 42 High Street
Broadway, WR12 7DT
Outside London, Haynes Fine Art is the largest UK dealer in fine art from the 19th to 21st century. Picton House, their much-admired Broadway showroom is a remarkable place, with a beautiful offering of art shown in room settings - the furniture and period hand-carved marbles are for sale too.
Haynes is mainly for serious collectors as prices go up to £500,000, but equally prices begin at around £2000 - but you can buy with confidence since the company has a long and respected history in the antiques trade.
Vale Farm, Saintbury, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7PX
Just a short drive from Broadway, Saintbury has an always interesting offering of architectural salvage - planters, garden furniture - and bric-a-brac, with some paintings and prints. There’s also up-cycled furniture.
Trinity House Paintings
35 High Street
Broadway WR12 7DP
Trinity House is an international dealership with a presence in Broadway. It offers Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and modern British art.
Antiques - What to Shop for in the Cotswolds
It can be tricky to find a real bargain when shopping for antiques these days - the internet has acted as a great leveler when it comes to prices. If you’re looking for a bit of inexpensive vintage shopping, it’s worth remembering that we do have some smart charity shops to explore. Also (Top Tip!) look out for village fetes, where the bric-a-brac stall often comes up trumps - if you get there early enough.
In general, the Cotswolds is the place to look for a high standard of antiques, with good provenance. Shopping in the Cotswolds might just be where you find that investment piece that can be your pride and joy for years to come.
The Cotswolds is especially good in the hunt for certain kinds of antiques. We suggest pottery, art, garden antiques and Arts and Crafts Movement pieces.
There’s a strong pottery legacy locally. Winchcombe Pottery, for example, goes back to at least 1800, and is associated with important names such as Michael Cardew and Ray Finch. There are many collectors locally and, on the basis that much of the stock in antique shops comes from private homes, it follows that the
the Cotswolds is a place to look out for ceramics. The same seems to apply to the market for art and collectable prints.
The local passion for gardening, fueled by the number of historic houses and gardens in the Cotswolds, ensures a strong architectural reclamation and garden antiques industry.
Finally, it should never be forgotten that the Cotswolds has a strong association with the Arts and Crafts movement and so there is a particularly strong offering of objects and furniture from this era. You could start your day with a visit to Broadway’s Museum and Art Gallery, with its collection of William Morris tiles (You could also visit William Morris’s wonderful Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade - do book ahead though.)
Chipping Campden has a central place in Britain’s Arts and Crafts story. In 1902 C.R. Ashbee, a leading figure in the movement, moved with his Guild of Handicraft from London’s East End to Chipping Campden. It was a major event - 50 Guildsmen and their families arrived that summer, along with their workshop tools and equipment. Hart’s Silversmiths in the local Guild building is the last remnant of that extraordinary social experiment. Their workshop welcomes visitors and to go there is like stepping back to the Edwardian era.
We wish you good hunting! You might just find a specialist to match your passion and, at the very least, you’ll be able to enjoy shopping in relaxed and beautiful surroundings.