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On the Antiques Trail

Home to antiques shops, emporiums and a number of fairs, follow the antiques trail in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond...

Whether you are a seasoned pro or somebody who just nips into a shop on an impulse when passing, antiques shopping can be both addictive and a great (if expensive!) hobby - when you’ve been bitten by the antiques bug, you’re always happy to while away some time poring over bric-a-brac, collectibles and the wonderful ephemera that can be found in these eclectic shops!

This part of Suffolk is well-known for some fantastic vintage centres and antiques dealers, a reputation cemented by the late 1980s TV series Lovejoy which centred around a loveable rogue antiques dealer starring Ian McShane. The show filmed in and around Bury St Edmunds, including Lavenham’s Angel Hotel, the Priory and high street in Clare as well as Long Melford’s antiques shops and the country lanes in Hadleigh. The popular TV series saw this area become known as “Lovejoy country” and still attracts fans of the show and visitors from all over the world who come to explore the filming locations.

We’ve put together this list of fantastic places in and around Bury St Edmunds where those who want to hunt antiques are definitely likely to happen across some hidden treasure, including not one but two huge Antiques centres in Long Melford alone! 

Risby Barn Shopping Centre, Risby

The Risby Barn Shopping Centre is situated about 3 miles west of Bury St Edmunds - within the village of Risby and features a wide range of antiques and collectables specialising in furniture from the Victorian and Edwardian era, with many pieces being rare or unusual.

The centre was founded in 1986 in the beautiful 16th century barn where it still trades from today and has developed into a bustling centre showcasing a staggering 34 dealers which is open seven days a week including bank holidays!

Owner Richard Martin whose vision it was to open the business, still runs the centre and oversees all the businesses within it – across two centres, a coffee shop, a garden centre, a carpentry shop, a sewing shop and a number of other businesses.

Smoking Monkey Antiques, Bury St Edmunds

Smoking Monkey Antiques is based on St Johns Street, in the centre of Bury St Edmunds and is a delightful and eclectic shop with an eye-catching exterior and an even more inviting interior.

The shop was opened by established antiques dealer Marcia in 2016 and has become the place to peruse and shop when visiting Bury St Edmunds – whether you are an avid antiques collector or the browsing visitor just looking around to see if anything takes your fancy.

With a continually changing stock including prints and art works, collectable books, vintage equestrian and rural bygones from a wide range of periods and a host of individual dealers on display, no trip to Bury St Edmunds is complete without a visit to Smoking Monkey Antiques. Just be sure though to ask the story about “Jacko” – on display in the middle of everything and offering inspiration for the name of the shop.

Clare Antiques & Interiors, Clare

Described as “Clare’s best kept secret”, this charming antiques and interiors warehouse boasts an amazing variety of antiques provided by over 100 dealers and presented appealingly across four floors.

The centre is set within a beautiful converted grain storage mill in Clare – a market town on the bank of the River Stour about 30 minutes away from Bury St Edmunds and a filming location for the popular TV series Lovejoy.

Clare Antiques is open seven days a week and prides itself on knowledgeable and friendly staff who can offer expert advice about their stock and suggests you allow plenty of time to enjoy perusing and browsing their diverse and extensive collections.

Melford Antiques, Long Melford

Situated directly in the middle of one of Suffolk’s “wool towns”, the beautiful village of Long Melford – about 15 miles South of Bury St Edmunds, is one of the largest antiques and interiors in East Anglia - Melford Antiques showcases collections sprawled decadently across 4 floors and a showroom area of 30,000 square feet!

Open seven days a week including bank holidays, the collections cover weird, wonderful and sacred and range from decorative and retro items to reproduction furniture and curios, antiques and collectables and with more than 150 dealers selling from the centre, stock is guaranteed to change on a daily basis.

Long Melford Antiques Centre, Long Melford

Not to be confused with the previous listing, Long Melford Antiques Centre specialises in antiques furniture with a meticulous showroom which features desks, tables, bookcases, wardrobes, chairs and much more made from Oak, Georgian Mahogany, Rosewood and Elm to name just a few types of wood.

Owner Geoffrey McGregor models the centre around the offer of “old fashioned values in a modern world” and although his business is antiques, it is also right up to date with a fantastic user-friendly website which allows the shopper to find pieces by searching for the age, description, material or dealer of a certain piece.

Long Melford Antiques and Vintage Fair

If all that has whetted your appetite for all things vintage, why not pay a visit to the monthly Long Melford antiques and vintage fair to browse for your own curios, collectibles and antiques?

Offering a great foray into antiques buying as well as some serious collectible pieces, there are 50 tables selling antiques, jewellery, ceramics, collectables, militaria, vintage clothing and accessories, vinyl records, ephemera.

The fair is open for both days of a weekend every month at The Old School, Hall Street, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9DX and costs £1 for entrance (children under 16 go free) with a dog-friendly, wheelchair accessible site. The next dates are Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April between 9.30am and 4pm and then the final weekend of every month throughout the year (including December).

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