Antiques In The West of England & Wales. The West of England and Wales have been favourite stopovers with professional antique buyers and private collectors in the USA for many years, but few realise the full potential this region offers.
and the annual Hay Festival, which attracts 80,000 worldwide visitors.
Visiting the UK on antiques buying trip for the first time can be, though needlessly, a daunting prospect, even established buyers meeting new contacts sometimes need guidance, so it is reassuring to find that many vendors in the region are members of either their local dealer or specialist association, or one of the two national associations, BADA and LAPADA. In fact the professionalism and integrity of many British antiques businesses are endorsed by membership of more than one professional body. Visit www.lapada.co.uk and www.bada.org for further information and full lists of members when planning your visit, it’ll pay dividends.
The region also abounds with some excellent antique fairs, notably at the Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, which is under an hour from BIA. The Showground is home to a very large fair on weekends six times a year by one organiser, and a regular Flea Market by another. There is also a very large fair held five times a year at West Point Exhibition Centre near Exeter with a capacity of up to 500 exhibitors, and a monthly fair on Sunday's at Malvern Showground, which is less than two hours drive away in the north of the area. There are in addition many more good quality fairs, some specialist such as Militaria, Glass, Textiles and Books, held throughout the region, mostly at weekends. Similarly, all the dealer associations in the area host their own events throughout the year, for example BABAADA, during March. LAPADA, Cheltenham Racecourse in October, which coincides with the Cotswolds Antique Dealers Association own 'Members Exhibitions’ in the same month.
At the last count over sixty auction rooms were found in the region with a vast range of items, some have weekly general sales and many hold scheduled specialist sales, the nearest sale to the visitors arrival is at Clevedon, about ten miles away.
Together with an established infrastructure of local supporting services, from a complete range of accommodation to car and goods vehicle hire, nearby shipping services and cargo agents based at BIA, ensures that the US antiques buyer has every facility that is necessary at their disposal to ensure a smooth and stress free visit, yet maximises time for the visitor to the full. This is backed-up by the claim that the comparatively congestion free BIA usually allows that the visitor will be on the road as quickly as possible. Indeed, with the close location of some sources it is quite possible that buyers could certainly get down to business within an hour or so of collecting their baggage from the aircraft.