One of best places to save money as well as have a fun half-day out is at a car boot sale, which are held regularly throughout London. Apart from being able to pick up cheap secondhand/vintage clothes, DVDs, CDs, books, toys, electronic and electrical goods, plants, fresh food, home furnishings, designer pieces, furniture, assorted bric-a-brac, collectibles and numerous other items; you may even be lucky enough to find a bargain antique (numerous valuable antiques have been purchased at car boot sales over the years). Most take place on Saturdays and/or Sundays, while some are daily events or also held on other days of the week – confirm dates and times in advance (if possible) and bear in mind that most boots aren’t held on Easter, Christmas and New Year Sundays/weekends. There may also be a fee (shown below).
Among London’s best boot sales are the following (listed in A-Z order):
Battersea: Battersea Park School, Battersea Park Road, SW11 (mobile ' 07941-383588; : www.batterseaboot.com; noon-5pm Sun; early-bird entry £3 from noon, 50p after 1.30pm; Battersea Park rail). Not the cheapest but generally good quality.
Capital (Pimlico): Pimlico Academy, Chichester St entrance, SW1 (: www.capitalcarboot.com; 1-4pm Sun; early-bird entry £5 from 11am, £1 after 1pm, under-tens free; Pimlico tube). Good for vintage fashion and collectibles.
Holloway: Holloway Road, opposite Odeon Cinema, N7 (' 01992-717198; 8am-4pm Sat and 10am-2.30pm Sun; free entry; Holloway Road tube). Reasonable prices, attracts a lot of students.
Hounslow: Hounslow West Station Car Park, Bath Road, TW3 (' 01895-639912; : www.bray-associates.co.uk; 7.30am-4pm Sat, 7.30am-3pm Sun; free entry; Hounslow West rail). Good range of new and secondhand clothes at bargain prices, good for food.
Nags Head (Islington): 22 Seven Sisters Road, N7 (7.30am-3.30pm daily; free entry; Manor House tube). Good mix of antiques and collectibles.
Rotherhithe: Fisher Football Club, Salter Road, SE16 (: www.boot-sales.com; 11am-late afternoon Sat and Sun; free entry on Sat, £1 Sun 9am-1pm, 50p thereafter; Rotherhithe DLR). Good for collectibles, vintage clothes and bric-a-brac.
Shepperton: New Road, TW17 (mobile ' 07807-609283; 8.30am-late afternoon Sat; early-bird entry from 7.30am £3, 50p thereafter; Shepperton rail). Friendly boot – mixed bag but generally good quality.
St Augustines (Kilburn): St Augustine's School, Kilburn Park Road, NW6 (mobile ' 07949-010231; : www.thelondoncarbootco.com; 10am-3pm Sat; early-bird entry before 11am £3, 50p thereafter; Kilburn Park tube). One of London's most famous car boots, more reminiscent of a flea market than a boot. Good for collectables and general bric-a-brac. Close to St Mary’s (below).
St Mary’s (Kilburn): St Mary's Church of England Primary School, Quex Road, NW6 (: www.thelondoncarbootco.com; 10am-3pm Sat; entry £3 before 10am, 50p thereafter; Kilburn High Road tube). Close to St Augustines (above). A good selection of value-for-money vintage clothes, vinyl records, magazines, textiles and quirky home furnishings.
Stoke Newington: Princess May School, Princess May Road, N16 (mobile ' 07949-010231; : www.londoncarbootco.com; 9am-3pm Sat, 8am-2pm Sun; entry £3 before 9am, 50p thereafter; Dalston Kingsland rail). Draws a trendy crowd seeking collectibles, costume jewellery and vintage clothing,
Wimbledon: Wimbledon Stadium, Plough Lane, SW17 (mobile ' 07785-706506; Wed 10.30am-2pm, Sat 6.30am-1.30pm and Sun 7am-1.30pm; entry £2 for the first hour, 50p thereafter; Wimbledon tube/rail). Vast car boot with some 2,000 stalls, held three days a week. Great for antiques and collectibles.