Chipping Norton is located in the Cotswolds and has two really large multi-dealer antique shops. In our quest for the ultimate buying experience, we visit them both every time we are in the area. Station Mills is one of our all-time favorites. This is a large shop with over 6,000 square feet of display area. There are several rooms on two floors. Considering that Chipping Norton is just over the Oxfordshire Border in the Cotswolds, it has very reasonable prices. You can find everything in the shop from ancient coins and medieval rings, to Chinese import china and lovely majolica.
What I particularly like here is the way everything is displayed. There are some glass cases but everything else is out where you can look and touch it. Be as wary as you would be at home and try to handle any item you plan to buy. It is always buyer beware. There are plenty of vintage clothing and lots of 50s kitsch. I picked up a nice pair of Wedgewood candlesticks for about $30 and a Mason porcelain egg cup with a small under tray. I couldn't resist a book about the English aristocracy for £5.
Station Mills has become somewhat more gentrified in the last few years after a fire. There are still a lot of interesting dealers, but some of our old favorites that we would visit almost every year are no longer here. As with any shop, the stock is constantly changing so you never know what you will find but they are certainly always worth a look in. Allow at least an hour to look everything over.
The second antique market is The Quiet Woman Antique Center on the Oxford Road. As we walked in my husband spotted a watercolor of Warwick Castle that he thought was very attractive. Little did he know that our friend was hoping to find just such a watercolor. It was, however, priced out of his range. He examined it for quite a while and as it happened the dealer was in the shop. He came over to talk to me and ask me if I was the one who was interested and I said no and pointed out our friend. To make a long story short, he cut the price from £425 to £295 and our friend now owns a beautiful watercolor to add to his collection. Always ask what the best price they can do is, you might be surprised at how much you can save.
Both of these shops have a tea room and after a morning or afternoon of shopping it is wonderful to relax with a pot of tea and a sandwich followed by some wonderful homemade cake. The prices are reasonable, both shops have ample free parking and knowledgeable staff to help you find just the perfect collectible or antique. Both shops have long hours and are open seven days a week. They take credit cards as well but for the best negotiation, cash is preferred.
The shops are within an easy drive of Blenheim, The Rollright Stones and much more. The Old School House bed and breakfast in Little Compton is a great place to stay while you go about antiquing in the area. There are many other interesting shops in the area, these two are just personal favorites