A busman’s holiday exploring Cotswolds antiques shops

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

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Well I’m back. I’ve been on holiday. My wife and I went to the Cotswolds as we do each year.

It’s really a busman’s holiday, as the area is famous for its antiques trade. I am always on the look-out for new pieces to buy and the Cotswolds gives me that balance between relaxing and having some time as a family, as well as not quite leaving work at work.

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

We go there to buy antiques as each area in England has its own specialities. Going to a different area (especially one like the Cotswolds, where antiques shops are so prolific) means I can fill in the gaps at the centre. I can buy things like teddy bears which are quite hard to get hold of in the North West, and so they sell really well at the centre. Our logo is a gorgeous old teddy bear so I always like to have some in stock, as it’s often what we get asked for.

In the Cotswolds they tend do a lot more work with wood so I pick up things like string holders, beautiful little wooden boxes, small decorative pieces and carved fruit (which again sells well).

It saddens me to say though that, year-on-year, the Cotswolds is not what it was. Speaking to an antiques expert down there, I was amazed to learn that 10 years ago there was 57 antiques shops in Stow on the Wold and today there are just six.

Incredible figures to comprehend.

Most of this can be put down to the fact some American visitors are still wary about travelling, even after so many years since the 9/11 attacks.

Once Americans would descend from Heathrow Airport to start their “antiques trail”. It would take them from the Cotswolds through Chester up to the Lakes and then on to Edinburgh.

Of course all the cities on the antiques trail have been affected now, but they have other mainstays, other than antiques to keep the visitors coming.

Chester has its race course, the Lake District has its hills and walks and Edinburgh surely is the capital of weekend short breaks. But aside from the exceptional beauty of the place, the Cotswolds is made up of tiny tea shops and exquisite antiques shops.

That said, we’ve had a lovely time and came home with a boot full of gorgeous antiques to sell.

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