A guide to Wales’ antiques and vintage businesses including centres and fairs has been produced for 35 years by former antiques dealer Paul Williams. The latest 2022/23 edition offers the largest number of antiques-related businesses to date – over 90.
The guide is distributed free by traders, tourist information centres, antique fairs and other outlets.
With a Welsh theme in mind, here is a focus on a few antiques centres that you can visit in Cymru.
Welsh blankets flying
Malthouse Antiques throws everything into the pot. Set in a 500-year-old building in the small town of Narberth in east Pembrokeshire, the centre offers antiques, arts and ceramics workshops and a studio pottery.
Neil Roberts has owned the centre for 12 years and says the business is going well with US buyers back on the scene.
“Persian rugs are good sellers and we can’t get enough Welsh blankets, they’re moving so fast,” he adds.
Roberts has a waiting list for space at the centre where the 25 dealers include Brita Rogers, who sells items such as Welsh check blankets at £95 and tapestry blankets at £265, with Ewenny pottery jugs at £40-50.
As Derwen Antiques Fairs, Rogers runs two antiques and collectors fairs in Carmarthenshire. One is in Llandeilo but she is also returning with a full house of dealers to the National Botanic Garden at Llanarthne with her antiques and vintage fair on Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29 after a three-year break.
Furniture is a good seller at Carole Derbyshire-Styles’ Vintage Home Styles Emporium in the Denbighshire town of Corwen.
A passionate advocate of reusing and recycling which play a big part in her business, Derbyshire-Styles said sales are steady at the 25-dealer centre. Visitors come from all over the country, including the north of England, armed with a shopping list.
Family run fun
Husband-and-wife team Elisa and Aiden Farmer and colleague Cathie Griffin own the Emlyn Antiques Centre in the busy town of Newcastle Emlyn in Carmarthenshire.
“We have a good following here, with pre-Christmas sales doing well, particularly Welsh blankets and throws which we sell from £45 to £200, although people are a little more cautious in their buying now,” says Elisa.
Declared by the local tourism people as the ‘world’s largest secondhand and antiquarian book centre’, Hayon- Wye in the Wye Valley in Powys is a book lovers’ dream ticket.
But books are not the sole attraction here. The Hay Antique Market has occupied a medieval building for 30 years and its warrenlike 18 rooms spread over four galleries offer collectors plenty of choice pieces.
The market has been run by Philip Parfitt for the past seven years, offering “all manner of china and ceramics from early pieces to 20th century collectables”.
He adds: “Like many retail businesses we have experienced issues over the past few years but we are still open seven days a week and are quietly confident that things will improve.”
If it is indeed books you are after, The Hay Cinema Bookshop is a place where you could get lost among the 200,000 out-of-print titles on every subject from art to zoology in this former cinema which has been a bookshop for nearly 60 years.
It’s a busy time at Les Phillips’ two businesses in the busy border town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire, where he owns the Llandovery Antiques Centre and Black Lion Antiques.
“We are ideally placed here for the border towns as well as Hereford and the M5,” he says.
“High-end stock is selling and we are seeing plenty of younger people who are buying recycled pieces.”
If you want an unusual atmosphere try a former Victorian sewage pumping station in Cardiff.
The Grade II-Listed building has been imaginatively turned into a 45-dealer antiques centre where visitors can buy while admiring some of the original pumping equipment.
It hosts a group of 45-plus independent traders.