Antique dealer Marcus Potts tells us that for quirky curious we should be heading to The Holt this weekend

Let’s go hunting bargains! Twice a year The Holt hotel near Steeple Aston plays host to an antiques fair which, since its inception six years ago, has become the go-to event for collectors and antiques enthusiasts in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds.

Antiques@TheHolt had humble beginnings, arising from the closure of a regular monthly fair in nearby Woodstock.

With nowhere else to display their wares, a small group of local dealers decided that, if nobody else was prepared to give them a platform, they’d do it for themselves. That was back in 2013, and since then the event has flourished – taking over even more rooms in the hotel and attracting visitors from across the south of England.

The enduring popularity of television programmes like Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt and Flog-it! suggest that we all still relish the chance discovery of some hidden gem, valuable heirloom, or money-spinning bargain.

There’s rarely a weekend goes by when there isn’t an antiques fair, large or small, in some corner of the country.

Oxford Mail:

While regular shoppers may be turning in increasing numbers to on-line retailers, choosing antiques is a distinctly hands-on affair. There’s no substitute for the tactile reward of picking up something that may be hundreds of years old and imagining its history. It is also the only way that the serious buyer can assess condition and quality – something that an on-line auction simply can’t match.

Read more: Enjoy feast of grassroots music - and a few famiuliar names - at this week's Oxford City Festival

Of course, there are still bargains to be found and ‘sleepers’ to be uncovered. A poorly-repaired, lidless blue and white teapot purchased from a Cotswold antiques fair in 2018 for just £15 turned out to be a rare example of early American porcelain, and sold for £575,000.

Oxford Mail:

Then, only last week, a chance find of another teapot on a pantry shelf realised over £1m when the auctioneer identified it as Qianlong period Chinese, dating from the mid-1700s.

While there’s no guarantee that similar discoveries await visitors to The Holt, they will still find a tantalising array of genuine antiques and intriguing collectibles.

Read again: Enjoy a once in a lifetime unique chance tio see the treasures of ancient Pompeii - right here in Oxfordshire

The fair has a reputation for quality. Many of the dealers tell us they keep back choice pieces for The Holt, to ensure that they can display the best possible examples of the antiques they specialise in – a fact that is not lost on regular visitors, some of whom never miss a fair at The Holt.

Oxford Mail:

About 40 dealers will be present over the two days offering a wide range of top-quality items, including silver, porcelain, paintings & prints, postcards, furniture, glass, jewellery, maps, bronzes and figurines, pottery and ceramics, books, clocks, brass and metalwares, boxes and treen, and all manner of curios and collectables. There will still be plenty of accessible items including objects for the younger collector.

With Christmas coming up, Antiques@TheHolt could also be the perfect opportunity for finding that unusual gift for the person who already has everything else.

  • Antiques@The Holt is on all weekend, with doors closing at 4.30 pm.
  • Entrance is £2 (free for accompanied children under 16) and there’s generous parking.