The Great British Car Boot
Whether you're a dedicated deal hunter or just enjoy a day out with the family, it seems everyone loves a good car boot sale.
Research by Zuto found that 8 out of 10 Brits have visited a car boot in the last 12 months. They're a chance to meet people, practice your bartering skills and pick up weird and wonderful things that you can’t find on every high street.
We've put together a few tips on getting more for your money at car boot sales, as well as recommending some of the best cars to take with you and our guide to the top car boots in the UK.
Top tips for car booters
If you want to get the most out of a car boot sale, take a few tips from us. Whether you're a buyer, seller or a bit of both, these hints will help you to snap up bargains and turn a profit.
Tips for sellers:
• Location is key. If possible, set up shop somewhere that's going to attract a lot of footfall: think burger vans, entrances and exits, even the toilets! The more people passing by, the more opportunities you have.
• Make sure you bring enough change and a good mix of large and small values (there's always someone who'll pay for a 50p toy with a £20 note!) This keeps buyers happy and makes sure you don't have to accept any unfair deals either. Don't forget to set aside some cash for the pitch fee.
• Come prepared for all weathers – this is Britain, after all. Keep waterproofs handy for yourself and clear sheets to keep your stall nice and dry. You'll be glad you brought wellies and some cardboard to stand on when conditions get muddy.
• Develop a good sense for pricing, and be prepared to haggle. Some people don't price items at all, or only price high-value ones: whatever you do, bear in mind you might need to accept a bit less than you were expecting sometimes. Don't underestimate the social aspect of car booting: striking up a conversation with customers is a good way to get them interested.
• Keep your car clean and shiny. Nobody wants to visit a grotty shop, and the same goes at a car boot sale. A bit of extra presentation can go a long way, too: fairy lights and bunting are just a couple of ways to make your stall stand out from the rest.
Tips for buyers:
• Arrive early. The best bargains are snapped up by those who get there first, so get there at opening time to give yourself plenty of choice. However, closing time's also a good time to pick up something at a discount – many would rather sell something than take it back home.
• Don't be shy of haggling. Most items at a car boot sale are reasonably priced, but that doesn't mean there's no room for (polite) manoeuvre. If neither of you will budge on the price, consider coming back later.
• If you're planning to car boot regularly, make friends. Networking can be a great way to source particular items cheaply, and if nothing else, it's good to meet new people!
• Know what you're looking for and don't buy items just because they're cheap. It can be tempting to spend through your cash before you've had a chance to look around properly, but going in with a plan will ensure you go home with what you came for.
• Keep a sharp eye out for valuable items. To the untrained eye, old knick-knacks and cigarette card collections can look like junk, but they can be worth something to the right buyer. Developing a nose for hidden treasures is all part of the fun of car booting!
The Top 10 Car Boot Sales in Britain
Car boot sales are a proud tradition here in the UK, and there's sure to be a local sale nearby wherever you live. Here’s our top 10.
Studley Car Boot - Studley, Warwickshire Free entry. £10 per pitch and car.
Chelford - Macclesfield Free entry. £10 per car, £20 per van.
Taplow - Maidenhead, Berkshire £2 entry before 11:30am, £1 after. £12 per car, vans from £15, trailers £5.
Colwick Car Boot - Colwick, Nottingham 50 entry per adult. £8 per car, £12 per van, towed trailers an additional £4.
The Big Boot - Peterborough, Cambridgeshire Free entyr. £7 per car, £15 per van.
Whitchurch Car Boot - Whitchurch, Bristol Free entry. £10 per car, £15 for cars with trailers, £20 per van, £25 for lorries.
Bowlee Car Boot - Rochdale, Greater Manchester £2 parking fee. £13 per car, £16 for estate vehicles, small vans, people carriers and 4x4s, £22 for large transit vans.
Edinburgh Corn Exchange - Edinburgh, Scotland Free entry. £13 per car, £18 per van.
Ashley Heath - Wimbourne, Dorset 50p parking fee. £5 per car, £7-£10 for minivans, larger vehicles priced on arrival.
Blaydon Car Boot - Swalwell, Gateshead 50 per adult, 10p for seniors. £8 per car, £12 per small van or car with trailer, £15 per large van, £20 per lorry.
The best boots
If you've got a lot of stuff to shift, it pays to choose a car with plenty of room for your goods. These roomy options will make sure you've got space to spare:
The Fabia offers 330 litres of normal boot space, which extends to 1,150 litres of space when the seats fold down.
320 litres with the seats up, 1,200 litres with seats folded – not bad for an economy car.
Reliable as ever, the Clio has 300 litres with seats up, 1,146 litres when folded.
Ford Tourneo Connect
1,029-litre space behind the seats, rising to 2,410 litres when you remove the back row of seats.
A 770-litre boot, not to mention it's a 4x4 – a lifesaver when driving in the mud!
Mercedes E-class Estate
The E-class Estate offers 695 litres of space normally, or 1,855 to 1,905 litres (depending on model) when the seats are down.
The van-based Doblo really shines here, with a boot capacity of 790 litres with seats up, rising to an impressive 3,200 litres down.
Boot capacity of 658 litres with the seats up, 2,297 litres when they're down.
For a compact car, the Zafira sure offers plenty of boot capacity: 645 litres with the seats up or 1,820 litres down.
The sporty Civic isn't short on space, with 477 litres with the seats up or 1,378 litres down.