Car Boot Sales-All You Needed To Know!

We’ve been running the Car Boots for some years now, but did you know the idea originally came to the UK from Canada in the early 1970s.

Father ‘Harry’ Clark a catholic Priest from Manchester first introduced the car boot sale to the UK after seeing a similar event being held in Canada while on holiday there.  Thanks to Father Clark, car boot sales now happen regularly at thousands of sites across the UK every weekend of the year.

Apparently the most successful booters are in London, who make £83 on average per sale, followed by Wales with £80 on average. So don’t expect to get rich quick!

According to ‘The American’s Guide to Speaking British’

Car boot sale – This has nothing to do with the boots you wear on your feet. A boot sale is where hundreds of people descend on a field with cars full of unwanted wedding presents, clothes and other junk.

A car boot sale gets its name from the way goods are sold out of the back of a car. Car boot sales are often but not exclusively held in the grounds of schools and other community buildings, or in grassed fields or car parks

Usually the items are unpacked onto folding trestle tables, a blanket or tarpaulin, or the ground. Entry to the general public is usually free, although sometimes a small admission charge is made.

Although a small proportion of sellers are professional traders selling goods, or indeed browsing for items to sell, the goods on sale are often used but no longer wanted personal possessions.

Car boot sales are a way of focusing a large group of people in one place to recycle still useful but unwanted domestic items that previously might have been thrown away.  These car boot sales are a mainly British form of market in which private individuals come together to sell household and garden goods.

Car boot sales are also very popular in parts of Australia, and have a growing presence in Europe.

Advertised opening times are often not strictly adhered to, and in many cases the nature of the venue itself makes it impossible to prevent keen bargain hunters from wandering in as soon as the first stallholders arrive.  Haggling is common at car boot sales.  Guarantees are rarely sought or given at car boot sales and electrical items can rarely be tested at the sale site. Although tracing a seller can be difficult, in the UK they are still obliged to abide by the Trade Descriptions Act.

Unfortunately, it is not unknown for stolen goods or pirated videos and DVDs to be sold at car boot sales. So, be aware….

Thanks to for the following information:

Car Boot Sales: facts & figures

Each year 1.5 billion pounds are spent at Car Boot Sales in the UK. One million people visit Car Boot Sales every weekend during the season. Average spend is £9.61 per visit.

The UK has ‘Car Boot Sales’, what do others have?:

•France – Brocante / vide-grenier (empty your attic) / Troc et Puces (exchanges)

•Australia – Swap Meet        •USA – Garage Sale •Wales – Arwerthiant / Sêl Cist Ceir

•Ibiza – Rastrillo             •Netherlands – Kofferbakmarkt(trunk barge = barge-boot)

•Italy – ‘Sofitte in piazza'(= cash in the attic) also ‘mercato delle pulci’ = flea market; ‘mercato dell’usato’ = car boot         •Finland – Kirpputori  •Denmark – Loppemarked/kraemmermarked

•Sweden – Bakluckeloppis / Bakluckan           •Norway – Loppemarked / loppis


Tips for buying / selling:


•Get up early!   •Always bargain       •Check all the boxes    •Check for damage

•Beware of electrical items unless seen working


•Take plenty of change and plastic bags      •Use a bum-bag to keep money safe

•Take warm clothing       •Clearly display your items – make book and video titles easily seen

•Put a tablecloth / sheet on your table      •Price up the bigger items beforehand

•Take some stationery: pens, pencils & stickers    •Be honest, helpful and remain polite.

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