Brighton Girl Guide: How To Be A Car Boot Queen

Come with me, it's a Sunday morning. It's about 11am and the possibility of a hangover is strong. Pop into your local cafe, grab a coffee, bring loads of change, we're going car booting! 

If you're in Brighton, the chances are you've been to the car boot on a Sunday morning at arse o'clock. Yes, there are a few but today we are going to focus on the two main players - The Marina and The Racecourse and I'm going to give you some tips to stop the punters spotting you a mile off. 

brighton car boot sale guide


First off - which one? This is a big choice depending on what you're after. The Marina's strengths are it's antiques, it's vintage and it's decent clientele. You will pay more for your bits here and lemme tell you, the sellers know this. The Racecourse is definitely more affordable - less specialist items including every day gear, clothes , tools and bits and bobs. 

The best tip I can give you is know who is a regular seller and who is doing a clear out. A good way to tell this genuinely is who is at the front (closest to the entrance) and who is at the back. The serious Sally's will get there at 6am with a haul of items and will certainly be taking that shit home with them or to the next car boot.

Image by Brighton Marina Car Boot

Image by Brighton Marina Car Boot

The last minute, ‘clear out the cupboard’ people will be at the back with stuff on the ground and looking very, very bored. They will be very happy to part pennies for their wares - more so as it gets to closing times. Haggle, haggle, haggle. Even the professionals will say a higher price than required but will haggle less than the amateurs.

It's in your interest to act aloof and not that interested even if you come across a gem. The pros will know what is legit vintage and will charge you an apt amount for it, the amateurs will sometimes not. I've found myself telling sellers before that things they're selling for £1 are worth much more, be decent about it. Don't con Mrs Miggins out of something precious. 

Your timing is essential, first thing at the car boot; people will not be willing to part with anything for a cheap price. Come about 1 hour before close and you'll be much more likely to grab a bargain. Try to focus on what you've come for, for example my eternal search for a metal watering can. On good days I've managed to bag a Bialetti coffee pot for £1 and a pair of Nike trainers for £3. Oh, and bring your tote bags. You'll need them.

brighton car boot sale guide


Get a good spot by turning up early. They'll say they open at 8, get there for 7:30. For the love of God, bring a thermos with your chosen hot beverage in and some snacks. Both have burger vans but the only thing worth while is the cheese on toast at the Marina.

You'll be hungry and tired. Bring a fold down table, a cloth for the table and chairs. Trust me, these are 100% worth it. You want to attract people to you so set your table up nicely. If you're selling clothes , being a clothes rail and hangers, people don't love raking through your dirty IKEA bags. 

brighton car boot sale guide

Set yourself a limit on buying other stuff. You're there to sell and get rid of things - try to remember this !! I usually set a fiver limit and this can get me a whole load of tat. As tempting as it is, try to limit your purchases. On this note, bring at least £10 change and something to keep money in; in my opinion a bum bag is best (and cool now, honest) 

Bring bags, stand your ground with hagglers and decide early on about what to do with the leftovers. I usually donate what I can to charity if the mind set is to "clear out" but do not to let go of something that can make you £5+ on eBay.  Pennies make pounds and all that. Be cheeky but polite, be courteous yet curious and for goodness sake, remember your bags !! 

Written by Amy Smith