The lovely Adele ventures outside Manchester city limits for a day of time travel at Bygone Times….
Just outside of Preston, about an hour’s drive from Manchester, is the sister business of Botany Bay, Bygone Times. The antique centre, made up of three large conjoined warehouses, contains over 250 different stalls selling everything from old VHS tapes to vintage clothing to art deco furniture.
It takes a certain level of perseverance to tackle Bygone Times due to the sheer volume of items for sale, but the place is full of hidden gems – it’s just a matter of finding them. One can easily lose track of time, especially with the timeless mid-century tunes continually being pumped through the speakers, and spend an entire day hunting down bargains or rare pieces. You’ll never have the same experience twice, and will find something new every visit.
Alongside the stalls are the Penny Arcade and WWII exhibition, both found in warehouse three, where visitors can play classic game machines and examine historical memorabilia respectively. And of course, don’t forget to give your feet a break at Spinners Cafe for a cup of tea and some traditional Lancashire hotpot.
Whether you’re on the hunt for old books, wartime postcards, records, or some 60’s kitchenware, as long as you’re determined enough to fight through the unwanted bric-a-brac, the chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for. You may even find something you didn’t know you wanted!
For those who want the style of vintage without buying second hand, there’s a growing number of shabby chic, upcycled and modern pieces to be had too. Though if you’re not into that charity shop smell, you may want to bring a peg for your nose!
The best thing about Bygone Times is the fact it’s all indoors. Those who enjoy the thrill of a car boot but hate the rain (and subsequent mud) and also begrudge the early start must give Bygone Times a try. Plus all the stalls are unmanned, meaning less haggling and less pressure to buy, though negotiations are available at the front desk if you’re a little short on cash but have fallen in love with a particular item.
It’s the perfect way to spend a rainy bank holiday – especially for vintage lovers. It may sound a bit far out for Manchester dwellers, and with Botany Bay somewhat closer, it may be tempting to shop there instead, but I find it lacks the character of Bygone Times and can be slightly overwhelming. Make a day of it and it’s worth the journey. Just be prepared – I’m yet to leave without a purchase!
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