Car Boot Sales a Fun Family Day Out

Written by MiriamSpall on Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 08:24

On a random Sunday we were debating on what to do as a family until my husband suggested to go to a car boot sale. I was hesitant as my son was 3 and I thought it was going to be hard work to keep chasing him around as he tended to have his own agenda,  once we got there he started going through the 5p-10p toys boxes, he seemed happy to do just that for as long as we stayed that day.

But can a family trip to your local Car boot sale be made into a fun family day out? I think so. In the winter months it fills in the gaps where there is not much on to do, it keeps the kids busy for hours searching through boxes of toys and during the summer there is some additional entertainment for children such as bouncy castles, carousels, face painting and ice cream.

Most organizers only  approve of bouncy castles or rides that are reasonably priced otherwise it defeats the whole purpose of going to a car boot sale! The most I have paid for a bouncy castle is £1 per ride, do call them if you are worried about your kids spending too much time or money on it. We soon realized that providing a structure before leaving the house works a treat to avoid him pushing to buy more toys once his pocket money had run out.

Treasure huntWe go to a car boot sale looking for specific toys, sometimes I even print pictures out, in this way it makes it more entertaining for him and stops him from trying to buy everything that gets his attention.

Teach them how to count money: £2-£3 pocket money goes a long way  in a car boot sale, looking for toys and asking for prices teaches kids basics concepts such as: expensive or cheap, money denominations and counting. The basic concept of saving is craftily being introduced when they hunt down for bargains and haggle to get prices down. This is a skill I wish I had learned when I was young.

Surprise boxes: Some stall holders are quite creative and sell nicely wrapped miniature toys or sweets for 50p.  Kids love this!  It is the unwrapping process that Alex enjoyed the most and it was a nice treat for him. Talking to a few car boot sales organizers, this is what they had to say:  Ardleigh boot sale in Colchester says:

 What activities do you offer for kids? All throughout the season we have a bouncy castle, mini carousel & bouncy slide, these are all situated in one area by the large oak tree on site and prices are on average £1/ride for the bouncy castle or 3 slides and £1 for the mini Carousel . We also have at least one ice cream van on site every sale.  If buying, kids love to spend their pocket money & can buy a lot with their money, plenty of bargains to be had

When is the best time to come to a car boots sale with the kids. Anytime from 6am, the best items sell fast!

Stonham Barns car boots sale says:

What activities do you offer for kids? Stonham Barns has a whole range of child friendly items at Stonham with crazy golf, a playground (next to the car boot) and I think this year we will bring in an ice cream seller. The Owl Sanctuary is very popular with kids but there is a fee to enter this.  Stonham is very lucky as it has shops at the venue so, anyone coming to buy at the Car Boot has the option to look at the various shops including a Toy Shop (Bear factory), Pet Shop, Sweet Shop/Ice Cream shop, Restaurant and a few adult aimed shops. 

Face painters are invited to attend most of the events at Stonham. 

Most of the shows that take place at  Stonham Barns  are on the Sundays (best day to go) because the Car Boot also takes place at the same time so it’s always a day with lots to do. Car Boots generally run from February to November. I would choose to start coming in March and keep going (especially if the weather is good) till they become tired in November. Car Boots are weather related but, we all try and open every Sunday.

Needham Lake says:

What activities do you offer for kids? We are open Wednesdays and Saturdays, during the holidays it is very busy and we get loads of families. We recommend families looking for kids clothes and toys to come on a Wednesday.  We do not offer activities for kids such as bouncy castles or face painting  because  families come to take a look and then they move on to the lake and playground,  where their kids can burn some energy. Needham lake has a kiosk which sells ice cream and snacks and the Lake hosts events and activities for children throughout the year.  Our car boots sale can be a great day out for families we would just ask parents to be vigilant of their children at all times.

Dan’s Meadow Late Riser Car Boot sale in Martlesham, says :

What do you offer for kids? We have purchased our own snack bar and sell children's drinks along with Ice Creams and hot snacks.
Charges are made for parking and part of the money collected goes to the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Many of our Car Booter's are regulars and have become friends. Children often accompany their parents and seem to enjoy the enterprise of being able to make some money from items no longer required, in a safe environment.

Car Boot Sales in Suffolk are a Fun Family Day Out! They are great for finding kids toys, fancy dress costumes, and clothes that are in very good condition and for us grown ups, well everything else! Find below a list of Car boot sales in Suffolk, if you are an organizer feel free to send me your details and I will add them to the list at,  please include any activities for kids or tips for families thank you! Car boot sales in Ipswich

Car boot sales in Colchester

Car boot sales in Needham Market

Car boot sales in Stowmarket

Car boor sales in Lowestoft

Car boot sales between Farnham and Saxmundham.

Car bot sales in Woodbridge

Car boot sales in Bury St Edmunds



Image of Alex and Miriam
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Where To Take Our Children