Metropolitan Life: The shortlist: 8 Flea Markets

Most flea markets seem to have gone "up-market", with car boot sales now dealing in the traditional kitsch and tat. But a few still cling to flea market status.

IN LONDON

Greenwich, Thames Street, SE10. Open Sunday 8am-4pm. Not far from the Cutty Sark, Greenwich's flea market has bargains among the kitsch.

St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, WC2. Sunday noon-5pm. Reviving an ancient tradition of holding markets in churchyards, this is more craft than flea, but flea-market type finds can be winkled out.

Nine Elms Market, New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms Lane, SW8. Sunday 9am-2pm. Tagged on to the end of the main market, this flea market does a brisk trade in second hand TVs and other electrical goods as well as the more traditional fare of clothes and bric-a-brac.

AND BEYOND

Birmingham: Edgbaston Street, B5. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The flea market comes as part of three-market deal called: "the rag", "the row" and "the flea". Strangely, "the flea" is the market with new goods, while "the rag" has the qualifying bric-a-brac and second- hand clothes.

Bath: Walcot Street, Saturday. Bath's flea market is the perfect place to browse after a large breakfast at the Canary on Queen Street and before viewing the Roman baths. There's an Aladdin's cave of goodies to be found, from antiques to bric-a-brac and clothes.

Glasgow: London Road, G1. Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm. The Barras is probably the most famous flea market in Scotland, established at the start of this century. It's especially good for fake designer goods, also CDs and videos.

Liverpool: Great Homer Street, L3. Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm. "Paddy's" market began as a cheap place for seamen to buy clothes. It is reputedly "full of characters". The market still deals in shillings and pence so everything is priced accordingly. One of the most famous stall owners was Cilla Black's mum.

Chesterfield: Market Square. Thursday 7am-4pm. Located in one of England's largest open-air market places, in view of the famous crooked spire. The flea market section is hidden away among the more usual market goods.

Compiled by DOROTHY KOOMSON

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