Car boot sales vs jumble trails

car boot sales

This weekend I was lucky enough that there were car boot sales near me, but there was also a “Jumble Trail”. I’ve been going to car boot sales on and off over the summer, however I have never been to a “Jumble Trail” before. I decided to do some very scientific research and go to both in one day to compare the two.

Car boot sales

The car boot sale started much earlier, and whilst I didn’t set an alarm, I was there for just after 8.30 on a not particularly warm, but at least dry Sunday morning. It was the first Sunday after the August bank holiday and so it was quieter than I expected (the Bank Holiday one was massive) however there were plenty of stalls and it was as well organised as usual. I parked in the field they make available for parking and after a walk of about a minute I was through the gates and in. After 8.30 this car boot sale is only 50p to enter (although before that it is only £1 so it won’t break the bank either way). Whilst there were less stalls than I was hoping for, there were still many rows of cars with people’s odds and ends available. I only made a few small purchases on this particular occasion, but still enjoyed wondering around and looking at what was available. At this car boot sale, there are also some sellers selling new goods (a bit like a market stall) as well as catering facilities and toilets. icle could take part so that would go in its favour. For buyers it is free, but I just preferred the car boot sale!

The pros of car boot sales

All in one place

Plenty of parking

Toilets and catering available

Rows and rows of stalls

The cons of car boot sales

Have to pay to get in

Jumble trails

I decided to pop home between the two as I had a bit of time as the jumble trail was not due to start until 11. I set off but had my first dilemma. Where was I going to park? All the stalls were all within a mile radius of the organiser’s address but there was no specific parking place. In the end I just parked in a residential road near to the address of someone I knew who was hosting a stall that day. As it was a Sunday it was free parking, but this may be a factor depending on when the sales are held and where. Buyers would need to check parking restrictions prior to the sale.

Jumble Trail get you to sign up via their website if you are taking part as a seller and then buyers can download a map and see where the stalls are. Buyers can then target specific stalls if they want (eg children’s stuff only or homewares) but I found a lack of detail on the description meant they were too vague to be of any use.

The pros of jumble trails

Free for buyers

Map available showing what is being sold and where

The cons of jumble trails

Very spaced out

Not effective use of time

No specific parking available

No toilets or catering


I really like the idea of a Jumble Trail but in reality I was a little disappointed. Whereas at the car boot sale there was stall after stall of items, on the trail you would look at one stall, then you would look at the map and head off, often walking for quie a while before coming to the next stall. I love the concept but I just don’t know that it works. Perhaps if the area covered was smaller or the stalls were closer together I may have enjoyed it more but it just ended up feeling like I was walking around the streets aimlessly and I didn’t even find anything I wanted to buy. Another dilemma was what if I had found something I wanted to buy but it was quite large? Did I carry it back to the car there and then or carry on whilst carrying it? I didn’t want to keep moving the car (although I guess if you didn’t want to do the walking then that would be an option) and to be honest I got quite bored quite quickly.

Perhaps the sellers got more out of it – they had a later start than those who would be selling at a car boot, and obviously people without access to a vehicle would not be able to take their items to a car boot sale, so I guess this is a great option for them.

Overall I definitely preferred the traditional car boot sale, but I can see that both have benefits, and if the jumble trail movement picks up and more people are involved, I can see it being a lot more successful.

2 thoughts on “Car boot sales vs jumble trails

  1. Charlotte says:

    I’ve never heard of a ‘Jumble Trail’ until I read your post, it sounds really lovely in theory, but it’s a shame it didn’t pan out just as well in practice! Maybe it would work better if all the stalls were just on one residential street? I guess there’s a reason why car boot sales have remained so popular for so long! Really enjoyed your post and your comparison, it gave me an insight into something I wasn’t aware of before! 🙂

    • VE says:

      Yup you got it spot on – if the stalls were closer together it would have been a far better use of my time and I think I would have gotten a lot more out of it. Roll on car boot sale season!

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