Thanks to my sister Victoria (owner of Cherry Vintage Home), I have been to a couple of Country Brocante events, more often than not in her end of the woods in Sussex where they originated. The stalls are typically piled high with all sorts of vintage treasures as well as local produce, flowers, and the like. The backdrop to the ones I have attended before is typically your quintessential English market square, but not at the one I attended at The Grange at Northington recently.
As this is much more local to me (the Winchester side of Alresford), and I had been wanting to visit The Grange for a while, it was a case of killing two birds with one stone.
The driveway on the approach to The Grange is as you might expect for a huge country estate (long and winding) – the Neoclassical house itself is anything but… Parts of the original building date back to the 1600’s. It was remodelled by various owners (not always successfully), and gradually became more run down over the years. Having been occupied by the army in the Second World War, it returned to its then owners who wished to demolish it. Much public outcry ensued, and thankfully it was rescued back in 1975.
Today most of the building is effectively a shell, but the effect inside with walls stripped back and the floors above you removed is hauntingly beautiful. The grounds are also impressive and add to the grandiosity. Today The Grange is mostly used as a rather grand Opera and Events venue, and is also now host to the Country Brocante as well!
Having come without a “shopping list” it was really nice to just wander the stalls and explore what each vendor had to offer. Most stalls have a theme, and all are immaculately put together Add beautiful floral arrangements and well-thought-out displays, and it makes for a real feast for the eyes.
It’s funny the memories that are conjured up from other people’s discarded goods – the ancient dolly pegs for example, reminded me so much of my Yorkshire Granny hanging out the washing when I was very small… Along with plenty of memories, I came away with a huge Hungarian glass jar, complete with cherry blossom twigs for our Easter Tree (which did prompt a few funny looks as I imagine some people thought I was wandering about with a table display)…
The Grange’s in-house caterer Becka Cooper (who was an opera singer before concentrating on her food ventures) was on hand with the most delicious array of salads and quiches to buy for lunch, and of course, there were glasses of The Grange’s Classic Sparkling Wine for sale (I am looking forward to doing a vineyard tour here in May!)…
It was a really lovely way to spend a morning, and I will definitely visit again when the Country Brocante is next here… In the meantime, do check The Grange’s events page for what’s happening throughout the year. It’s worth noting that whilst you may not be able to stay in The Grange itself, there are several houses dotted about the estate that are available to hire.
The Grange, Grange Park, Northington, Hampshire, SO24 9TG