The return of Bedford Flea this weekend

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Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce Market is back for 2024. Image: Bedford Flea
Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce Market is back for 2024. Image: Bedford Flea

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – yes, Bedford Flea season is back and we cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for us!

The first market of the year is on this Sunday, 12 May with organiser, Laura Holmes, flying solo as her former partner in crime, Talia Giles, concentrates on POP Bedford.

“It’s been a lot of work getting ready for our 2024 launch, but I can’t wait to put on my hi-viz and welcome back all our lovely traders and customers old and new to St Paul’s Square,” said Laura.

As ever, from 10am until 3pm you’ll find stalls in St Paul’s Square, right in the heart of Bedford, with 40 local businesses represented. Launched in 2018, Bedford Flea was originally conceived as a way to drive much-needed Sunday footfall into the town centre. Six years (and a global pandemic) later and it’s certainly delivering on its aim, with thousands of visitors coming from near and far.

A visit to Bedford Flea is the perfect way to enjoy your Sunday, so take a stroll along the Embankment, grab a coffee, have a mooch around Bedford’s indie shops and cafes and then hit the market.

To whet your appetite, here’s what to expect from the year ahead at Bedford’s most vibrant market…

Flea Alley

Explore an Aladdin’s cave of antiques, vintage, retro, collectables and curiosities in ‘Flea Alley’ where you’ll also find secondhand records, vintage clothing and a whole heap of nostalgia.

Bedford Flea Affordable Art 2024. Image: Bedford Flea
Bedford Flea Affordable Art 2024. Image: Bedford Flea

Affordable art

Discover an array of talented artists from Bedford and the surrounding area. Abstracts to realism, illustrations to printmaking, photography to watercolours – there is art to suit all walls and tastes. 

Local produce

If you’ve worked up an appetite, head to local produce to stock up on locally grown and homemade fare including fresh flowers, bread, cheese, sauces, jams & chutneys, cakes & bakes, gin, rum and so much more. There is also lovingly made skincare & home fragrance as well as hand-crafted baskets & ceramics.

Feeling peckish?

If all of that shopping makes you peckish, then stop by the street food stalls to refuel and take a moment to soak up the atmosphere of the market by enjoying live music from local musicians and vocalists, once again sponsored by Bedfordshire indie business, Seeing Eye Rum. 

Acoustic Amy is one of Sunday’s performers on the Seeing Eye Rum stage.

Meet the traders

We asked some of the Bedford Flea traders what makes the market so unique, and they all said that being part of the ‘Flea family’ was a big part of it.

Graham and Alison run Workbench 73 and have been trading at Bedford Flea since 2021, selling their upcycled PAT-tested lamps. Graham, the creative partner of the team, started making lamps as a hobby during lockdown, but, says Alison, “It got to the stage that we had more lamps than we knew what to do with and had run out of friends to give them to.” 

They applied for a pitch at Bedford Flea and “we were welcomed as part of the Flea family”.  

“Bedford Flea has given us a reason for us to do something worthwhile and useful with our time now that we have retired. The friendly atmosphere of Bed Flea Market has proved a welcome tonic.”

Grower and florist, Jane Hutcheon of Hay Lane Flowers, loves the fact that Bedford Flea gives her a chance to meet her customers face-to-face and to reach a wider audience than she can based on her farm in a rural location.

Jane Hutcheon of Hay Lane Flowers. Image: Hay Lane Flowers/Instagram
Jane Hutcheon of Hay Lane Flowers. Image: Hay Lane Flowers/Instagram

“Being a member of the Flea family has allowed me to work with a wide range of other local businesses and access opportunities that I’d not have known about without this amazing network of people,” she said.

Artist Tabitha Mary, well-known for her travel prints of local landmarks, said she absolutely loves selling her prints at Bedford Flea.

“What I adore most is that each market has its own unique vibe, making every visit fresh and full of excitement,” she said. “It fruly feels like being part of a special community and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I’m already counting down the days until the next Flea – can’t wait to see everyone.”

The market will return to St Paul’s Square on the second Sunday of the month until November. 

It’s family & dog-friendly and there is free parking all day in all council-owned town centre car parks every Sunday. The nearest multi-storey car parks are Lurke Street or River Street.

Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce, St Paul’s Square, Bedford, MK40 1SL