Failsworth Antiques Quarter – the corner of Greater Manchester that’s a paradise for second-hand shopping

Failsworth has got it going on.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 2nd March 2024

A corner of Failsworth is quietly ticking away as one of the best shopping locations in Greater Manchester – and now its status as the city’s Antique Quarter has been cemented with an official brown tourist sign.

While many hear ‘second-hand shopping’ and immediately think of the Northern Quarter’s trendy vintage shops, when it comes to homeware, nowhere comes close.

Out here on the edges of Manchester and Oldham, there are enormous warehouses filled to the brim with antique furniture and second-hand decor.

This cluster of specialists sell just about everything you can think of – sofas, paintings, crockery, clothing, chairs, vinyls, lighting, art, ornaments, trinkets, merry-go-round horses and giant Santas driving miniature cars.

Whatever you’re shopping for, you’re almost guaranteed to find it – even if you do have to navigate teetering towers of furniture and crooked aisles of cabinets to get to it.


There are several antiques shops to explore here, just a few tram stops out of Manchester city centre.

Each one is an Aladdin’s cave for pre-loved and collectible items, whether you’re after props for a one-off event or a keepsake to carry with you for the rest of your life.


The largest of all these treasure troves is Empire House Antiques, a building so big and so full of delights that we genuinely got lost in the labyrinth and couldn’t get out.

After you cross the small work yard and pass the wall of safes at the entrance (this sounds like the start of a really crap fairy tale) you’ll find yourself in an enormous room packed to the ceiling with wonders.

There are leather Chesterfield sofas carefully mounted one on top of the other, towers of beautiful wooden cabinets, and even cars – yes, cars – on display to buy.


Upstairs is a clumsy person’s nightmare, with aisle after aisle of delicate glassware and ornaments.

There’s a secret corridor lined with books that takes you through to a second set of staircases, and a few small workshops specialising in everything from vintage fashion to grandfather clocks.

You can even find an eight-foot-tall Carex soap prop…

We stayed for ages and still kept finding new rooms – clear the afternoon before you come browsing here.

Immediately across the road is Antique World Manchester, which looks fairly innocuous from street level – just a navy blue sign above a warehouse door.


Go past the vending machine and the field of Santas (some so old their suits have faded to pink), head up the stairs, and brace yourself for a tardis full of antiques.

There are several traders operating out of here with loads of stands to explore, and you’ll usually find plenty of characters who can assist you with your rummaging.

What are you after? Is it a Rugby Songs vinyl where the men are totally naked on the cover? A traditional copper kettle? A vintage pink trunk? A set of crystal jars? A fur coat? A framed football shirt? They’ve got it!

All that along with beautiful wooden furniture, delicate glassware, and taxidermy animals of varying quality…

Next door is Cornerhouse Antiques, a smaller but significantly less jumbled shop, which also rents items out as props for film and TV.


And just down the road is Second Time Around Antiques, a showroom so full its items spill out onto the street outside.

These businesses attract all sorts of shoppers – collectors rummaging through cabinets looking for coins, young couples buying a matching set of Ercol chairs for their new home, set dressers trying to create a scene from yesteryear.

Just recently, a brown road sign – used to direct people to tourist attractions in the UK – has been placed on Oldham Road.

So that’s it, it’s official… Failsworth Antiques Quarter is on the map as Greater Manchester’s second-hand heaven.

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Featured image: The Manc Group