When it comes to the local area, there are many hidden gems and historical icons to explore. Nothing has stood the test of time more than the beauty of GB Antiques Centre, more locally known as Hornsea Pottery. It's the country’s biggest indoor antiques and furniture centre and boasts 120 individual dealers, each offering something unique and beautiful, providing a vast choice and variety of wares. From elegant porcelain to quirky memorabilia, this place has it all!
Join us as we showcase another local attraction in Morecambe and the surrounding areas.
The history of Hornsea Pottery at Lancashire Leisure Park.
Starting as a multi-million-pound factory, the pottery factory with visitor facilities opened its doors to the public in April 1976. In the Easter week of 1977, the centre welcomed over 25,000 visitors alone. Visitors continued to grow as the centre's popularity grew and word spread.
Like many companies over the years, it saw its fair share of difficulties. Still, through each recession and each difficult spate, the thriving pottery factory continuously kept going and has seen an array of neighbours come and go in its time. After a hard financial period, in 1986, Lancaster Leisure Park saw the light with the installation of an impressive giant alpine slide (the largest in England), a wild west park, retail shops and even a model village.
Due to the unsuccess of a couple of Hornsea Pottery ranges, it took its toll, and the factory ended up closing. However, five years after the site was bought in 1988 by a company based in Stoke, the space received its new name, Lancaster Leisure Park. It became the home to the likes of The Factory Shop, a child play centre Magic Castle and the GB Antiques Centre, bringing beautiful creations back to the site. Lancaster Brewery and visitors centre opened in 2011, followed by many other local businesses. Although Magic Castle closed, allowing the GB antique centre to expand, Giggles joined the Lancaster Leisure Park family in 2013.
Like a Bull in a China Shop!
GB Antiques Centre has seen a lot of excitement over the years. however, it received significant publicity when an escaped bull tore through the centre. Lancaster Leisure Park is located next door to a local abattoir. Unfortunately, in May 2003, a bull escaped and literally became a bull in a china shop at GB Antiques Centre. Although there were around 200 visitors at the time, only one required medical attention and was treated for bruising to the shoulder after being knocked over.
Whilst quickly made into a humorous, ironic anecdote, many people were left somewhat scared, and the event cost the centre thousands of pounds worth of damage. The bull incident remains iconic, with acknowledgement of the event signified by the giant brass statue on the top of the entrance today.
So, what to expect at GB Antiques Centre?
Remember when you were younger, and grandma's house would be full of equipment made from brass, caricature mugs and random collections? Well, that is precisely what it felt like as soon as you entered Hornsea Pottery.
After paying our entry fee (£1.50 per Adult, 75p per child), we entered the first room. It was brimmed with everything and anything. There were brass weighing scales, unique lights, antique game sets and even sports equipment. Every item has a label with the price, and you are free to wander to enjoy the collection of antiques or search for that unique artefact.
As you venture further into the centre, you begin to appreciate the magnitude of the building and its contents. From beautiful solid furniture (at brilliant prices, might we add) to collections of vintage clothing, toys, books and much more. Each room is sectioned off into themed collections, making it easier to find something you may be looking for. However, there are so many beautiful items that many sections often feature similar variations,
Feeling old before our time.
When visiting an antique centre, the last thing you expect to find is technology from your own childhood (especially when still on the younger side of 30). However, in the depth of the rooms, we came across many "old" mobile phones, still in excellent condition and it was great to introduce the children to what devices looked like before the smartphone was born.
Our favourite section was undoubtedly the retro furniture corner. It featured many beautiful pieces of furniture, all in the style of the modern 80s home. It even showcased an early edition of the Apple iMac, another great piece of technology to introduce to the children.
What was intended to be a quick visit to find some decorative pieces for our home ended up being a three-hour exploration through time. Although we only came away with a stunning new vase and a vintage beer glass, there was so much we could have walked away with, especially with a bigger car.
There was everything from dog beds to solid wood dining tables and chairs. There was an array of grand old-fashioned bureaus that we could have easily taken home if we had the space. Each item varied from being a great upcycle project to charming pieces that were ready to use and upgrade your home.
Planning Your Visit
Whether you are visiting the area for a day or a local looking for an afternoon to find something to add to your own home or collections, a trip to GB Antiques Centre is well worth the visit.
Each year the centre attracts over 220,000 visitors of all ages and is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day from 10 am to 5 pm. More information can be found on their website, including the directions and complete history of the site.
Children are welcome, but if you happen to have younger ones, they can always be convinced to explore the centre with a promise of a trip to the soft play Giggles. There are also many breakable items inside the building, so keeping them close is recommended.
Whilst walking around, posters requested that you refrained from taking images without permission, but being so engrossed in the wares, we forgot to ask, leaving us with no images of the centre to provide. However, we would love to hear of any of your bargains or interesting finds from over the years from GB Antique Centre, so let us know by tagging us in images of your finds or email them to us at email@example.com.