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Antiques Roadshow
Despite the name, this site is nothing at all to do with the popular BBC TV programme. Instead, it's a reasonable information resource for the antique hunter. Antiques Roadshow includes a directory of antique shops and auctions around the UK plus a list of upcoming antiques fairs and shows - all ordered geographically. One word of warning though, the navigation on the site can be tricky - make sure you scroll down the page to see all the information listed.
Antiques Web
Antiques Web is a huge directory of antique resources in Great Britain. The information is ordered by geographical area and you'll find details on auction houses, antique shops, antique fairs and even a list of hotels to stay in while you're digging out that Chippendale sideboard.
BBC Online - Antiques on the Web
Every antique hunter's favourite TV programme has to be the Antiques Roadshow. Visit this BBC site and you can search through some of the valuable treasures the show has turned up. This site's got all areas covered - you can have a virtual chat with other antiques enthusiasts, check out the antique of the week and have a guess at how much it'll fetch at auction or test your knowledge in the online antiques quiz. The Buyers Guides section is packed full of invaluable background information which should help you value items accurately
Antique's World
If you want lists then you've come to the right website. Antique's World is packed full of information for anybody with an interest in antiques be they professional or enthusiastic amateur. The lists include a guide to local antique fairs and markets, culled from Antiques Diary magazine, links to collectors' organisations around the UK plus guides to collector's clubs, antique dealers and restoration and conservation services. The online articles are also worth a read, they're written by experts and cover topics as diverse as Clarice Cliff and Cruise Liner keepsakes.
This US site lets you bid for art, antiques and general collectable items stored in auction houses and antique dealers around the world. You can also search through the auction houses' online catalogues to find out what items are coming up for sale. If you want to gem up on a specific topic before you get the chequebook out, you should visit the useful Reference section of the site. The lively Community section, where you can chat live to industry experts or talk to other collectors, is also a good source of information and advice.
SalvoWeb specialises in providing information about architectural antiques, antique garden ornaments and architectural salvage companies. There are links to the websites of the UK's major architectural salvage companies and a section devoted to classified ads for buying and selling items - this is the place where you're going to find that elusive cider press you've been after for years. SalvoWeb has just added online auctions to its roster of services and you don't even have to register to bid for an item. The kind of stuff being offered for sale includes cast iron lamp posts and marble church altars. And if you're after a specialist crafts person then check out this site; there are links to woodturners, stained glass makers and even a Bath Doctor who comes in and rescues your old enamel tub.
World Collectors Net
World Collectors Net calls itself the 'collectors portal' and it's true. No matter how obscure the objects you choose to collect, you'll probably find a kindred spirit in the Message Boards area of this site. The collectibles covered include popular items such as Swarovski crystals, Furbys and Barbie dolls as well as more conventional items such as Royal Doulton tableware. As well as being able to buy online, the site boasts lots of handy features and background articles as well as a comprehensive collection of links to other collectibles sites.
Collectiques is an impressive online guide to antiques and collectables. You choose your area of interest - be it art, sculpture, memorabilia, glassware or pottery - and then you simply search for the item you're interested in. The search will pull up information on antique dealers selling the item as well as any handy background research material. If it's model cars you're into then you'll love the Online Model and Toy Cars shop where you can get hold of all those Corgi and Matchbox classics. The gold and silver hallmark database is also an invaluable resource if you want to know what all those mysterious symbols really mean.
Of course some hobbies are a little more expensive than others. Most of us, let's face it, are not in the market for a plane of our own, even if we lower our sights from a brand-new Lear Jet to a second-hand Piper Cherokee. But we can dream. Join the assorted golfers, basketball players and Internet company CEOs in browsing the For Sale section. A second-hand Bell 206BIII helicopter for a mere £349,950? We'll take one in each colour.
Guide to spotting commercial aircraft
This useful little site was awarded a 'pick of the sites' plaudit by the Los Angeles Times. Then again, the webmaster boasts about receiving a 'geek of the day' award too. Still, the great thing about geeks is they are deeply dedicated, enthusiastic, and totally unselfish about sharing their knowledge with you. This has all you need to identify just about every plane currently flying the skyways. Pictures, specifications, history, you name it.
Softley and Page
Forget your happy schoolday evenings constructing Flying Fortresses from an Airfix kit and modelling cement, Softley and Page work from rather more upmarket materials. The company specialises in crafting replica boats and aeroplanes from silver. Examples of their intricate work on the site of everything from rowing eights and shows to modern superyachts, and vintage aircraft dating back to the Sopwith Camel. But you're the customer, you're paying the (hefty) price and you can commission any replica you want. Prices on request.
Wonderful world of model aeroplanes
A site name that wonderfully evokes the boy's own world of ham radios, crystal sets, home-made fishing rods and, well, model aeroplanes. No retro-style irony intended here though, this site is the business for experts and learner pilots alike. Whether you're into World War II craft, modern jet fighters, helicopters or the wackier hybrid models such as the 'hanger rat', this is the place.
Historic Wings
Historic Wings bills itself as the online e-zine for pilots and navigators - which makes it that much more tempting for the amateur enthusiast to take a peek. Fantastic features on great air battles from World War I onwards; Neil Armstrong's recollections on first-footing the Moon; a piece on the pioneering daredevils of the early US airmail service. And you can download aero calendars and wallpaper for 'the ultimate aviation experience'.
X List Plans
The sort of site the World Wide Web was made for. What could be more frustrating than looking for a long-lost 1955 plan for that Sopwith Camel or Seafire, and knowing the chances of the model shop in your particular town having that are roughly on a par with Elvis dropping round your house for tea and cakes? What you need is a plan superstore that you can drop into whether you hail from Lands End or John O' Groats.
Definitely not a site for those whose idea of plane or train modelling goes as far as picking up an Airfix kit from the high-street toy shop. Micromark is a US site specialising in the small tools modellers use to practise their art. Really, if you can't find what you're after in the online catalogue then it probably doesn't exist. In fact, if it's not in the online catalogue, go to 'hard to find items' and there may be some tips on tracking it down.
Plane Spotting
If there's a passenger vehicle, there's somebody standing, notebook in hand, jotting down its index number and time of departure. Trainspotting for the jetset, plane spotting has more of a global reach, though it's the craft rather than the glamorous destinations that feature heavily on this site. Airport information from around the globe; message boards (but of course) where enthusiasts can swap tips and unusual spots; and images of aircraft, so the uncertain can believe what their eyes are telling them.
Ken's Paper Collectables
A marvellous site for paper-based ephemera (no books basically) Ken and Joyce Graham's Newport Pagnell shop goes online with its cornucopia of autographs, comics, magazines, newspapers and miscellania. If you are after an early Kevin Klein autograph and have a mid-period Calvin Klein you want to sell, then this is the place. This is the sort of site that works brilliantly on the web - why spend hours hunting the racks when you can drop Ken an email with your wants list and let him source it for you.
The Movie Poster Page
Not our favourite sight at 8am. Check that flashing banana and heliotrope pink banner title. No, the Movie Poster Page certainly ain't shy. Before you get to the posters themselves, you have to scroll past an array of 'Best on the net' awards that would put the Old Trafford trophy room to shame. But once you're in the site proper you can forgive their hubris. It is, quite simply, very good.
We genuinely didn't realise there were so many hobbies. In fact our mistaken belief that sex dominated the Internet was shattered as we reeled beneath the hundreds of sites dedicated to knitting, quilting, home brewing, beekeeping and cigar collecting that this cornucopia of a site lists in detail. If the first rule of collecting is acquire and the second is swap then you have to bookmark About.com.
Pop Culture Collecting
As our consumer society churns out ever more products, toys, magazines, you name it, so do new groups of collectors emerge to turn them into collectables. Nothing is too new or too tacky as this site dedicated to the hoarding of pop culture ephemera demonstrates. Autographs, movies, TV, rock n roll, props, costumes, movie posters and memorabilia, sport, animation art and much, much more. What could be more appropriate than that The Spy Who Shagged Me heads the page.
Collecting Channel
Nice site in that as well as being an exhaustive listing of hundred upon hundred of hobbyist sites, it adds enjoyable and very readable content to hook you in and inspire your searches. Newsworthy headline features over Christmas looked at the collectables among festive gifts old and new, and why you shouldn't toss away those old fairy lights. Community resources include expert advice; how to identify if the piece of junk you've bought is really a gem, and clubs you can join.
Handbook of stamp collecting basics
Call us traditionalists, but we just had to go to the daddy of all collecting hobbies - the humble postage stamp. It's where many of us start, and it's probably the only hobby where snotty-nosed schoolkids move in the same market as millionaire international collectors (admittedly they probably don't swap doubles in the playground). This site is great because it goes back to basics - printing differences, determining paper types, tips on buying and hinging.
Portsmouth Stamps
Time was when you couldn't buy a pack of cigarettes or a packet of tea without finding a miniature picture card secreted within. British butterflies, footballers, rugby players, classic cars, the companies of the pre-War era left no collective group unturned in their search for ever more series, in order to lock ever more consumers into their product. Now, of course, there are literally millions of things sitting around in attics and junk shops. But how many complete sets? Portsmouth Stamps will sell you sets and singles and purchase the same from you.
'Admit it, you're a collector!' challenges the home page of the Orwellian entitled Suite 101. This is a steadily building resource - as more hobbies come online the real delight of the site is the eclectic chaos that ensues. Suite101 goes out of its way to involve the readers, inviting you to apply to become a section editor. That's resulted in the site being more than just a collection of bulletin boards with editorial content in each section.


UK Fishing
The premier place for fishing folk on the web. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned angler you'll find this mix of news, tips and guides essential reading. The design is easy on the eye and the content a mine of useful information for those who live in hope of landing a whopper. News of the latest tournaments from around the UK and a friendly guide to the best places to fish are complemented by interesting articles and a message board on which to brag about your latest catch.
Where to Fish
This site has only one aim - to provide a definitive guide to places to cast your line in the UK. And it succeeds admirably, with over 3000 pages of information arranged into a well-structured search engine. Whether you're looking for a quiet river in the countryside or the excitement of sea fishing, it'll tell you the best time of year to visit, how much it'll cost, what licenses and equipment you'll need and so on. There's also information on fishing clubs and organisations around the country.
Worldwide Angler
Based in the US, this site endeavours to appeal to fishermen of all persuasions the world over. Covering everything from shark fishing in the Pacific to trout fishing in Northumberland is a massive task, but this site carries it off with some aplomb.
It's neatly divided into categories, so you can reach the information relevant to you quickly and easily, while the in-depth articles will give you some good pointers to improving your catch.
Colourful fishy greetings cards and a photo gallery to which you can submit pics of you and your prize catch complete a comprehensive site.
A very attractive menu page leads you into this informative site in the joys of fishing for carp in Britain's lakes and rivers.
Beginners will find the advice on setting up a fishing rig invaluable, while there's also a list of useful books should you require additional information.
More experienced anglers can marvel at the pictures of some of the whoppers on show and try and compete by entering details of their own best catches.
Fishing in Wales
A well put together site, sponsored by the Welsh Tourist Board and dedicated to promoting some of the most beautiful and untouched fishing spots in the UK.
A friendly guide to the best places to fish forms the bulk of the site, including illustrations of the flora and fauna in each location. There's also a searchable guide to the best places to stay, together with information on local tutors and fishing shops.
The children's section has been expanded too, with games and educational tools featuring Ollie the Otter.
Scot Angling
You'll get two for the price of one if you visit this well-informed site. As well as a selection of interesting articles from the latest issue of International Rod and Line magazine, you'll find an excellent guide to fishing in Scotland. 
Thousands of fishermen flock to catch the Scottish salmon every year and this site will tell you exactly when and where to go, which permits you need and so on. There's even a selection of mouth watering recipes, if you can't decide what to do with your catch.
Seemingly in a constant state of flux, this site - from one of the largest manufacturers of fishing gear in the world - still has much to recommend it.
Aside from the expected information on where to buy your rods and lines locally, the main attraction is a great little game.
Involving a small download, it gives you the chance to fish offline in a variety of locations and put your fishing expertise to the test in an effort to land a whopper. You can then connect to the Internet again in order to register your high scores.
Tales of the Ultimate Sportsmen
If you thought that fishing was all about sitting around relaxing on the riverbank, then check out this entertaining and well-designed site.
It contains an ever-expanding database of stories from fishermen and hunters around the world. From humourous stories of the ones that got away, to hair raising tales of close shaves on the high seas, they all prove one thing - that fishing is anything but dull. You can submit your own stories too, which might go some way to redressing the bias towards US fishermen.


Garden of Origami
If your grasp of the ancient Oriental art goes as far as making origami boulders out of your wastepaper, then this is the site to get your fingers fiendlishly fiddling. A beautifully yet minimally designed page (but of course) with tutorials on grasping the basics, increasingly advanced, yet always easy to understand paper plans for you to follow. There's an interesting section on therapeutic Origami - for hand rehabilitation and mental health therapy, as well as related pieces on giant Origami and Origami humour and fiction.
Art of Marquetry
Marquetry, the excruciatingly detailed wooden inlay which you find set into the fronts and tops of antique wooden furniture dates back to the ancient Egyptian art of intarsia. Having gone strong for 3,000 years, the 20th Century was a bad one for the art. But with many people wanting a personal touch as a reaction against mass-produced furniture, marquetry is making a comeback, as craftsmen learn the art anew.
Card inspirations
There's a growing fashion in making your own greetings cards, and it certainly adds a personal touch. Of course, we wouldn't recommend hand-making all your Christmas cards, but now the festive season is gone, you can customise your birthday missives. Card Inspirations supplies the kits as well as the templates to embroider or stitch your own cards, and has a host of other ideas on using rubber stamps, stickers, even tea bags for an original touch.
Crochet Creations
If you thought that crochet just meant endless matinee jackets and baby blankets, think again. Crochet Creations stretches the boundaries of this idiosyncratic cousin of knitting, giving you hundreds of patterns (downloadable from the site, of course) for every conceivable item of crocheted apparel. There are links to related craft sites too, for those seeking hair scrunchies or fridgies (that's fridge magnets to us Brits). You will also find a host of excellent deals on buying your yarns online.
Fretworks International
If you're a fan of plant hangers, corbels, spindle rails and gable end trim then you're a follower of fretwork, and this is the site for you. A hobby for those with an eye for detail, nimble fingers and infinite patience, it also relies on quality materials and top-notch tools. Enter Fretworks International, based just to the west of Niagara Falls but available to fret fans worldwide thanks to the Internet.
Joseph Wu's Origami Page
Appropriately enough, this site is simple yet elegant in design, with beautiful pictures of finished folds. There are a multitude of origami sites on the web, even some dedicated to origami as mental health therapy (and why not) but this one scores for the clarity of its diagrams - after all, you want to use it to get started yourself - and the breadth of links to other excellent sites from around the world.
Otherwise known as 'the wonderful world of Rowandean embroidery. Where creative embroidery starts!' Much more than just a shop site selling the Rowandean kits, themselves some of the best in the business. The site offers workshops, hints and tips on cross stitch, links to other sites should you not find the patterns you are looking for, and embroidery shows you can visit to gain inspiration.
Stratford Brass Rubbing Centre
A hobby that enthrals children and can be good fun for parents too, and the Stratford Brass Rubbing Centre offers a brilliant introduction. Rather than wandering around churches in the hopes of finding something worth copying, and then getting trampled by tourists when you're in the creative act, the Centre has a range of copy brasses for hire. Plus there are mail order brass rubbing supplies, and the site has extensive historical background on brasses and how English churches ended up with so many of these extraordinary artefacts.


Digital Photography Forum
The days when digital photography was the preserve of early adopters and computer geeks are fast fading into the past. Nowadays, it's film that's under threat as digital cameras become smaller, cheaper and produce ever-better quality images. The Digital Photography Discussion Forums aim to share experiences and expertise between practitioners in this new medium. You'll find forums on the best models to buy, printers to use and software that can enhance your results.
Digital Photography Reviews
A simply invaluable resource for digital photographers everywhere. Basically a consumer's guide, offering unbiased information on buying a digital camera, scanner and colour printer, plus interesting comparisons on buying digital or going down the road of a conventional, film-eating 35mm camera. Also, check out the Hall of Images, for side-by-side comparisons of snaps taken by digital cameras alongside 'real' photos, and find out about courses you can take to up your output.
A History of Photography
There's something delightfully idiosyncratic about a website dedicated to photography which boasts about having no pictures! That said, if there's anything you need to know about the early years of the camera-related arts this is the place. The site goes into extraordinary detail. The beginnings of photography, significant movers and shakers in the history of the art, and a - for the enthusiast - fascinating description of the various processes used through the history of the camera: Albumen to Woodburytype, it's all here. Exhaustive lists of museums you can visit, and one of the most lovingly and painstakingly constructed sites we've seen.
Centre for Creative Photography
This University of Arizona site has quite a pedigree. The pre-online centre dates back to 1975, being formed by the doyen of US landscape photographers Ansel Adams. Small wonder then that the website is a resource of superb and sometimes breathtaking images. Where the site scores is in the scope and accessibility of its archives and collections. So you can view prints from the collection for research or buy reproductions.
Photography Link
Very useful site for professional snappers and serious amateurs. Good sections on museums and galleries will aid anyone researching or those of us who like to gaze upon great pictures. The other side of the site is a heavy-duty technical resource, with background info on the major hardware manufacturers and their products. It's especially good on lighting hardware and has a good pointer to paper-based magazines.
Photography Seminars
The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking." Not our words but those of photographer Brooks Atkinson, quoted on this marvellous training ground for snappers. And indeed you'll have to keep on looking, because Photo Seminars posts new images everyday for you to aspire to in your work. The brief is to give you all the training you need - online - there's even a calibration strip on the home page to ensure you're seeing the photos just as they should be..
The Art of Photography
Okay, so this is a Canon site. But you could excise the word 'Canon' from any of the masterclasses here and still be left with the last word in using film cameras to take terrific photos. Put simply, if you went through this site from start to finish, paying attention all the way, you'd have everything you could need. Perspective, lighting, shutter speeds, shooting snapshots, putting more creativity in your pictures - the list goes on and on.
Masters of Photography
No misnomer here. If you're seeking inspiration from the greats of photography then look no further. A simple list down the left of the page from Abbott to Winograd, you simply click on the artist's name and are offered a choice of articles, photographs and resources. Each artist has three thumbnailed images which you click to expand, you can then go to the articles, plucked from books, magazines and encyclopedias. And if you want to know more, resources will point you to background research.


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