London's best record shops

Vintage records and second-hand CDs – expand your music collection here

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© Patrik Rytikangas

Whether you're looking for drum 'n' bass twelve-inches, sonatas on CD, rock LPs or jazz seventy-eights, London has plenty of record shops that'll scratch your music-buying itch. Here are some of the best. If we've missed you favourite, let us know in the comment box below or @TimeOutMusic, and we'll add it to our music map.

Top of the shops: here are our favourite record stores

BM Soho

Dance music, new, vinyl only

Set up by junglist Nicky Blackmarket, this store has kids queuing up to bag the latest promos. Expect nothing other than up-front club music: BM stocks a feast of house, minimal and techno, drum 'n' bass, dubstep, bassline and UK garage platters.

  1. 25 D'Arblay Street, W1F 8EJ
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Brill

General interest, new, CD only

A great place to add to your collection without being patronised. Stock is CD-only, but you'll find a rock section that sensibly mixes classic albums by Pavement with newer releases from Fleet Foxes, a soul rack where Marvin Gaye snuggles up to Corinne Bailey Rae and eclectic jazz, reggae, pop, country and world sections. Fresh (fairtrade) coffee and baked goods are the icing on the indie cake.

  1. 27 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL
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Dress Circle

Show tunes, new, CD and DVD

This OTT, thirtysomething temple to show tunes continues to wow professional thesps and drama queens alike with its staggering collection of show tunes on CD and DVD and selection of posters celebrating productions past and present. Head downstairs for scores and books.

  1. 57-59 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DG
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Flashback

General interest, new and second-hand, CD and vinyl

Flashback's mostly second-hand stock is treated with utmost respect. There are usually a few boxes of bargain-basement 12-inches going for pennies outside the front door, but inside stock is scrupulously organised. The ground floor is dedicated to CDs, the basement to vinyl.

  1. 50 Essex Road, N1 8LR
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Gramex

Classical, second-hand, CD and vinyl

Browsing here is as comfy and laid-back as flicking through a friend's collection; battered sofas and cuppas abound. The vast selection of quality used LPs and CDs is so constantly in flux that hundreds of records are cluttered on the central table at any given time while they await sorting. This is done by affable owner Roger Hewland, whose allegedly photographic memory is probably the only thing stopping the store sliding into chaos.

  1. 25 Lower Marsh, SE1 7RJ
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Harold Moores Records

Classical, new and second-hand, CD

This is not your stereotypical classical music store: young, open-minded staff and an expansive stock of new and second-hand music bolster Harold Moores' credentials. This collection sees some great old masters complemented by a range of eclectic contemporary music, including plenty of avant-garde and electronic issues by independent labels like Touch.

  1. 2 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7HQ
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Honest Jon's

Jazz, soul, reggae, world and hip hop, second-hand, CD and vinyl

This legendary record shop's owner had the foresight to lend former hired hand James Lavelle £1,000 to set up Mo' Wax records in the early 1990s. Jazz, soul, revival reggae and global sounds remain the house specialities.

  1. 278 Portobello Road, W10 5TE
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Intoxica!

General interest, second-hand, vinyl only

Intoxica! is kitted out with bamboo wall coverings and glowering tribal masks, so the browsing experience is as big on character as it is on classic records. The ground-floor shelves are stacked with everything from reggae, funk and '60s beat to exotica and easy listening. The basement is packed with soul and blues, and its jazz section is especially big on British artists.

  1. 231 Portobello Road, W11 1LT
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Kristina Records

This local record store attracts crate diggers from across London. It's where a discerning selection of new and used vinyl across all genres (including some hard to find gems) meets books and ephemera. Kristina will also buy or exchange single records or collections.

  1. 44 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XJ
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On the Beat

General, second-hand, CD and vinyl

Spend 15 minutes thumbing through the racks here and you'll definitely come out with something you'd forgotten you always wanted. The well priced, mostly vinyl collection is crammed into a small room, walls lined with posters and dog-eared music mags that date back decades, and, according to its manager, covers 'everything but classical'.

  1. 22 Hanway Street, W1T 1UQ
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Out on the Floor

General, second-hand, CD and vinyl

This three-level, three-shop operation is a sanctuary for serious record collectors in an area short on decent options. Out on the Floor itself is in the basement and stocks guitar music, while the ground floor hosts Up at Out on the Floor, housing mostly 12-inch reggae and ’60s soul. In between is Backroom Records, catering to the upper end of the collectors' market.

  1. 10 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ
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Phonica

Dance music, new, CD and vinyl

The doors are always wide open at this lively, dance vinyl hubbub, where you'll find countless racks of carefully selected records favouring the deeper and edgier side of club music. CDs are displayed on antique wooden tables, boasting the latest alt-indie and electronic releases, while box sets take pride of place in a glass cabinet. The staff - DJs-about-town - are happy to help.

  1. 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ
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Reckless Records

General, second-hand, CD and vinyl

Having oscillated in the past between the Reckless and Revival names, this shop in Berwick Street sells everything from rare rock vinyl to classic drum 'n' bass. They'll buy most kinds of music, and will make house calls for large buys. They also buy CD box sets, limited editions and DVDs.

  1. 30 Berwick Street, W1F 8RH
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Rough Trade East

General, new, CD and vinyl

Rough Trade Records celebrated its thirty-fifth birthday in 2011, and this temple to indie music has never looked healthier thanks to the impetus provided by its expansion to Spitalfields in August 2007. The East wing's truly inspiring, 5,000sq ft loft-style store, café and gig space offers beats and treats for local scenesters, who flock here in their hundreds.

  1. Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
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Sister Ray

General, new and second-hand, CD and vinyl

Previously Selectadisc, Sister Ray remains a mecca for Soho beat obsessives on their lunch breaks, what with its flatscreen TV and turntables – not to mention an extravagantly wide-ranging stock. Much is on vinyl, but they also stock CDs, DVDs, books and T-shirts and back-cataloguing is their specialty. Staff are well informed but not snooty.

  1. 34-35 Berwick Street, W1F 8RP
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Sounds of the Universe

General, new and second-hand, CD and vinyl

Its affiliation with reissue kings Soul Jazz records ensures this store's remit is broad. On the ground floor, grime and dubstep 12-inches jostle for space alongside new wave cosmic disco, electro-indie re-rubs, Nigerian compilations and electronica. A good number of listening posts offer insights into a diverse mix of new releases, while the second-hand vinyl basement is big on soul, jazz, Brazilian and alt-rock.

  1. 7 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DA
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Users say

6 comments
DnR
DnR

DnR Vinyl - Croydon - We stock a massive amount of oldskool house and garage vinyl as well as grime, dubstep and drum & bass. Visit our store at 18 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon, CR0 6AA or check our website www.dnrvinyl.co.uk

Brian
Brian

Record & Tape Exchange in Notting Hill is still the best record shop in London. They have branches in Greenwich and Soho as well. You can always find some absolute gems if you root through the racks. I've seen some incredible rareties in the cabinets as well - as a hardcore psych fan and lover of Bollywood soundtracks, I was amazed to find exactly the pieces I needed for my collection, even if the chap that served me was sullen, and smelt a little. It added to the shop's charm. Happy Customer!!

Julius
Julius

Hi! I am searching for the US Beatles single of Lucy in the sky with diamonds and on the B-side "When I am 64" (red vinyl). Can you help me out? Thanks in advance! Julius (Netherlands)

Marion
Marion

That's the way, I like it!

adriana
adriana

you missed ALLAGESRECORDS!!!!

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