London's best tattoo studios

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The capital is home to some of the world's best tattoo studios and parlours – with top artists such as Nikole Lowe, Saira Hunjan, Naresh Bhana and Mo Coppoletta. Whether you're looking for a discreet design or a larger one, here are the sharpest needles in town

  • London's best tattoo studios

    Flamin' 8 (click for more images)

    • Photo for Good Times

      Good Times

      Noon-7pm Mon-Sat. £100/hr, 147 Curtain Road, EC2A 3QE (020 7739 2438).

      Serene tattooing sounds like an oxymoron, but not where Nikole Lowe's Zen-like sanctuary above Curtain Road is concerned. Spacious, light and sophisticated, it's the opposite to stereotypical cramped and garish tattoo shops. The walls boast cross-continental curiosities with a bohemian and exotic twist and there's a multi-ethnic shrine in one corner, representing the studio's unique design flair. Lowe, who featured in TV series 'London Ink', has assembled some of the best female tattooists in London, including hipster (and Kate Moss) favourite Saira Hunjan, you'll have to be patient, however: both Lowe and Hunjan's waiting lists stretch into the future. Read more

  • PRICK!

    11am-7pm Mon-Fri; noon-6pm Sat; noon-5pm or by appt Sun. £70 min, 386 Old St, EC1V 9LT (020 7729 9545/ www.henryhate.com).

    LA-born artist Henry Hate presides over Prick! – Shoreditch’s longest established tattooists (which celebrated its seventh birthday in June, 2010). Unpretentious, friendly and popular, Henry pitches Prick! as a ‘friendly, neighbourhood studio.’ It’s crammed into a small unit on Shoreditch’s busiest intersection, attracting local hipsters, a few rogue bankers from the City and anyone else who might be passing by (it’s one of London’s few studios that accepts on-the-spot appointments). Upstairs is a traditional lounge, decorated with house designs and Henry’s artwork, but it’s down in the basement where the real action is – four artists buzz away, often with a guest tattooist in their midst such as Ichi Ink from Japan in September 2010.

  • Diamond Jacks

    Noon-7pm Mon-Fri; 11am-6pm Sat; Noon-5pm Sun. Min deposit £60, 5 Walkers Court, W1F 0BT (020 7437 0605/ www.diamondjacks.co.uk).

    Soho's longest running tattoo parlour is also its most rockin' and unpretentious. Nestled in a suitably sleazy alley, every inch of its walls are covered in music memorabilia and rows of vibrant tattoo flashes. Dee Dee Ramone and the Stray Cats used to come here in the '80s and current owner Darryl Gates continues its sleazy punk legacy, keeping the shop's original fittings and neon sign. Gates has designed tattoos for Vogue photoshoots and films like 'This Is England', but they're also known for their body modification services (genital beading, anyone?) from Iestyn Flye. Read more

  • Flamin' Eight

    10am-6pm Mon-Sat. £70/hr, 2 Castle Road, NW1 8PP (020 7267 7888/ www.flamineight.co.uk).

    Naresh Bhana's lurid purple corner shop has the punky edge you'd expect on Camden's main strip, but is tucked away on a more peaceful Kentish Town side street. It's dedicated team are a lot friendlier too, working within Bhana's treasure trove of voodoo knick-knacks from around the world. There's the skull-topped tiki bar-cum-counter that dissects the studio, the intricately carved coffee table filled with interesting wooden and metal needles, and shelving stretching across the room on which carved Haitian figures and Day of the Dead themed trinkets sit. Whatever your pain threshold, you're never short of oddities to take your mind off it. Read more

  • Into You

    Noon-7pm Mon-Sat. £80 min, £80/hr, 144 St John Street, EC1V 4UA (020 7253 5085/ www.into-you.co.uk).

    Open since 1993 and sticking out of Clerkenwell office blocks, Into You is one of the most sought after studios in London and some of the capital's best tattoo artists have worked under its steer. Go for owner Alex Binnie's bold tribal designs, Mr X's saturated black graphics and first-rate shading, or for Tomas Tomas, who often uses a traditional hand-poking technique, and whose incredibly intricate, modern tribal diagrams are particularly impressive. They're about as far from Celtic crosses as you can get! Read more

  • The Family Business

    Noon-7pm Mon-Sun. £80 min, 58 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE (020 7278 9526/ www.thefamilybusinesstattoo.com).

    Everything about The Family Business is sharp, from its boutiquey location in Exmouth Market to its suited and booted staff and vintage swing soundtrack. Its blood red interior, adorned with Roman Catholic imagery, is inspired by owner Mo Coppoletta's Italian heritage, and contrasts with the bold Japanese screens separating the work area from the waiting room (and giving privacy to customers). Look out for the book ‘Tattooed by The Family Business’ (released September 2010). Read more

  • Frith Street Tattoo

    Noon-8pm Mon-Sat; 1pm-7pm Sun. £80 min, £100/hr, 18 Frith Street, W1D 4RQ (020 7734 8180/ www.frithstreettattoo.co.uk).

    Frith Street has been custom designing quality work since 2003 but its popularity escalated recently thanks to its some time employee and frontman of British punk band Gallows, Frank Carter. He showed how much he loved tattoos by getting inked live onstage at Reading Festival in 2007. Since then they've drawn a younger, punkier crowd, who choose from one of Frith Street's six formidable artists. Read more

  • New Wave Tattoo

    10:30am-5:30pm Mon-Fri; 10am-5pm Sat. £50 min, 157 Sydney Road, N10 2NL (020 8444 8779/ www.newwavetattoo.co.uk).

    Lal Hardy's Muswell Hill studio is London's most famous, offering a wide range of styles, from mechanical (Collins) to Japanese (Orist) to feminine designs (Zed), which is probably why they've attracted such celebrity customers. It's not as chic as some of the other parlours, but at 20 years old, it's still one of the most dependable. Read more

  • Jolie Rouge

    Noon-7pm Mon-Sat. £50 min, 364 Caledonian Road, N1 1DU (020 7609 5111).

    Caledonian Road parlour Jolie Rouge is among the more underground in London, but it's held in high regard by the city's tattoo creatives. Their studio has a fresh and streetwise approach, all opulent wallpaper and gothic candelabras inside, and Matt-Difa is particularly revered for his graffiti-inspired work. What's more, they're willing to try what others turn down and pride themselves on not having the rockstar attitude of some of the other shops. Read more

  • George Bone Tattoos

    Noon-6pm Mon, Wed-Fri; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 10am-4pm, 58 Boston Road, W7 3TR (020 8579 0831/ www.georgebonetattoos.co.uk).

    You may mistake George Bone's solo studio for the set of a Meat Loaf video, with its plentiful skeletons, pentagrams and gothic drapery, but he's been operating his successful tattoo business out of west London since 1973. Extra kudos for the 'monastically-themed' toilet, which comes 'complete with chanting monks'. Bone's is definitely one for the seasoned rocker. Read more

Users say

51 comments
Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson

London Tattoo This shop I found due to it being the home of the TV show London Ink however when I got there I found original cast of the show not there I was greeted on the front desk by a zaney character called Sparx he had propper banter and was very helpful and informative he guided me to the person best suited to the style I was looking for I met a young guy called JP whose black and grey style is just sublime this kid did a Caravagio verbatim on my arm Im back there soon for a Michael Angelo one 10 outta 10

gallimimus
gallimimus

What a thoroughly unhelpful article, decor is frankly the last thing that matters when thinking of getting a tattoo.

omorfi
omorfi

hello im looking for a calligraphy script tattoo can you plz recoment some one really good.thanks

Justin
Justin

Would totally recommend Renaissance Tattoo studio in Rckmansworth, they did an amazing sleeve on my wife and I've just booked in for a leg piece., We were lucky to find the place, it seems to be a bit of a well kept secret thought but worth checking out!

Rosa
Rosa

I would highly recommend Portobello Tattoo and Piercing, Portobello Road... I've had tattoo's from both of the artists there and love them. The guys and girls are friendly and really approachable, and I was free to express my ideas and together we created the most beautiful unique tattoo.

dave ticklemore
dave ticklemore

Bit of a trek out from central london but only 20 mins or so is Avinit Tattoo in orpington, would really recommend it cause the guys there really put a lot of love into what they are doing, anyway check out their galleries cause the work speaks for itself I think. It started with a shoulder piece and has now become 2 sleeves as these things do....

Chris
Chris

I am looking at adding to a tattoo I had done about 10 years ago while living in Sheffield. I'm now based in London and hoping to find a tattoo artist who would be happy to help create a new design incorporating my previous piece. Any good reviews of this sort of thing?

anthony
anthony

Hi I am in coming to London in a few weeks and want some Maori tribal work done any suggestions thank you

RooLondon
RooLondon

I would strongly not recommend GoodTimes. I've never had such unfriendly, rude treatment from someone on reception. It's a shame, as I've heard such good things about the tattoo artists. But it's put me off ever going back there!

HAYYAN
HAYYAN

Would like to have my name tattoed in Arabic. Where should I go in London?

David diamond
David diamond

I am looking to get a black and white heavily lyrical led zep inspired tatt. It will be my first tatt. Any recommendations on where or who to go to?

A
A

Hi I want to get a tattoo of an indian name in hindi. Anyone got any recommendations in someone who specialises in Hindi writing? Much be something most can do if they have the design but would prefer a person who is experienced at doing Hindi tattoos. Thank you

aldo
aldo

Hi, I'm looking for a kiwi tattooist in London? I have a piece id like customed with a bit of maori influence. Anyone know of artidt around?

manuela
manuela

I'm looking for an artist who's good with comic book style tattoos, any recommendations?

pavlina
pavlina

Does anyone know who is the best artist for a 3D tattoo ???somewhere in London?

em
em

Looking for somewhere to get my first tattoo... Does anyone know anywhere that would help me design something in hieroglyphics? Any suggestions?

DKgirl
DKgirl

Hi, I am going to London in two weeks with my older sister, and we would like to get tattoos while we are there. I know you have to be out in good time for such things, but I was wondering if anybody knew a GOOD and CLEAN tattoo shop that it might be able to get an appointment in? I hope that somebody can help me, and it has to be quite easy to get to, as a tourist other things could be hard to find :-)

frank
frank

Tattoo 13 is one of the best tattoo parlours in London

alan
alan

anyone know it Tattoo 13 in Soho is any good?

Petros
Petros

Does anyone know who is the best artist for a 3D tattoo ???

Sarah
Sarah

I'm going to London in easter, and here I want to get mu second tattoo. I want a quote on my right ribs - it's like two or three lines. Where should I go for this, and do anyone know the price for something that big? No color.

Dre White
Dre White

Looking forward to my trip to London by way of Dubai. Planning to get my forearm sleeve fixed and finished if possible when I come out at the end of this month. Hopefully I will be able to get in contact with some of you artists to give me some direction on where and who to go to. Trying to start a dialogue so that I may be able to send some pics of what I already have on my arm just to give the artist a more visual idea of what they are working with. I'm not opposed to covering some of it up as I think it might actually look better that way. Anyway, I'll be calling around to see if I can set something set up over the next couple of weeks before I get there. Thanks for your time and responses if any.

Swati
Swati

J Javasan where abouts are based and is there any chance of me seeing some of your work

johnny javason
johnny javason

I also got nominated for “Best International Tattoo Artist, which I think is crazy! If I had ended up taking that title I probably would have given up tattooing, Luckily I was beaten by the very talented person.

jj goodman
jj goodman

A True Love just off Denmark street has to be the best, surely?!

Courtney
Courtney

I want to get my first tattoo done. But I can only spend $100 on it. I'm fine with going a little over the price, and I just want it to be a smaller tattoo. I've been looking through the websites of places in London, and I just don't know which place to trust. It would be really helpful if I could get some stories of expirence from someone, so I know where I could get a cheap, but great tattoo, in London.

Swati
Swati

I'm looking to have my 13yr old marking re-done aswell as completed and also to have another marking done of my grandparents which I a am currently in the process of planning a design. And would like to know aswell as seek out a good artist who's willing to take on the project. p.s. I also don't mind being a so called tatt mod at the next tattoo exhibition for a discount rate on the work.

STAN THE MAN
STAN THE MAN

if you want a quality tattoo ,you go to NEW WAVE TATTOO , ITS NOT CHEAP AND YOU HAVE TO WAIT TO GET A APPOINTMENT ,BUT THERE THE BEST , A TATTOO IS WITH YOU FOR LIFE,AND LAL HARDY AND THE OTHER ARTISTS THAT WORK THERE ARE THE BEST ,THERE WORK IS TOP DRAW .

Alex Choulet
Alex Choulet

Hi, I'd like to have my 1st tattoo done, a smallish one, something written in Japanese referring to a movement of art I like very much. Given that it'll probably be my last, don't mind waiting/ paying 'a lot' for it but want the best, or one of the best. Any suggestions on where to go please? Thanks!

rosie
rosie

Hey I'm looking to get my first tattoo I want a rose but I want it to be dead realistic so looking for a good realism tattoo artist. Can any one help me out? thanks

Peri
Peri

myself and my girlfriend have been contemplating for months now over getting a couple of tattos; it'll be my first but her second. I'm looking to get an Ohm on the inside of right forearm, while my girlfriend's looking to get something on her wrist (possibly an ohm) or something to entwine along her wrist. any ideas for quality studios that could help wiht this? Good Times seems to be a fave of most people!

Leila
Leila

Into You's Alex Binnie is awesome! Being my first tattoo, I was apprehensive but Alex talked me through the whole process and I trusted that he will do a great job. I was pleasantly surprised that I found the whole experience pleasurable and really love Alex's final creation! Now planning to come back for my next!

Eve
Eve

Thanks for the advice Sarah, I received a response from one of the ladies at Good Times, but am not too sure bout the guy they recommended. She couldn't even spell my name right in the email, so that was a bit off-putting considering I want words! May stick to a local established parlour: Andy Barbers of New Malden, KT3

Sarah
Sarah

Hi Eve, I live in Fulham so the first place I popped into was the Fulham Tattoo shop. I found the two guys I spoke to were very unfriendly and unhelpful. I did get a better response from the person I spoke to when I phoned for advice, but I've seen lots of negative feedback about them on the internet too. To me, they didn't look very busy and seemed very eager to book me in. I still haven't got mine done yet!

Eve
Eve

I want to get my first tattoo in italic words on my foot. I'm stuck between the well known Fulham Tattoo and Piercing Body Centre, who have done Mr and Mrs Beckham or the ladies at Good times who seem cool. Any ideas btw the two? To Diane Keone: can you let me know how your tattoo and experience went. :)

Diana Keone
Diana Keone

I'll be getting my first tattoo next week, i have an appointment at Good Times with Jamie Ruth. So far I've been there for consultation and they were more than helpful. They're extremely nice and very down to earth. I love the studio too, its very bright and spacious (unlike most gothic studios). For a first timer, i think a bright friendly studio will help ease the nerves. I've been googling Jamie Ruth's work and she is AWESOME! Cant wait for my appintment! I'll be back with more comments

Sarah
Sarah

I'm thinking of getting my first tattoo at Barry Louvaine's in Earlsfield as it's local and looks well-established. Does anyone else have any experiences of them please? Thanks.

Georgia
Georgia

also my sister wants a pair of ballet shoes on her back but wants then really life like, with minimal colour. who would you suggest? thankyou

Georgia
Georgia

Hi im looking to get a henna inspired tattoo on my rib, what tatto artists would you suggest in London that would also help me design it too.

SS
SS

I am looking for a good celtic design artist to touch up a knot on my wrist and possibly for another design. Any suggestions or recommendations ?

thomas
thomas

divine canvas is awesome. the most chilled out atmosphere and tattoo place i have come across with.

emily
emily

Reece at Barry Louvaine's in South London a great portrait artist.

shell
shell

andy barbers is the best hes done many of my mates tattoos and im going in for one soon i hope loving his work.....

shirley
shirley

I've just had something done by Jon at Flamin Eight and it's brilliant. He also works out at Blue Fire at Chingford and I've seen some lovely Koi that he did.

thomas
thomas

which is a good place to get koi pond tattoos in london. which artist would you recommend.

Anita
Anita

There are two great tattoo parlors on Holloway Road. Blood Brothers Tattoo Studio at 120 who've been doing great work for six years now! And the new Haunted at 159 specialising in horror and dark themes.

Rees
Rees

Mal, Mr X at Into You is good on calligraphy - my lover had one of his - she was very pleased with it.

Mal
Mal

Interested in at London tattooist that specializes in calligraphy, any recommecdations?

Dannii
Dannii

Andy Barbers Tattoo Studio is the best in New Malden