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London’s best record shops

Expand your music library by browsing new and second-hand vinyl at these brilliant London record shops

Written by
James Manning
,
Kyle MacNeill
,
Sarah Cohen
&
Chiara Wilkinson
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It's official: vinyl is back, with sales in the UK at their highest point since the early 1990s. 

Fuelled by the ongoing vinyl revival and the success of events like Record Store Day, independent record shops are thriving across London. And they’re not just in music hotspots like Soho, Camden and Brixton – these stores are flourishing everywhere from Camberwell to Shepherd’s Bush, Putney to Crouch End.

Whether you want the latest releases on wax or vintage reggae, hardcore or soul, you’ll be able to find it in the racks of one of London’s best record shops. Get crate-digging!

RECOMMENDED: London’s best markets.

London’s best record stores

All Ages Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Camden Town

As one of the best-known punk and hardcore record stores in London, All Ages attracts a very specific kind of customer. But it’s got a fairly wide range of things dark and heavy, from the ’70s to the present day, so unless you hate guitars you’ll probably find something you’re into.

  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • East Finchley

This traditional record shop serves up a range of authentic vintage vinyl, retro tapes, CDs and original memorabilia for music fans to browse through. Priding itself on its non-discriminatory approach, the store's weekly restocks – of over 700 new items – include a wide selection of new and old records, from pop and rock to reggae and dance. It's a wonderful spot for all ages and tastes to shop in, and previous customers include Ray Davies of The Kinks and Jarvis Cocker. Staff are knowledgable, happy to answer questions, and will even serve up tea and coffee if browsing through the vast collection has you plum-tuckered out.

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Atlantis Records, aka Rough Trade owner Geoff Travis’s musical clearing house, is located on the site of what was the Pacific Social Club café on Clarence Road in Hackney, this place exists to sell Travis’s sizeable record collection (including acetates and cassettes). You can expect ‘all styles and genres’, which is quite the promise when you think about it.

  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Kingston

This little record shop punches well above its weight. As well as selling new releases on CD and vinyl, Banquet (an offshoot from the old Beggars Banquet franchise) is at the centre of the Kingston music scene: in the Before Times, its packed acoustic in-store shows and regular gig nights brought big artists to this corner of the London suburbs.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Greenwich

After 20 years of trading through a stall at Greenwich Market, Casbah Records upgraded its breezy surroundings to the more permanent confines of a bricks-and-mortar shop. Here the emphasis is placed on edgy girl groups, garage, psych and ’60s soul, but the store also stocks a variety of classic rock, indie and electronica, along with books, DVDs, prints and vintage comics.

Started by local Leyton resident Jon Clifford, the aim is for Dreamhouse Records to double as a communal space for musicians in the area. The music will cover all sorts of genres and be a mix of new represses and second-hand fare. Dreamhouse also sells locally roasted coffee from Good Folk and some nice buns from Sunday Bun Day.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Crouch End

Taken over by the Flashback Records team in 2006, this little record shop is a local favourite with a good selection of new and used vinyl and a friendly atmosphere.

Flashback Records Islington
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Islington

The stock at Flashback’s oldest store is mostly second-hand and 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, the records are scrupulously organised.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Shoreditch

At the top of Brick Lane, the newest branch of Flashback (after Flashback Islington and Flashback Crouch End) stocks two floors of new and second-hand vinyl, CDs and DVDs – some of it rare, most of it at a pretty decent price. There are listening points to give potential purchases a spin.

Honest Jon’s
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Portobello Road

This legendary record shop’s owner had the good foresight to lend former hired hand James Lavelle £1,000 to set up Mo’ Wax records in the early 1990s. Prints of old blaxploitation posters crowd the technicolour walls, a sign that jazz, soul, revival reggae and global sounds remain the house specialities.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Kentish Town

Bucking the trend for niche shops to get the hell out of central London, Intoxica! have recently upped sticks from Portobello Road to the West End. They’re stacked with everything from reggae, funk and ’60s beat to exotica and easy listening; there’s also a good range of alternative and new wave from the 1970s to today, a great soundtrack selection and plenty of soul, blues and jazz. And the new premises has plenty of space for instore gigs, too.

Kristina Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Homerton

A bright and airy independent record shop that attracts locals from the Dalston area, as well as 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.

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Lion Coffee + Records

This east London hangout focuses on quality: the vintage vinyl is handpicked by the owners, and the coffee served is Allpress. But this isn’t just a spot for muso snobs; the Lion crew also pride themselves on stocking the hottest new vinyl releases and creating a warm and welcoming vibe. Rock up on the weekend or your next day off for a leisurely browse and caffeine fix. A cocktail list is coming soon, making Lion the place to come for a boozy record splurge.  

Lion Vibes
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Brixton

A newish reggae shop for Brixton, Lion Vibes (literally and metaphorically) filled the gap in Brixton Village that was created by the closure of Music Temple. Opened by Matt Downs as a spin-off of his existing Lion Vibes online shop and Jamaican record label, it sells new music and fresh imports as well as vintage Jamaican records. Oh, and Lion Vibes’s stock is strictly vinyl – so don’t come round here looking for that Bob Marley greatest hits CD.

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  • Music
  • Trafalgar Square

Maestro Records, Peckham’s oldest record store founded over 20 years ago, sells an eclectic range of music – from roots reggae to pop, jazz, hip hip and dancehall. It's run by music enthusiast Michael Fountaine, who claims that Maestro is a family affair: many customers come in for a browse with their mums, dads, and siblings.

This Shepherd’s Bush store is the kind of booze-coffee-and-music hybrid that probably horrifies decrepit purists but thrills everyone else. The three guys who started the shop are mates with entertaining food person What Willy, stock very good wine and have a bit of a focus on electronic music. Oh, and they have outdoor tables

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Out on the Floor
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Camden Town

This three-level, three-shop operation is a sanctuary for serious record collectors in an area short on decent options. Out on the Floor is in the basement and stocks guitar music – there’s a particularly interesting selection of heavy metal seven-inches and plenty of punk, prog and 1960s and ’70s rock.

  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Soho

With its battered leather sofas and egg-shaped chairs, this Soho store almost has a ’70s gangster feel: perfect for housing its pristine selection of relatively deep and edgy club music. 

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Rat Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Camberwell

The small but mighty Rat Records has been a Camberwell draw for more than 15 years. It looks unassuming from the street, but inside it stocks a large, eclectic mix: pop, rock, African music, reggae, blues, jazz and more.

Reckless Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Soho

This Soho stalwart sells everything from rare rock vinyl to classic drum ’n’ bass, as well as punk, reggae, jazz and a good range of original Mo’ Wax and Blue Note vinyl. Reckless will buy most kinds of music (including CD box sets, limited editions and DVDs) and will make house calls to check out large collections.

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Started by British metal icon (and former Cathedral frontman) Lee Dorian, Rise Above has long been a record label synonymous with doomy, psychedelic music. You’ll now find its brand-new physical manifestation, Rise Above Records and Relics, on Archway Road in Highgate. As you’d expect it specialises in musty, fuzzy music that will have you saying things like ‘Far out, man’ and ‘Geezer Butler wasn’t happy on Sabbath’s sixth album, and, if you listen carefully enough, you can tell.’

Rough Trade East
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Brick Lane

In normal times, the East End addition to the RT stable welcomes live performers of pretty much every persuasion and boasts not only more space and a café, but also – far more importantly – a purpose-built stage, with standing room in front sensibly factored into the planning. Gigs happen early in the evening (usually 7pm) and admission is more often than not free (with a pre-collected wristband) or free with purchase of the new album by whoever’s playing.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Notting Hill

The original branch of Rough Trade offers a pointed contrast to its flashy little sister Rough Trade East: poky and well-stocked, it’s really hardly changed in years.

Soul Brother Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Putney

This small funk and soul specialist is just around the corner from East Putney tube station. Leaning towards CDs rather than vinyl, the stock is comprehensive when it comes to funk, soul and especially blues, and the staff are helpful and passionate about the sounds they sell.

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  • Music
  • Trafalgar Square

Named after Jim Jarmusch’s 1984 film Stranger Than Paradise, this leftfield record store is hidden away in a converted warehouse home to Mare Street Market. Its owners used to work at Rough Trade East and it focusses on post-rock/indie music, as well as plenty of contemporary British jazz and classics. 

Sounds That Swing
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Camden Town

A-rockin’ and a-rollin’ just off Camden High Street, Sounds That Swing specialises in rockabilly and blues records – you’ll spot Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison staring from the racks as soon as you enter the shop. There are CDs here, but a quick glance will tell you that the owner is a vinyl enthusiast. Tucked away behind the rock ’n’ roll, there’s also a good collection of female-fronted soul and R&B.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Soho

Bright and breezy, this stylish store in the heart of Soho has a broad remit: grime and dubstep 12-inches jostle for space alongside new-wave cosmic disco, electro-indie re-rubs and Nigerian music compilations. 

  • Music
  • Trafalgar Square

Supertone Records started out in 1969 as a big, bassy soundsystem, blasting reggae music all over the country. The shop was born in 1984, operating as a reggae specialist, selling soul, soca, calypso, rhythm and blues, roots and Caribbean music. It's now one of the oldest reggae record shops in the UK, and a local hub for the West Indian community.

 

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  • Music
  • Trafalgar Square

Jack White (of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Kool And The Gang etc) has opened his first UK record store with a bright yellow exterior. It sells White’s trademark pressing in obscure, limited-edition vinyl formats, plus a live venue and a ‘record label HQ’. You can also press your own vinyl in-store, and dig to your heart's content. 

  • Music
  • Trafalgar Square

With a slick exterior to match its equally trendy location on Hackney Road, Yo-Yo records specialises in U.S. Originals and Vintage pressings. Here you'll find all sorts of funk, soul, jazz, fusion, Brazilian, Latin, bisco, boogie, rare grooves, Afro and psych music. The store split from Cosmos Records in 2020 and re-opened as an independent on the same location. 

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