Whether you’re a seasoned crate digger or making your first entry into the world of vinyl, this is the comprehensive low-down on London’s greatest record stores; from the old favourites in Soho to the new ventures in need of your attention. You will need: an Oyster card, a tube map, and a lot of cash.
Flashback Records, Islington // Crouch End // Shoreditch
Address: 50 Essex Road, London UK, N1 8LR
About: Islington’s Flashback Records started in 1997 on the Essex Road as a vinyl and vintage clothing store. They took over an old record store in Crouch End in 2006, and opened their Brick Lane flagship in 2014. They aim for a helpful and approachable service.
For: New and secondhand, various genres, knowledgeable friendly staff, in-store events
New Vinyl: The Libertines – Up The Bracket & The Libertines – The Libertines The Libertines played the most intimate of shows last night at The Boogaloo Pub with one of their classic pop-up gigs. Listen back to their defining albums on new vinyl available at Flashback Records and online http://29S3sXR #thelibertines #carlbarat #petedoherty #00s #rock #pop #indie #vinyl #flashback
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Alan’s Records, East Finchley
Address: 218 High Road, London, N2 9AY
About: A small neighbourhood record store, Alan’s independent outlet offers a “constantly changing” collection of 15,000 vinyl records, 3,500 CDs, tapes and music memorabilia. Better jump on the Northern Line.
For: Secondhand releases, various genres, independent feel.
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Lucky Seven, Stoke Newington
Address: 127 Stoke Newington Church St, London, N16 0UH
About: Lucky Seven sells LPs at three for a pound. Just head to the basement and get lost for hours in heaps of affordable vinyl, books, comics, and CDs.
For: Secondhand, various genres, great value, comics
⚫⚫⚫ . . . . . #nowplaying #vinyloftheday #vinylporn #vinyladdict #vinylobsessed #vinyljunkiesunite #vinylpossessed #FACTVinylCollections #recordcollector #instavinyl #VinylAddicted #vinylcollection #vinylcollectionpost #vinyljunkie #recordcollection #Albumart #coverart #vinyligclub #onmyturntable #music #singlesonly #vinyl
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Out On The Floor, Camden
Address: 10 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ
About: Two whole floors of soul, funk, rock and reggae in the heart of Camden’s Inverness Street. Lovely hand painted genre dividers, too.
For: Secondhand, reggae and soul, posters
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Ra-Ra Rok Records
Address: 10 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ
About: If that address looks familiar, it’s because Ra-Ra Rok is actually an independent (but symbiotoc) record store operating out of the basement of Out On The Floor. Whilst the operation is small, Ra-Ra Rok is loved by many for its strong collection of rare vinyl from the 1930s to the present day. Their in-store record label is coming soon, with their own releases and other new vinyl to follow shortly.
For: Secondhand w/occasional new releases, various genres, rare vinyl and music memorabilia
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No Hit Records/Sounds That Swing, Camden
Address: 88 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN, United Kingdom
About: Two minutes from Camden Town tube station you can find Sounds That Swing, a rockabilly vinyl mecca. Rock n Roll, baby. They also sell country, punk, ska and hillbilly.
For: Secondhand, re-releases, rockabilly and associated genres, Johnny Cash puns
All Ages Records, Camden
Address: 27 Pratt St, London, NW1 0BG
About: All Ages is a punk and hardcore music retailer specialist. Established in 2003, the shop started as a stall in Camden market before progressing to the Pratt Street outlet. As well as your typical CD, vinyl and T-shirts, All Ages also supplies fanzines.
For: New and secondhand, punk and hardcore, everything DIY
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Audio Gold, Crouch End
Address: 308-310 Crouch End, Park Rd, London, N8 8LA
About: Audio Gold is first and foremost a retailer of the coolest retro hi-fi equipment you’ll never be able to afford. Tucked away is a hidden gem of a record store, buying and selling second-hand records as well as a small selection of new releases.
For: Secondhand w/occasional new releases, various genres, superb hi-fi equipment.
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Kristina Records, Dalston
Address: 44 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 7XJ
About: Located in Dalston and founded in 2011, Kristina Records is a baby on the record store scene but it’s getting plenty of love from London’s crate diggers. Vinyl only, Kristina Records is stylish and clutter free for a relaxing vinyl retail experience.
For: New releases, various genres, clutter free vinyl shopping.
Vinyl Pimp, Hackney Wick
Address: 14 Felstead St, London, E9 5LT
About: Vinyl Pimp knows how to sell your records; it’s all in the name. They’ve been working in the vinyl market since 2007 and are the number one seller on Discogs, the online music retail marketplace. You can even track the progress of the music they’re selling on your behalf.
For: Secondhand, various genres, shifting your unwanted records
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Rough Trade East, Shoreditch
East: Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
About: To accompany their West London outlet, iconic record store and label Rough Trade opened a 5,000 square foot flagship store in Brick Lane in 2007. In-store gigs and events are common, and you can enjoy a coffee and head to the in-store photo booth to mark the occasion.
For: New releases, various genres, in-store events, high ceilings
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Rat Records, Camberwell
Address: 48 Camberwell New Rd, London, SE5 0RW
About: Specialising in vinyl, the shop also offers a specialist record cleaning service. 500 new second-hand vinyl records are released every Saturday morning at the store, while an in-store DJ plays a three-hour set.
For: Secondhand, various genres, guaranteed new stock
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Casbah Records, Greenwich
Address: Casbah Records, 320-322 Creek Road, London, SE10 9SW
About: Open seven days a week in the heart of Greenwich, Casbah records started life as a stall at Greenwich market before settling down in Creek Road. Their specialist areas are ‘60s garage/psychedelic, funk and soul, and cult soundtracks.
For: Secondhand, ‘60s garage and psychedelic, funk and soul, soundtracks
Soul Brother, East Putney
Address: 1 Keswick Road, London, SW15 2HL.
About: Nowhere in London does soul quite like Soul Brother. The Putney store is one of the world’s biggest purveyors of soul and jazz. The store is open seven days a week, and you can sometimes catch the Soul Brother radio show on Solar Radio. This year marks Soul Brother’s 25th anniversary.
For: New and secondhand, soul and jazz, funky expertise.
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Rye Wax, Peckham
Address: 133 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST
About: Step out of Peckham Rye station and right into the CLF Art Café. Rye Wax, a haven for music and comic books, awaits you in the basement. They even run a bar and happy hour, two cocktails for £10.
For: New and secondhand, various genres, in-store events, cocktails and beats.
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Container Records, Brixton
Address: Unit S01, Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQ
About: Held in one of the ex-shipping containers of the Pop Brixton community, Container Records houses primarily dance and electronic vinyl; rave and nightclub music, alongside rock, punk, indie, metal, hip hop, soul, jazz, soundtracks and “obscure leftfield weirdness”. The website promises Container Records “won’t make you feel judged.”
For: New and secondhand, various genres, leftfield shipping container weirdness
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Address: 98 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, London, SW9 8PS
About: A vinyl only store just for reggae on the site of now-closed Music Temple. Lionvibes used to exist as a stall in Brixton Art Market in the 1990s, then moved online. The proprietors also set up a record label in Jamaica.
For: Secondhand, reggae, stylie knowledge
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Banquet Records, Kingston
Address: 52 Eden Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1EE
About: Ask any alternative teen from the South London suburbs where they purchased their first record, and they’ll definitely say Banquet Records. Banquet Records has been serving Surrey’s music fans since going independent in 2002. The slogan is “More than just your local record store”, and with its plethora of in-store shows and club nights, Banquet certainly fits the bill.
For: New releases, various genres, in-store events, Biffy Clyro acoustic sets
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Rough Trade West, Notting Hill
Address: 130 Talbot Rd, London, W11 1JA
About: Rough Trade West is synonymous with the London record store scene. Affiliated with the label that gave life to The Libertines, The Smiths and The Strokes, Rough Trade started life as a record store in West London. Now one of a small chain of Rough Trade stores, the Talbot Road outlet is cosy and knowledgable. The prices can be a little steep, but there’s still room for deals you can’t get online.
For: New and secondhand, various genres, iconicism
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Honest Jon’s, Ladbroke Grove
Address: 278 Portobello Road, London, W10 5TE
About: Seated on the Portobello Road is Honest Jon’s, established in 1974. Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield have now taken over from the original proprietor, Jon Clare. The store is a hot spot for jazz, blues and soul. The store also operates a record label in conjunction with Damon Albarn.
For: Secondhand, jazz and blues
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HMV Flagship store, Oxford Street
HMV Flagship store, Oxford Street
Address: 363 Oxford Street, London W1C 2LA
About: The famous flagship store of music retailer HMV was launched in 1921 by composer Sir Edward Elgar. Following a fire and rebuild, the store basement was used as a bomb shelter during WWII. During the ‘60s, the in-store recording studio was used by Brian Epstein to record The Beatles first demo. Following a hiatus between 2000 and 2013, when the store relocated to 150 Oxford Street and also went bankrupt, the flagship store moved back home, with more in-store gigs than ever before. They even did a Grumpy Cat meet and greet!
For: New releases, various genres, in-store gigs and signings, Grumpy Cat
Fopp, Covent Garden
Address: 1 Earlham St, London, WC2H 9LL
About: One of many Fopp stores around the country, this chain of record stores sells books, films and music at reasonable prices. They also organize regular in-store events at the Covent Garden store and elsewhere.
For: New releases, various genres, in-store events
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Intoxica Records, Covent Garden
Address: 11 Cecil Ct, London, WC2N 4EZ
About: Intoxica records in Covent Garden has a rich online store, but everything available at the physical location is barred from the mail order service, so it’s still worth heading down for a rummage. They’re located in the backroom of ‘Drummonds, Pleasures Of Past Times’, a 20th century antiques store. But beware of coming in to buy or sell CDs. The website leaves clear instructions: “Don’t come in, take a look around, and then ask if we sell CDs, unless you’re looking for whalloping great doses of sarcasm.” Nice.
For: Secondhand, various genres, CD hatred
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Sounds of the Universe, Soho
Address: 7 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DA
About: Sounds of the Universe is a global music store linked to Soul Jazz Records. Located in the heart of Soho, the shop offers one of the UK’s largest selections of reggae, dubstep, house, disco, funk, soul, brazilian, Latin, African and world beats.
For: New and secondhand, world music, in-store events
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Sister Ray, Soho
Address: Berwick Street Market, 75 Berwick St, London W1F 8RP
About: This legendary store on Berwick Street buys and sells second hand vinyl, alongside new releases. Sister Ray is part of the holy trinity of London record stores, coupled with Rough Trade and Flashback London. Sister Ray also own a vinyl only outlet hosted at the Ace Hotel, Shoreditch High Street.
For: New and secondhand, various genres, in-store events, the dog
Reckless Records, Soho
Address: 30 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8RH
About: Located just off Oxford Street, Reckless Records promises a good deal on your secondhand vinyl, whether you’re buying or selling. There are a few record stores on Berwick Street, but Reckless was the first, opening in 1984. You can see a slither of Reckless on the album sleeve for the Oasis album ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’, proudly displayed in the store window.
For: Secondhand w/occasional new releases, various genres, Oasis walking tours.
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Phonica Records, Soho
Address: 51 Poland Street, London, W1F 7LZ
About: Founded in 2003 when founder Simon Rigg was approached by The Vinyl Factory to open a shop, Phonica is now one of London’s leading specialists in vinyl releases. From the store’s origins, they have been known as the go-to store for German pre-minimal sound. Phonica now operates its own record label and offers in-store events and gigs.
For: New releases, various genres, in-store events
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