Tomorrow is Record Store Day today, and what better way to celebrate than a list of the best London has to offer. Record Store Day is the one day of the year when more than 200 independent record shops all across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture. Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion. And it seems, our vinyl-loving friends, that you’re in the best place for it! Here’s our rundown of ten of the best record shops in London for you to explore:
1. Rough Trade
First up on this list of the best record shops in London is a real legend of the record store scene. First opened in 1976, it was at the epicentre of the punk explosion right at the start and since then has gone on to release a catalogue that almost defines the genre of independent music itself.
In various locations across London, Rough Trade probably has the most extensive collection there is, and it does a lot more than just sell music. Its East London branch even has a purpose-built stage for regular gigs, with a standing room in front sensibly factored into the planning. Clever!
You’ll find Rough Trade at three different locations in London. You can find out more here.
2. Intoxica Records
Stacked with everything from reggae, funk and ’60s beat to exotica and easy listening, a good range of alternative and new wave from the 1970s to today, a great soundtrack selection AND plenty of soul, blues and jazz, this niche store is packed full with all the records you could ever dream of.
Intoxica Records used to be located in Portobello Road, but now operates as an online business in Kentish Town. You can physically visit the store if you are looking to browse, but you must book an appointment beforehand. You can find out more here.
You’ll find Intoxica Records at 97 Cressfield Close, London, NW5 4BN. Nearest stations are Gospel Oak and Kentish Town West.
3. Sounds of the Universe
The racks at Sounds of the Universe are stocked with choice pickings, with a basement full of rare gems including 12” vinyl singles filed under such categories as ‘Disco-not-Disco’. Bright, breezy and S-oh-so stylish!
They’re also connected to the record label Soul Jazz Records, and offer ‘the largest selection of Reggae, Dubstep, House, Disco, Funk and Soul, Brazilian, Latin, African and world beats in the UK’. Sounds pretty good to us!
You’ll find 7 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F 0DA. Nearest stations are Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.
4. Out on the Floor Records
Based right in the heart of Camden Town, Out on the Floor Records was started 30 years ago and takes its name from the Northern Soul classic song by Dobie Gray.
They stock a whole host of 12” and 7” vinyl records, with everything from Ska and Motown to classic House and Blues. But where this spot really pulls out all the stops is in its Reggae records – owner Jake is passionate about the genre, and the shop holds ‘as much original press Reggae as any shop in the UK’. So Reggae fans – you know where to come.
You’ll find Out on the Floor Records at 10 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ. Nearest station is Camden Town.
5. Soul Brother Records
Situated out in East Putney, Soul Brother Records is all about – as the name suggests – Soul, Funk and Jazz. A cute little record store, the focus here is mainly more on CDs, and they have over 10,000 LPs in stock here.
The staff here are both knowledgeable and friendly, and there are also occasional in-person performances too. They’ve even got their own radio show here too.
You’ll find Soul Brother Records at 1 Keswick Road, London, SW15 2HL. Closest station is East Putney.
6. Third Man Records
Brought to you by Jack White of the White Stripes fame, Third Man Records is the first European store of the namesake record label. Opening in October 2021, it was personally designed by the man in question himself and incorporates a two-level retail space and an intimate live music venue named ‘The Blue Basement’.
They’ve also got a token-operated lucky dip book machine – only the second of its kind in the world – as well as a token-operated recording booth where both artists and the regular Joe can record their own material straight to vinyl.
You’ll find Third Man Records at 1 Marshall Street, Carnaby, London, W1F 9BA. Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
7. Sister Ray
The next addition to this roundup of the best record shops in London is a real stalwart. Billed as ‘the world’s most visited record store’, Sister Ray has got over 30 years’ worth of experience under their belt and were a major force behind Record Store Day as an event.
They’re one of the most iconic suppliers of quality vinyl and CDs, with everything from new releases to rare and second-hand records stocked here. Don’t be surprised if you end up staying here rifling through records far longer than you anticipated…
You’ll find Sister Ray at 75 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8TG. Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
Another central London favourite, Phonica is the capital’s leading independent record shop for both dance and electronic vinyl. The friendly staff here – often DJs themselves – will be happy to help you find whatever you’re looking for across an extensive array of genres – including Techno, Dubstep and Nu Disco.
As well as being a record store and a record label, they also host ticketed club nights and free in-house events.
You’ll find Phonica at 51 Poland Street, London, W1F 7LZ. Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
9. Stranger Than Paradise Records
Named after the 1984 Jim Jarmusch deadpan comedy film, Stranger Than Paradise Records is an independent London record store set right in the heart of Hackney’s Mare Street Market. They’ve got everything here from Post-Rock and Indie music to Psych, Garage, Hip Hop, Bass and Dubstep.
They’ve got weekly new release titles, re-stocks and regular new reissues, and they also sell merch and books here too.
You’ll find Stranger Than Paradise Records at 117 Mare Street, London, E8 4RU. Nearest station is Hackney Central.
10. Crypt of the Wizard
Rounding off this list of the best record shops in London is one for the metalheads amongst you! Just a couple of minutes’ walk from Columbia Road Flower Market, they’ve got over a thousand new and used records as well as cassettes for ‘the discerning Heavy Metal maniac’.
The staff here are lovely and welcoming, and the prices are decent. So if you’re a fan of this genre of music, then this is one of the best record stores in London to go to.
You’ll find Crypt of the Wizard at 264 Hackney Road, London, E2 7SJ. Nearest station is Hoxton.
So there you have it, a list of some of the best record shops in London. Whatever kind of music you’re into, our beloved capital will give you and then some. So grab your wallet and get ready to extend your music library during Record Store Day. Happy hunting!