12 of the best record shops in London

Date post added: 21st December 2023

Move over digital downloads and streaming services, vinyl is back! For some music lovers, the unique sound of a needle meeting a record never went away. The good news is that record shops are gaining popularity again too. They even have their own special day of celebration – Record Store Day which takes place annually to celebrate the UK’s independent record shops. Our music aficionado and London Walks Guide, Adam visits it on two of his walks.

There’s no bigger sign that record shops are back in popularity than the reopening of the flagship HMV store at 363 Oxford Street. It shut down in 2019, but four years later it’s risen Phoenix-like and is opening its doors to music fans again. HMV first opened in that spot in 1921.

London is home to some of the best record stores around. You’ll definitely find the vinyl you’re after in one of them, from vintage to new releases and every music genre imaginable. Put down your mouse, stop scrolling and head in-store for an experience you just can’t replicate online.

Here’s our guide to London’s best record stores.

Where to buy vinyl records in London?

Rough Trade East – Brick Lane

Located inside the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, Rough Trade East is the largest of the brand’s stores. The original one opened in 1976 and still stands on Ladbroke Grove (off Portobello Road). The Brick Lane store stocks every style of record from punk to pop, soul to soundtracks. They also host great gigs, so keep your eyes out for legendary live performances.

Sounds of the Universe – Broadwick Street, Soho

Sounds of the Universe started life as a market stall in Camden Town. But its owner had his eye on the bright lights of Soho and opened this Broadwick St record shop in the early 90s. He also set up a record label, Soul Jazz Records. The Soho record shop boasts the largest selection of reggae, dubstep, house, disco, funk and soul, Brazilian, Latin, African and world beats in the UK.

Sister Ray – Berwick Street, Soho

Sister Ray is named after the Velvet Underground song, and it’s been a fixture in the Soho record shop scene since 1989. At that time, Berwick Street was the place to go crate-digging for vinyl gold as it was home to a host of great record shops. Sadly, only a few remain. These days, Sister Ray proudly stock a curated mix of new releases, second hand classics and varied, interesting music gems.

Reckless Records – Berwick Street,Soho

The oldest record shop in Soho, Reckless Records has been running since 1984. You’ll always find something new in store as they source new collections weekly. Have a rummage and you’ll come across amazing rarities as well as extraordinary bargains. This independent record shop has a great claim to fame – it features on the iconic cover of the Oasis album, What’s The Story Morning Glory?

Honest Jon’s – Portobello Road

In 1974, Honest Jon’s started selling jazz records from a former butcher’s shop on Golborne Road. It moved to its current Portobello Road home in the 80s and was a firm favourite with music stars like Leftfield’s Neil Barnes and DJ Gilles Peterson. In the 90s, they launched a record label in partnership with Notting Hill local, Damon Albarn. You’ll find an array of global music in this great West London record shop.

Casbah Records – Creek Street, Greenwich

This is another music brand which started up as a market stall before progressing to a bricks and mortar store. It’s known for stocking 60s soul, RnB and garage as well as a wide range of classic rock, indie and electronic music. Along with new and second hand records, you’ll find plenty of cool merch like Tshirts, books and comics.

Flashback Records – Essex Road, Islington

This North London stalwart opened its flagship store on Essex Road over 20 years ago. You’ll now find Flashback Records stores in Crouch End and Shoreditch too. Head upstairs for new releases and reissues. It’s the kind of store in which you’ll find weird and wonderful second hand vinyl. It’s another place to spend time crate-digging for hidden gems.

Phonica Records- Poland Street, Oxford Circus

In the heart of the West End, near Oxford Circus, is Phonica Records. It’s the leading independent record shop for dance music. You’ll often find DJs browsing the vinyl, and some of them work in the store themselves. They specialise in a “broad church” of dance music – think rare soul, techno, dubstep and disco. Phonica hosts cracking in-store parties and live music events too.

Maestro Records – Rye Lane, Peckham

As you may expect from a long-established Peckham record store, Maestro Records sells a wonderfully eclectic range of music. Its owner, Michael, is a real music enthusiast and wants his record shop to appeal to all ages. The varied selection of vinyl – from reggae to hip hop, jazz to pop – means that the entire family can find something they’ll love.

Stranger than Paradise – Mare Street, Hackney

This East London record store is situated in the heart of Mare Street Market in Hackney. If you’re an indie music lover, you’ll adore it here. Browse their stock of garage, bass, dubstep and hip hop as well as a huge array of merch and books.

All Ages Records, Pratt Street, Camden Town

Love “shouty guitar music”? Then you’ll adore All Ages Records. It’s London’s best independent record shop for punk and hardcore music. It stocks a niche product and serves fans of heavy music. Alongside vinyl, you’ll find CDs, merch, DVDs, fanzines and books. They also sell gig tickets and encourage musicians to promote their gigs and details in store.

Crypt of the Wizard – Hackney Road, London

Another store for lovers of a heavier style of music, Crypt of the Wizard welcomes Heavy Metal “maniacs.” There’s a really welcoming vibe in this Hackney record store and the staff know their stuff and are happy to help. Explore their selection of 7” and 12” records as well as rarities and second hand offerings.

What’s the best place to sell your vinyl records?

  • Reckless Records, Oxford Circus
  • All Ages Records, Hackney
  • Out on the Floor Records, Camden Town

Did you know? A few record store facts.

The first record shop in the world opened in Cardiff in 1894. Spillers Records is still running today.

Record Store Day brings together 260 independent record shops across the UK. The annual event celebrates the amazing people in local record shops and declares itself the “biggest new music event of the past decade.”

The most expensive vinyl record ever sold was The Wu-Tang Clan’s, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. They released one copy only and it sold for $2 million.

Discover more musical delights in London with our Rock n Roll walking tours.



Before he became a London Walks tour guide, Adam was a freelance arts journalist covering theatre and music for a variety of publications including The Independent and the Evening Standard. He lives in North London with his wife (piano & clarinet), daughter (piano, clarinet, guitar & bass), his small collection of vintage record players, three ukuleles, six guitars, one piano and far too many records.

Read all articles by Adam

Pippa Jackson

Pippa Jackson

Pippa is a word nerd and content aficionado with a background of working in TV on both sides of the globe. She loves to discover and share the diverse and wonderful stories of her much-loved London. When she’s not writing blogs and articles, you’ll find her walking beside the Thames or even paddleboarding on it (in the finest of conditions only!) or enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with a good book.

Read all articles by Pippa Jackson