London’s vinyl scene is thriving. There is a shop specialising in every genre – anything from left-field jazz, four-to-the-floor techno spots, extreme death metal, and everything in between. The UK’s capital is home to some of the best independent record stores in the world. Fact.
Soho was once the epicentre of London’s vinyl scene; now, there are shops aplenty throughout the city. Here are five record stores we can’t wait to go to:
Where? – 278, Portobello Road (Notting Hill) // Unit 115, Coal Drops Yard (King’s Cross)
The area surrounding Portobello Market has a wealth of stores; Rough Trade West and People’s Sound Records are must-visits. But no trip out west is complete without a visit to Honest Jon’s.
Specialising in jazz LPs, reggae 45s and a broad selection of world music, you never know what you may stumble upon. While the main store is a well-publicised musical mecca, there’s also a tiny newer branch tucked away in Coal Drops Yard. Thanks to the compact space, there’s less of everything here, but the percentage of absolute treasures to discover remains high.
Where? – 133, Rye Lane (Peckham)
Rye Wax opened its doors back in 2014 and has since served South London with fresh helpings of delicious vinyl. Located within The CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey Building event space, the record store stocks everything from dance music deadstock to funk and soul re-pressings. Just don’t make the journey and expect to find any chart releases. It also emphasises local produce and stocks loads of bits from Rhythm Section, Yam Recordings, and many other South London labels.
Where? – 264, Hackney Road (Hoxton)
The heavy metal section of most shops can be bare and unpredictable. Enter Crypt of the Wizard in Hackney. They specialise in the best of the contemporary heavy metal scene, from death and doom metal to psych and crossover releases worldwide.
Stocking primarily new records, the shop has become a cornerstone for the UK’s vibrant metal community. It boasts visitors from all around the world, and touring bands are known to make the stop, too, even Judas Priest. It’s dark and dingy, but in a good way.
Where? – 52, Eden Street (Kingston)
Banquet Records is an independent record shop in Kingston-Upon-Thames. It’s proud to stock a broad range of music but specialise in indie, punk and emo, as well as dance, electronic, funk and hip hop, so you’re bound to find something to your tastes.
Reasonably priced and beautifully catalogued, Banquet Records is a must if you find yourself in Kingston. This is more than just a record shop, though. Pre-Covid, Banquet were putting on over 200 shows a year across Kingston, as well as running a label, hiring PAs and printing flyers and leaflets. They truly are a multi-faceted bunch.
Where? – 348, Camberwell New Road (Camberwell)
South London’s second-hand specialists, Rat Records, are located near the bustling centre of Camberwell. Owner Tom Fisher has been proudly collecting records and CDs since 1988, so the depth of this second-hand store is vast, with anything you can imagine from the worlds of rock to reggae, blues, jazz, soul, funk, hip hop, punk, indie, metal, alternative, world, electronic and everything in between – all at really fair prices.
Start with these and then explore even further! London is the epicentre for the country’s musical blueprint, so there are sooooooo many more record stores to choose from. Don’t forget how good some charity shops can be if you’re on a bit more of a budget.
You can find out more about what life in London is like, here.