Tattoos are a rite of passage, an inky coming-of-age that’ll last a lot longer than the car you’re given when you pass your driving test at 17, the referendum result you vote for when you reach 18 or the STD you contract when you pass 16. They’re also incredibly fashionable. In an age when David Beckham’s doodled more than the back of a school exercise book, Cheryl Cole’s arse is a thing of beauty for more reason than one and even Sam-Cam’s dolphin still comes out to play, then who wouldn’t want to follow in their footsteps?
So where to these A-listers head for their tats? Here’s some options…
This Soho tattoo shop has garnered a massive reputation for quality since its debut in 2004. Frith Street Tattoo features an incredible line-up of artists, each at the top of their game in terms of their specialities, including celebrity tattooist Frank Carter and guest artist Chad Koeplinger making a regular appearance. They’re also known to attract a famous face or two from time to time, so you never know who your neighbour in the next chair over might be when you swing by!
Where: 18 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RQ
Spice Girls fans get ready for some ‘zig-a-zig-ow’! Lal Hardy founded this London staple back in 1979, and ever since it has remained one of the best-known shops this side of the Atlantic. It may not look as trendy as some of the other venues on this list, but who needs trendy when folks like Mel B, Dave Grohl or a member of the Osbourne family could come waltzing in looking for a tattoo the same day as you? Never mind the celebrity draw of this place, these artists are good, and they offer a wide range of styles and influences to make sure all of their clients walk away happy.
Where: 157 Sydney Road, Muswell Hill, N10 2NL
Right in the heart of Shoreditch, Good Times whisks clients into a space that emphasises calmness, creativity and all-around good vibes. Add to that, its open layout that’s rich in both natural light and pure talent from its roster of artists, including London Ink‘s Nikole Lowe.
While here, you’ll be able to kick back and take in the chill vibes – you might not even realize you’re getting tatted until you look down at your brand new piece. If you don’t mind waiting your turn (let’s face it, demand is high these days), you’ll soon be finding yourself with a show-stopper of a tattoo courtesy of Good Times.
Where: 147 Curtain Road, Hackney, EC2A 3QE
Tucked away in the elegant streets of Notting Hill, Love Hate Social Club is a high end piercing and tattoo studio. Established and popularised by artists of NY Ink and Miami Ink fame, the parlour is renowned for its customer service and client-focused personalisation. Big or small, simple or complex, you’re sure to get exactly what you want here – even if that means an ear piercing thrown in along the way!
Where: 5 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2EE
It’s no wonder this shop ends up at the top of so many lists when it comes to the best places in London to get your permanent artwork. With its light, contemporary space and helpful stable of artists, every customer is sure to feel like a true A-lister the moment they walk through the doors until they leave with their new ink. It may not be the most hardcore-looking shop on this list, but it’s definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing, and with their welcoming atmosphere and precise work, it will definitely leave clients pleased with their experience.
Where: 471 Hackney Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9ED
With a diverse, quirky and endlessly creative atmosphere to match the bustling Soho streets that surround it, there’s no doubt you’ll be leaving The Circle without feeling like one cool dude with some new ink.
Their 1,200-squaree foot is full of wacky decorations, talented artists and tattoo innovation. The shop has been featured in multiple publications such as Vogue and The Evening standard (kind of a big deal, we know). It’s a place so hip, its wait times may reflect that – not to worry, though, while you’re waiting to get your design, you can explore this shop’s eccentric decoration or play their in-house X-box to pass the time. Now, who’s ready for a game of Mario Kart?
Where: 21 Noel Street, Soho, W1F 8GP
We cheated just a little with this shop, which is a little bit of a commute from the city (like a day trip!). But when you’re getting something splattered on your skin for the rest of your life, only the best is worth it, right?
Based out of Derby, tattoo artist Kevin Paul has made an impressive name for himself with his contributions to the inked art world. His roster of first class clientele is almost as impressive as his art itself, with returning customers to boast like Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran (You know that famous lion tattoo? Yeah, that was Kevin). Still, despite his extravagant connections, he hasn’t forgotten about us everyday tattoo folk. His studio keeps prices reasonable so as to remain accessible to all us B-listers. A tattoo from his studio would certainly be worth the trip from London.
Where: Russel Yard, 2 Derby Road, Melbourne, Derby DE73 8DZ