Deciding which record store in London to go to and which records to buy are rather big decisions for any vinyl lover on any given occasion. But these decisions are especially hard on Record Store Day.
London is full of exciting, genre-focused record stores spread far and wide across the boroughs. You’ll find everything from old-school hip hop to heavy metal, jazz to indie folk. And in a few days, you’ll be able to nab up a few Record Store Day special releases too or maybe even get a record signed by one of your favourite artists.
So take your finger away from the Spotify app and read on to find out where we will be on April 22…
London’s best record shops
Stranger Than Paradise, located inside Mare Street Market, is an independent record store that champions the best of music. Old or new, whatever your music taste, you’ll find that dream album waiting for you on the shelves.
Owned by Noreen, the record shop has become a favourite amongst Hackney dwellers. Naturally, records can be found strapped upon every inch of the store, from the shelves through to the walls, pinning their current lp favourites. Head down, flick through the racks and uncover your new favourite artist.
On Record Store Day: You can find special edition vinyl from artists like Bjork and Blur as well as a new box set from David Bowie and a new compilation from Dolly Parton.
Mare Street Market, 117 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4RU
Dating back to 1984, Reckless Records was the first record store to open up on Berwick Street, Soho, and over 35 years later, continues to welcome fans, old and new, through the doors every day.
Even if you’ve never visited before, you might recognise the shop front from the cover of Oasis’s album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. The store specialises in second-hand vinyl, spanning a range of styles and genres. Expect everything from metal and rock through to reggae, electronic and soul.
If you’re looking to sell your collection, the team will be able to help you out and advise you on all your specialist needs.
On Record Store Day: Because of Reckless Records dedication to second-hand vinyl, there’s no way to know for certain what will be on their shelves. Considering their selection is excellent every day, this shop is definitely worth stopping by.
30 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 8RH
For those on the hunt for collectibles, make sure you check out Flashback Records. These guys specialise in rare collectable records, as well as boasting a wide range of new, contemporary vinyl in a whole array of styles and genres.
You’ll find them located in Islington, Crouch End and Shoreditch, and all three locations are well worth exploring. They also host live in-store performances occasionally too, check out their events page for more details.
On Record Store Day: From Generation X’s special release to SOMETHING, Flashback Records will only be selling their RSD catalogue in person at their three locations. The titles will only be available for online order if stock remains. Bringing back the fun the back to cratedigging, Flashback Records most definitely needs to be added to the day’s itinerary.
Islington, Crouch End & Shoreditch
A favourite amongst every music journalist, musician and vinyl collector, Honest Jon’s is an independent store located on Portobello Road in Ladbroke Grove.
Owned and run by Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield, these guys have been operating the record store since the mid seventies and specialise in jazz, blues, reggae, soul and dance music. Head down and flick through the rack upon rack of options.
You’ll also find their second branch in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross.
On Record Store Day: This place is bound to be packed as they are known for their vast collection. If you want to take a look and see what they will have before heading to the shop, their website has all of their recent arrivals cataloged.
278 Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5TE
Books and vinyl, what more could you ask for?
Find The Book and Record Bar in Norwood, serving up the finest selection of used books and records that London has to offer. The emporium offers a maze of possibility, spanning a multitude of genres. It’s also a bit of a social hub for live radio broadcasts and music events.
Head here for a drink and a good read, catch up or vinyl scour.
On Record Store Day: What’s a better way to end a day full of vinyl hunting with a live DJ and a drink while being surrounded by more records? This shop is a record store , book store, and coffee shop by day. But depending on the night, it becomes a bar with a DJ. Double check their Facebook for upcoming events.
20 Norwood High Street, Norwood, SE27 9NR
East London’s Yo Yo Records is your one-stop shop for US originals and vintage pressings. These guys know how to do it right and how to do it well; their knowledge is specialised and detailed, and you’ll leave with a bag full of collectibles and stunning finds.
Expect to explore shelves abrim with funk, soul, jazz, fusion, Brazilian, Latin, disco, boogie and rare grooves.
On Record Store Day: In a store full of so many rarities, there is bound to be something that gives any vinyl fan a moment of starstruck. Because of the immense vintage collection at this shop, it is always fun to browse around, especially on Record Store Day.
324D Hackney Road, E2 9ED
For the electronic music fans out there, look to Phonica record store in Soho to help you fill your club music void. Find all of your favourite names, including a few ultra-premium handmade limited editions just for the store.
Phonica also sells a handful of used records too, so for those wanting to find a record at a bargain price these might be your best option. Otherwise head here for dance vibes and big sounds.
On Record Store Day: If you are looking to end Record Store Day with arms full of vinyl but aren’t trying to break the bank, Phonica is the place for you. If you are on the hunt for new or used records, this place has an impressive amount of electronic vinyl as well as its many vast subgenres. The sale section of this place insures that you won’t leave empty handed.
51 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7LZ
Forget expanding your collection from buying off the web, head to All Ages Records for the real experience.
Specialising in old-school punk, All Ages Records is London’s best independent record store for all things edgy and hardcore. What with it being located in Camden Town, it only seems natural. As well as vinyl, expect to be scouring fanzines, books, patches, t-shirts, dvds and even pick up some gig tickets for a show later this year.
On Record Store Day: This store is sure to be packed with all different kinds of people that have a love for punk music. This store prides itself on the fact that it only carries the one genre. With the immense collection and the amount of punk fans in Camden, you might need to prepare yourself for a bit of an impromptu mosh pit.
I don’t think Kingston gets enough love. The riverside destination is home to loads of brilliant independent stores, including Banquet Records.
Banquet Records, which can be found on Eden Street, sells new vinyl, CDs and everything in between. Explore the world of indie, punk-rock and dance all in one place. As well as selling records, you’ll also find them putting on over 200 events a year in and around the local area, from in-store gigs to huge theatre performances with big touring bands.
On Record Store Day: Banquet Records has been counting down the days until Record Store Day. On their Instagram, they have been posting videos of the amount of special edition vinyl they ordered. Their employees have been teasing which records they will have. Patrons of this store are eager to see the Same Fender and Jessie Ware special releases.
52 Eden Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EE
It would be odd not to include Rough Trade in this round-up. What once started as Geoff Travis’s independent record store in Ladbroke Grove, has since flourished into a huge group of independent record shops across the UK and US.
Find everything from new releases, pre-orders and Rough Trade exclusives, as well in-store performances and events with some of the biggest, brightest new and old stars in the music industry.
On Record Store Day: Rough Trade doesn’t mess around when it comes to Record Store Day. They are going to have the most sought after records for this year’s releases such as The 1975 performing with the BBC Philharmonic and Taylor Swift’s Long Pond Sessions. Not only are they offering an incredible selection, but at each of their stores across the UK there is a lineup of different signings and performances that will be happening all throughout the day. If you are looking for more of an experience than a shopping day, this is the place for you.
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Over in Hackney, Liam and John, owners of Atlantis Records, spend their days buying and reselling used records for the best possible price. Walking into the shop itself feels like home for anyone who is accustomed to the warm sound of vinyl. You can tell there is an undeniable passion for music and vinyl just upon entering the doorway. They have a wide selection as they are known for making deals with Geoff Travis the founder of Rough Trade as well as any who is interested in selling.
On Record Store Day: Everyone raves about the reasonable prices and excellent selection in the shop and they aren’t wrong. The personality within this shop cannot be replicated. If you find yourself in Hackney on Record Store Day, it’s definitely worth taking a browse.
8 Clarence Rd, London, E5 8HB
Tucked away in Greenwich, you will come across everything from your favourite contemporary release to an eight-track cartridge which are barely existent these days. Casbah Records carries new and vintage records, but specialises in 60s and 70s rock and pop as well as TV and film cult soundtracks. Customers are encouraged to strike up conversations with the employees and talk about music.
On Record Store Day: Every RSD Casbah Records hold an annual charity raffle where all money for the raffle goes to Refuge and Guide Dogs UK charities. They also host a music quiz that anyone could join in on. And of course, they will have hundreds of limited and special vinyl releases in the store that day.
320 – 322 CREEK ROAD, GREENWICH SE10 9SW
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Self described as collectors of “amateur and non-amateur music,” the World of Echo is the perfect shop for anyone who has a slight interest in a specific niche of genre. This is a store that mainly focuses on different subgenres and really gives them the attention they often don’t get. From avant-garde to krautrock, this store does the many niches of music justice.
On Record Store Day: If you have been looking to dive a little deeper into music and out of the mainstream, this is the place to start. Looking at crates full of genres you have never heard of can be intimidating, but it can also be exciting. World of Echo is the best place to go if you want more of a challenge on Record Store Day.
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Down on Berwick Street, close to Reckless Records, sits Sister Ray. This is one of the few record shops left on Berwick which was once a musical hub in London. Named after the Velvet Underground song, there are many Sister Ray exclusives to come across within the store because of the long-term relationship they have with music in London. They carry exclusive indie records as well as Dinked exclusives which is a collective of different UK record stores. This store is a part of history and continues to attract music lovers to come into the shop.
On Record Store Day: Sister Ray is going to be stocked on Record Store Day. They will have exclusive David Bowie, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, and U2 records. Their catalogue continues on for several pages.
75 Berwick St, London W1F 8TG
Love record shops in London? Boogie into the night at one of London’s live music bars