London’s best record stores

Intoxica

As CD sales continue to decline, vinyl has seen something of a revival. Leave iTunes to the side for a moment – there’s nothing quite like going to a record store and spending an hour having a good rummage around. In London, there are loads of places you can pick up some new records, and here are some of our favourites.

Though Portobello Road might seem like the kind of area where residents buy vinyl just to hang on their walls, there are some good shops worth checking out. Intoxica! (the exclamation mark is mandatory) is no dusty old store; there’s huge tribal masks and bamboo everywhere. They have a really diverse collection of records, so it’s not a bad place to start if you’re new to buying vinyl or are just starting your collection.

Just down the road is Honest Jon’s, who specialise more in jazz, soul and reggae music. Founded in 1974, it’s gone on to spawn Honest Jon’s Records, a record label run in conjunction with Damon Albarn (his side-project The Good, The Bad & The Queen was released through them).

Not far from there in Notting Hill is the original Rough Trade. Originally specialising in US and Jamaican imports, they soon established themselves as a leading outfit during London’s punk scene. This store still has amazing artwork and posters from when it traded in the 80’s, and even if you don’t end up buying any records, it’s worth the trip here just to take in the atmosphere. In 2007, they opened a 5000 sq ft flagship store in the ultra-trendy Brick Lane, which has become renowned for its book collection and incredible coffee almost as much as it has for its music.

Soho is not to be overlooked either, with some of the best record stores in the capital located within a few minutes’ walk of each other. Phonicaon Poland Street and Reckless Records and Sister Ray, both on Berwick Street, are well worth your time.

Finally, in Islington, and Crouch Hill, there’s Flashback Records, with helpful staff and a great stock, ranging from new releases to classics of the 50s. Why not clear the afternoon and visit them all?

This article first appeared in The Telegraph on August 11th.

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