The UK's best vinyl record shops
Vinyl is to music as books are to literature. There's something special about holding a record in your hands; it draws you closer to the art and passion that went into making the music. In a world where technology allows us to detach so often, this can often be a valued connection.
The United Kingdom isn't without its quality vinyl spots perfect for hunting for those underground and mainstream records. Here are our faves.
Snooper’s Paradise in Brighton is pretty good, but there are a few better places for secondhand vinyl in the city. Rarekind, a couple of streets over (104 Trafalgar Street), has a great selection – lots of old disco, hip-hop, soundtracks – at very affordable prices.
Monkey Music Emporium (43 Baker Street) has some fantastic finds too, but is more orientated towards rock, punk and indie. If you’re a completist, The Wax Factor has pretty much every classic album ever released, along with a top-notch secondhand book section, but you’ll have to pay.
In Edinburgh there's Underground Solushn on Cockburn Street, for the young trendy DJ types, and Unknown Pleasures on Canongate.
There’s also one called Backbeat a bit out of the way in Newington, which has been there for years and is overflowing with boxes of records stacked floor to ceiling, front to back; it’s almost impossible to actually get into the shop.
Brill cafe, Exmouth Market, London – delicious smoked salmon bagels and good coffee and a small, but eclectic selection of CDs and vinyl.
No list of the best UK record shops should be without Gramex, near Waterloo station in London. The shop sells mostly CDs, with a small handful of LPs under the tables, and sells mostly classical discs with a smattering of jazz.
Do not go in there looking for something specific, as that way lies madness – nothing is in order. Instead, take some time browsing, chat to Roger, the genial and extremely knowledgeable owner, and fill your boots.
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Beatdown Records is just up from the central station and easy to miss (it’s in a basement) but well worth a visit.
Lots of new vinyl and CDs in the front of the shop, but the gem is the secondhand department: follow the twisting corridor at the back of the shop and you’ll end up in a secondhand vinyl wonderland. Ignore its website, which inexplicably lists only about 20 secondhand LPs; this place is packed.
Bridport Music is a beacon of light, surviving in perpetuity since the 1970s and run by a fantastic couple: Piers and Steph Garner.
They have employed countless young people, promote local music, host events/launches, put up posters for gigs, sell tickets for no commission for local events, adapted to CD and mail order, but kept selling vinyl and started selling instruments.
Rob’s Records in Nottingham deserves a mention just for cleanliness and its wonderful sense of order (Rob is definitely not OCD). Rob is a wonderful old school northern soul boy who turned his love for music into a job.
Find out (on t’internet) what record was number one on your birthday/wedding day, request said record from Rob then watch in wonder as he literally crate dives for birthday/anniversary-dated 45s framed up (sold on t’ebay). They make excellent gifts.
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This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
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