London’s Best Vintage Shops: From Brick Lane to Portobello Road
Our ultimate guide to getting your thrift on in London – because second-hand means twice as loveable, right?
If you go vintage shopping in London, it’s unlikely that you’ll leave empty-handed. You could be perusing the stalls at Spitalfields Market or scouring Hackney Flea Market when you find that one-of-a-kind item you’ve searched high and low for in what seems like an eternity. Or maybe you’re checking out the antiques on Portobello Road, or hitting up bustling Brick Lane for some serious thrifting. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we promise vintage stores in London equals vintage shopping on a whole different level. We’ve collected our favourite spots in the city to make it easier for you (both with furniture and beautiful clothes) – all you need to do now is head to London and get your thrift on.
The Old Cinema
Call us obsessed, but we love everything about The Old Cinema. Found in what used to be a picture house (surprise, surprise), it first opened its doors in 1979, and has subsequently become a London institution for second-hand shopping, with an ever-changing, fascinating range of inventory. You never know what you’ll find when you swing by the Chiswick shop – it could be a beautiful Art Deco lamp coming from the US, gilded mirrors from Italy, or retro textiles from India. Brilliant at sourcing unique items, some of their finds have also made it onto the set of Hollywood productions, and into plenty of exclusive bars, trendy hotels, and cool bakeries in London.
Paper Dress Vintage
Found in Hackney, Paper Dress is about as unique as they come. A vintage boutique by day, it turns into a bar/music venue at night. They also host an array of events – from jive classes to fashion illustration classes. All of their stock is hand-sourced from the UK, with examples of beautiful polka-dotted fit and flare silhouettes from the 1950s to flowery maxi dresses from the 1970s. There’s also an in-house alteration service for anyone who wants their new vintage treasure to fit like a glove!
If you don’t feel like searching far and wide for the perfect teak chest, why not head to Forest? Fuelled by the owner’s love of prestigious Scandinavian design, this boutique is a must-visit for any mid-century modern fiend. Deliveries from Danish’s vintage markets arrive every few weeks, filled with vintage treasures from Hans J. Wegner furniture to rosewood desks and bookcases. If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, they’ve recently opened up a shop there too.
A self-proclaimed vintage department store, you can find ATIKA near east London’s bustling Brick Lane, another mecca for vintage clothing that shouldn’t be missed. This store covers more than 6000 square feet, which is filled with everything from 90s streetwear to Japanese kimonos and vintage American workwear. Remember to take in the surroundings as well, the building is gorgeous – a historic Victorian warehouse, it was once Europe’s biggest cobbler’s.
Two Columbia Road
Two Columbia Road is a collector’s paradise. In many ways, it feels more like an art gallery than a furniture shop, because pristine furniture sourced from all over the world is displayed alongside contemporary photography and conversational works of art. Swing by the shop to take a look, who knows what treasures you might find? Perhaps it’ll be a rare Pierre Jeanneret chair, a sofa designed by Finn Juhl, or something by Charles and Ray Eames, you’ll never know unless you go! If it was up to us, we’d go on a Sunday because Columbia Road Flower Market is just around the corner, and we can’t say no to the combination of pretty flowers and vintage furniture.
Emma Goldman Vintage & Costumes
If you’re serious about buying vintage clothing, there’s no better place than Notting Hill’s Portobello Road. We say: begin your journey at Emma Goldman Vintage & Costumes. The shop only opened in 2016, but it has already become a bright, shining star in the vintage sky. You can find pretty much anything here – from elegant to streetwear, glamorous 1920s flapper dresses to iconic British brands like Burberry and Barbour. This shop is so good at what it does that it even hires out costumes for BBC period dramas and West End musicals.
Stepping through the doors at one of LASSCO’s two London outlets (Vauxhall and Bermondsey) feels like entering into a time capsule filled with the most beautiful and grand items we’ve ever set our eyes on. If you mean business and you actually want to bring something home, be prepared to fork out, it’s expensive. But at the same time, where else could you pick up an early twentieth-century museum case that’s been removed from The British Museum? Or a Louis XVI-style canapé sofa with lime green upholstery that probably used to sit in some fancy mansion somewhere in the UK?
Need somewhere to stay after you’ve done all of your vintage shopping? Check our London collection for the most stunning homes – some of them might even be flooded with vintage items, who knows?