In the past few years, buoyed by the revival in sales of vinyl records, independent record shops have undergone something of a resurgence.
It’s easy to spend hours browsing in these unique and magical places, and what better way to travel to them than by foot or bike? Especially if you have sturdy panniers on hand to transport your purchases home.
With Record Store Day coming up on Saturday, 13th April 2019 we’ve asked our team around the UK to highlight their favourite independent record shops on or near the National Cycle Network.
A recent addition to the lovely, sunny fishing village of Broughty Ferry. This very modern-looking shop has friendly and helpful staff, sells a wide selection of new releases and regularly hosts in-store performances. Their Scottish music section is a great browse for both the curious and well-informed and they are incredibly supportive of local acts too. It’s also just round the corner from National Route 1, on the largely traffic-free Dundee to Arbroath route.
On a cobbled, hilly street just off National Route 1 in Edinburgh, famed for Avengers film locations and Harry Potter paraphernalia, you'll find the last remaining dance music specialist record store in Edinburgh. It is a small store that specialises in vinyl-only dance music.
They also cover all formats and genres of music, as well as tools for music production, books, tickets sales and memorabilia. All the staff are involved in the music industry and are well versed in what's on offer, both in the store and about the city.
A stone’s throw from Route 75 and situated within the cosy confines of Mono vegan café and bar, Monorail Records has been a feature of the Glasgow music scene since the early 2000s.
With an expertly-curated selection of everything ranging from Scandinavian twee to avant-garde and drone, via local heroes Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai of course, all tastes are well catered for. Flying in the face of record store snobbery with the usual level of Glaswegian straightforwardness, the brilliant staff ensure every visit results in a brilliant new find.
A relatively new addition to the city’s record scene, having opened in 2015, Bear Tree is a one-stop shop for new wax in Sheffield. Stocking all the expected new releases in the indie/alternative sphere, there’s also a significant experimental section as well as stacks of reasonably-priced second-hand vinyl.
It’s located along National Route 6, and there is cycle parking available on nearby Devonshire Green.
Although they have a couple of other stores across London too, it’s the Music & Goods Exchange’s store in Greenwich which has really swallowed a lot of our cash. Located just off National Route 4 and close to the Cutty Sark, it’s one of our favourite spots for second-hand records in London.
Stickers left on the records show how much the prices have been marked down over the years too, so you can sleep easy knowing how much you’ve saved. But don’t forget to head to the basement for their 25p bargains too. Be careful your records don’t warp in the sun if you choose to lounge in Greenwich Park afterwards, though.
Piccadilly Records opened in 1978 and moved to its current location on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in 1997 (roughly a kilometre from National Route 66). It stocks a large selection of vinyl and CDs across a wide variety of genres from Indie to disco, funk, house, Balearic, psych and everything in between.
On the opposite side of Oldham Street is Vinyl Exchange. Since opening in 1988 it has become the largest buyer and seller of rare and second-hand records, CDs and DVDs in the north-west of England, with hard-to-find gems across its two floors.
Clampdown Records on Paton Street is a 2 minute ride from National Route 66. Visit Clampdown for new and used vinyl, CDs, music DVDs and tapes, including rock, punk, indie, funk, soul, jazz and more. They may also be willing to pay cash for your old CDs, records and other rare or offbeat memorabilia.