The 10 Best Tattoo Parlours in London, England

Flamin' Eight in North London has been around since 1998
Flamin' Eight in North London has been around since 1998 | © WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sage Fitzpatrick
4 March 2021

Getting a tattoo is an exciting prospect, but it’s important to take your time and research the best tattoo parlours in your area before getting inked. Lucky for Londoners, the UK capital is teeming with excellent choices, and Culture Trip has narrowed it down to the 10 very best.

Lowrider Tattoo

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This acclaimed tattoo shop in the trendy Bethnal Green area has won awards worldwide for its quality designs. Founder Jose Lopez, who launched the first Lowrider branch in Los Angeles, is known for his black and grey fine-line tattoos, which are inspired by designs from the streets and prisons of California. With a reputation as one of the top tattoo parlours in the world, you’ll need to book ahead for a slot at Lowrider, which has four house artists, plus guest tattooists on its roster.

Good Times Tattoo

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Tattoo, tattoo parlour, tattoo art
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This East London tattoo parlour is home to some of London’s top tattoo artists, including Nikole Lowe, known for London Ink – plus, it features a rotating roster of guest artists. Walking through the doors of Good Times Tattoo, you’ll find Buddhas on the walls and big windows that cast a lot of light around the space, which help create a relaxed atmosphere before getting inked.

Hell to Pay

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Hell to Pay is right at home in the heart of eclectic Camden Town, with black wooden floors, tiling and leather tattoo chairs. Established in 2004 by Reka, a professional piercer from Hungary, the shop has become a local favourite. Come for quality custom-made tattoos, specialised in traditional, sailor-type designs, as well as new-school and neo-traditional options. Hell to Pay also offers a range of piercings and quality jewellery and prides itself on providing a bespoke service.

Frith Street Tattoo

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Frith Street Tattoo, London
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This Soho-based tattoo parlour opened in 2004 and has enjoyed incredible success in the industry ever since. With excellent resident tattooists, as well as famous artists such as Frank Carter making guest appearances, you’ll leave the studio with a stunning piece of custom artwork for life. Their designs can be as small as a hand tat or as large as a Japanese bodysuit.

Vagabond Tattoo

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At first glance, Vagabond is far from your average tattoo parlour. Set on Hackney Road, the shop has a bright, gallery-style feel, which was put together by co-owners Paul and graphic designer Rebecca. The Vagabond Tattoo team specialises in different design techniques, from blackwork to colour Japanese tattoos, fine-line and neo-oriental designs. Slots are in demand since the studio has won awards for excellence from Time Out and Conde Nast Traveller.

New Wave Tattoo

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New Wave Tattoo, London
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New Wave Tattoo, in the suburb of Muswell Hill, is a London institution. It was founded by tattooing heavyweight Lal Hardy in the late 70s and has inked everyone, from celebrity footballers and pop stars to punks and mods. This studio has six talented artists, who are well-versed in all styles of tattooing. It may look modest from the front, but New Wave Tattoo has become one of the most dependable places to get inked in the city.

Love Hate Social Club

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Love Hate Social Club, just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Portobello Market, was co-founded by Ami James of Miami Ink and NY Ink. It’s home to some of the very best tattoo artists from the US and Europe, who all have their own unique styles, such as 90s cartoons or skulls and roses. You’ll also find a studio of the same name in Cork, Ireland.

Flamin’ Eight

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Customer Sean Murphy waits to have a tattoo done at Flamin' Eight tattoo studio in Kentish Town, London, as they reopen to customers on following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England
© PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Flamin’ Eight tattoo parlour, in Kentish Town in North London, has been inking people since 1998. Its founder Naresh Bhana set out to create a studio that allowed his artists to have freedom of expression while maintaining quality – and that he has done. This place is full of inspiration for those needing a helping hand, but the resident artists also have their own specialities (including realism, portraiture and fine-line tattoos) if you’re after something a little more specific.

Cloak and Dagger

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The artists at Cloak and Dagger, just off Brick Lane in East London, are specialists in Japanese-style tattoos – think colourful, intricate sleeves. But that’s not to say they’re not skilled in other areas, such as script and geometric designs, too. You’ll find 12 friendly tattooists at this parlour just waiting to offer advice.

Evil From the Needle

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Evil From the Needle, London
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Evil From the Needle, which set up shop in 1986, is the longest-running studio in Camden. This studio was opened by world-famous artist Pascal “Bugs” Jarrion but has since been handed over to the esteemed Jeff Ortega, a tattooer from New York. The artists here specialise in a number of styles, and the parlour has been ranked as one of the top five in London by Skin & Ink Magazine.

Amy Blyth contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on March 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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