You can do anything in England’s capital, from meeting the queen and riding the London Eye to dancing all night long in a corner of Soho. And lucky for ink lovers, getting a tattoo is an experience Londoners know all about.
The city is home to some of Europe’s best artists and there’s no shortage of trendy parlours and piercing studios waiting to put you in the hot seat. Whether you’re an ink-junky traveling abroad for your next tattoo fix, or it’s your first ever piece and you want it done properly, London is the place to go.
From flash designs to intricate portraits, and from Muswell Hill to Peckham’s arches, there’s no limit on creativity in the London tattoo art scene and endless places to get one done. Tattoos are a big commitment, so doing your research is just as important as choosing your design. Here’s our pick of the best tattoo parlours in London so you can find your perfect fit. Let’s get into it.
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King’s Cross Tattoo Parlour, King’s Cross
Just minutes from King Cross station, this parlour first opened its doors in 2009 under the direction of renowned London artist and co-owner, Snappy Gomez. A variety of other styles are covered by the rest of the team, but specializing in black and grey realism, King’s Cross is your one-stop shop for grayscale illustration and portraiture.
The studio is open seven days a week and offers free consultations to all visitors. Most tattoos are on an appointment basis, but King’s Cross is old school, and you could bag a walk-in if you turn up at the right time. The studio itself is classical and eclectic with tons of designs to browse through. Check out Sergio Terrakiu’s work, a resident artist and master of Japanese design, as well as Carou Chiarellie’s for her neo-traditional style.
Address: 185 King’s Cross Road, London, WC1X 9DB
Contact: 0207 8374 634, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10.30 am to 7 pm, Sunday, 12 pm to 6 pm
Vagabond Tattoo, Hackney
Located on Hackney Road with a light and airy, gallery-style feel, Vagabond Tattoo is a sleek and edgy award-winning parlour. With a shop-wide focus on unique designs, each member of the team specializes in their own style from Japanese, to neo-traditional, fine-line, and geometric.
Established in 2012, the studio has been booked-up months in advance ever since. Punters line up the street for the flash sales so give them plenty of notice if you want to get inked here. Vagabond is where exhibition meets body art, and you can even buy merchandise from a number of the artists if you’re keen on their work.
Address: 471 Hackney Rd, Cambridge Heath, London E2 9ED
Contact: 07966 516868
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11 am to 7 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm
Rye Lanez Tattooing, Peckham
Exhibiting the best in up-and-coming artists from the heart of London’s trendiest neighborhood this side of the river, Rye Lanez is well-loved in the local area with a strong community spirit. Not just a tattoo studio, this warm and welcoming shop set below Peckham Rye Station, is a cultural hub for South London artists.
Founded in 2017 by Moby Kenyon, Rye Lanez started in a unit in the Rye Lane market before moving to the lucrative railway arches. Rye Lanez survived steep rent increases with the support of the local community through their GoFundMePage, and now the business is an established name in the area.
Long-serving artist, Chris ‘Gringo’ Garcia, has been practicing his trade since he was a young boy in Santiago, Chile. Rye Lanez accepted Gringo into the tight-knit community of London creatives, celebrating his gang-style tattoos when they would elsewhere be condemned. With a balance of male and female artists, you’ll find neo-traditional, fine-line, and Japanese styles, along with Gringo’s Picasso-esque pieces, a personal collection of abstract single-line portraits he calls the “100 faces project”.
Address: Unit 210, 22a Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QN
Contact: 020 7732 5482
Opening Hours: Open Daily, 11 am to 7 pm.
Founded by Rob Lawrence and wife Tamar, Inkwa is a warm and welcoming, family-run studio, specializing in several styles but with a strong focus on eclectic African art. Rob also specializes in modern Japanese design and the four resident artists each practice their own niche.
The space, located on a busy South London high street, feels more like an artist’s studio than a tattoo shop, with colorful African paintings and sketches replacing the skulls and roses of classic parlours. Inkwa regularly hosts guest artists alongside their resident team. Check out their website and Instagram and book well in advance for the chance to get inked by esteemed traveling artists.
Address: 254 Kirkdale, London, SE26 4NL
Contact: 020 3417 8290, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm
New Wave Tattoo, Muswell Hill
It might seem like your typical grungy but modest parlour from the onset, but New Wave has tattooed everyone from punk-pop stars to football legends. With almost five decades of experience in the bag, this top tattooing institution is as much a London landmark as any.
Located in the North London suburb of Muswell Hill, New Wave was founded by Lal Hardy in the 70s. Now a tattoo heavyweight, the talented artist had only recently received his first ink at the time. There is a small team of six artists now operating at the renowned studio, well-versed in their own distinct styles but ready to create a design that each customer will love. From tribal and portraiture to colorful Americana and blackwork tattoos, you’ll be sure to leave New Wave a happy customer if classic techniques are your thing.
Address: 157 Sydney Rd, London N10 2NL
Contact: 020 8444 8779
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30 am to 5.30 pm
Flamin’ Eight, Kentish Town
Evolving from a humble corner shop in Kentish Town to an esteemed and exciting studio, Flamin’ Eight is a museum for tattoo lovers, with all its decorative relics that will dance before your eyes while you’re getting tattooed. Just a stone’s throw from the iconic streets of Camden, Flamin’ Eight is as quirky as the surrounding neighborhoods but aims to bring customers the widest possible variety of tattoo art and design.
Hosting world-renowned artists within its own diverse team, you can guarantee quality tattooing, whatever the style. Naresh Bhana founded the parlour back in 1998 and has celebrated artistic freedom throughout the studio’s two-decade lifespan. The result is a gallery of unique and variegated works, which punters can spend hours flicking through if they’re lost for inspiration.
Address: 2 Castle Road, Kentish Town, Camden London, NW1 8PP
Contact: 020 7267 7888
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm
Cloak and Dagger, Shoreditch
Catering to every tattoo style and drawing clientele from all over the globe, Cloak and Dagger aim to personalize the tattoo experience with their warm team, and clean and relaxing studio. Inciting queues of customers to line the Shoreditch streets for their flash sales, the team of 12 artists each specializes in their own style from traditional, to black and grey, scripture, and Japanese.
Located just minutes from the vintage markets, Asian restaurants, and record stores of East London‘s Brick Lane, Cloak and Dagger has had its doors opened since 2013, pleasing all manner of customers for almost ten years. The studio prides itself on expert tattooing advice and is an important pillar in Shoreditch. Cloak and Dagger even offer a lucky customer the chance to win £250 toward tattoos every month. If that’s not giving back to the ink-loving community, I don’t know what is.
Address: 34 Chesire Street, London E2 6EH
Contact: 020 7175 0133
Opening Hours: Open Daily, 11 am to 7 pm
The London Tattoo Studio, Fulham
Attracting the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jodie Kidd, Jose Marinho, and The Beckhams, the London Tattoo Studio, or Fulham Tattoo as it is also known, is a tattooist to the stars. Undoubtedly one of the best tattoo parlours in London, the shop has been open for over 40 years and is part of the furniture in Fulham.
The studio is family-run by the Maclaren family and the son of owner Terry, Scott Maclaren, has made a big name for himself through his own artwork at the parlour, specializing in full-color traditional pieces, line work, and graphic script. Head to Fulham Tattoo for your intricate line pieces or large statement color works. Or simply for your claim to fame.
Address: 673 Fulham Rd., London SW6 5PZ
Contact: 020 7371 9985
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 4.30 pm
Jolie Rouge, Caledonian Road
Underground and edgy, the Jolie Rouge is home to some of London’s best-regarded tattoo creatives who use streetwise approaches to inspire their original artwork. The nautical-themed studio with its classic interior comprises gothic emblems and blood-red wallpaper that stands out against the grey streets of North London.
This warm creative hub is the place to get ink that other artists wouldn’t dare attempt. Graffiti influences some of the artist’s work, and you’ll find bold colors, difficult cover-ups, and racy cartoons consistent throughout their vast gallery of work.
Address: 364 Caledonian Rd, London N1 1DU
Contact: 020 7609 5111, [email protected]
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 11.30 am to 7 pm
How much do tattoos cost in London?
Tattoos aren’t cheap. The average price for a tattoo in the UK is around £130, but there’s a lot of variation within that number and tattoo prices depend on all sorts of factors. London is the most expensive part of England to get a tattoo, but prices don’t vary so much by region but more so by style, size, and the artist’s skill. Expect to pay a minimum of £50 for a small tattoo, and closer to £150 if your artist is in demand. Hourly rates sit at £100 to £150 in the capital for medium and large prices, while the biggest pieces, taking up huge portions of the leg or arm, often cost in excess of £700.
What is the legal age to get a tattoo in London?
In the UK, it is illegal to get a tattoo under the age of 18 but liability interestingly lies with the tattoo artist. A tattooist who willingly tattoos a young person or fails to ask for proof of age can be prosecuted and fined. The same tattoo age applies to the rest of Europe, although some governments are less strict with enforcing this.
How painful is a tattoo?
Tattoos are notoriously painful because the process involves needles that inject ink into the skin’s dermis layer. Most people report feeling pain during and after a tattoo, while others find them more bearable. Localized swelling, redness, and bleeding are all common after bigger tattoos. The area you get a tattoo also makes a difference to pain levels, with some people finding on-the-bone inks the most teeth grinding, and others suffering more from tattoos in tissue-dense areas. If you’re getting a big piece or one in a particularly sensitive area, your artist can offer you numbing cream to help with the pain.