Best Art Materials Shops in London

A list of my favorite shops for buying art supplies when I'm in London.

When it comes to buying art materials in London, you've got quite a bit of choice both centrally and slightly further afield. This is a list of my favorite art supplies stores (many of which do online sales too).

Cass Art, Soho, W1

This is top of my list because of its convenient location, just around the corner from the National Portrait Gallery (and National Gallery on Trafalgar Square), at the bottom of Charing Cross Road. It's a tiny shop packed with art materials (and often people). Don't expect to find anything unusual or every brand of paint, but it's got most of the mainstream supplies and a good range of sketchbooks. Prices are competitive. Look out for "specials" which are often a very good buy.

Address: 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP

Open: Every day

Online store opened October 2013 (UK only) More »

L. Cornelissen & Son
By Gryffindor (Own work) [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cornelissen's has been in business since 1855 and you can't beat the shop for character, with its shelves stacked with bottles of pigments and little packets of all sorts of traditional artist's materials (plus the more 'usual' supplies). Don't be intimidated by it looking like a shop for serious professional artist's only. I've always found the staff friendly and helpful, and they don't mind if you just gawk at things such as "dragon's blood" (a natural resin).

Cornelissen's prices are competitive, if not always the cheapest, but if you're looking for a specific art material or something less commonplace, it's the place I'd go.

Address: 105 Great Russell Street WC1B 3RY (down the road from British Museum)

Open: Monday to Saturday More »

Art Supplies Shops in London
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans

Besides being well stocked with art materials (painting, drawing, and graphic), this shop is a great place for buying arts-related gifts from mugs to pencil organizers to quirky sketchbooks.

Location: 16-18 Shelton Street WC2H 9JL (one block across and two down from Covent Garden tube station)

Open: Monday to Saturday and Sunday afternoon. More »

Best Art Materials Stores in London, UK
Photo courtesy of Shepherds

Paper, paper, and more paper... from blotting paper to the finest artist's paper, plus related bookbinding supplies, beautiful sketchbooks and notebooks, and other often-hard-to-find things, that's what makes this so fine.

Location: 30 Gillingham Street, London SW1V 1HU. (Nearest tube is Victoria Station. Tip for finding them from Shepherds: go into the train station, look for the exit nearest platform two, turning right up Wilton Road.

Phone: 0207 233 9999

Offers workshops.

Open: Monday to Saturday

(Updated September 2013: It used to be at 76 Southampton Row WC1B 4AR in Holborn, near the British Museum. I haven't yet been into the new shop but plan to next time I'm in London.) More »

Atlantis is a bit of a mission to get to, but worthwhile for the competitive prices if you're buying quite a few tubes of paint and for the pleasure of browsing around. I have on occasion found the shop's stock quite depleted when looking for brushes and pastels, as if they were waiting for a delivery.

Location: 68-80 Hanbury Street E1 5JL. (A couple of block east of the old Spitsfields Market.)

Open: Every day More »

Cowling & Wilcox, Soho

Art Supplies Shops in London
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans

This is more of a general store than a specialist one, stocking artist's supplies, graphics materials, and some crafting supplies. I always pop in if I'm in the area for a browse (though Broadwick Street is one to get your map out to find!).

There's a branch of Cass Arts very close too, at 24 Barwick Street.

Location: 26-28 Broadwick Street W1F 8HX

Open: Monday to Saturday

Intaglio printmaking art supplies store in London
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans

Down the road a fair bit and around a few corners from the Tate Modern you'll find Intaglio Printmaker, a small shop crammed with printmaking supplies, including a range of printmaking papers.

Location: 9 Playhouse Court, 62 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0AT

Open Monday to Saturday More »

Cass Art, Islington Branch

Art Supplies Shops in London
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans

Cass Art's flagship store is also a mission to get to and I wouldn't go unless you were in Islington for some other reason, couldn't find something elsewhere, wanted to browse in a larger art materials store (three floors), or wanted an excuse to ride the longest escalator at any tube station (Angel).

Location: 66-67 Colebrooke Row N1 8AB

Open: Monday to Sunday

Online store opened October 2013 (UK only)

Other London Art Materials Shops

There are of course a variety of other places to buy art supplies in London. Shops I've heard about but haven't been to (yet) include:

  • Jackson's Art Supplies have a large store in Hackney. (I haven't been there, yet, though I have bought supplies mail order from them and found their customer service good.)
  • Green & Stone, 259 Kings Road SW3 5EL
  • AP Fitzpatrick 142 Cambridge Heath Road E1 5QJ
  • Paintworks 99-101 Kingsland Road E2 8AG