When I was an art student in London (many moons ago), there were several art stores that were my favourite haunts. Some value for money, others more expensive.
Luckily, some of them are still there.
One of my favourite traditional art shops is L. Cornelissen & Son on Great Russell Street, just minutes from the British Museum.
I went there yesterday and I love it because it feels like a step back in time, to the days when you could browse art materials in person and buy items you never knew you needed, all stacked in drawers that you can slide open to reveal the treasures within.
Other favourite haunts that need a visit again are:
Russell and Chapple is where you can buy stretcher frames and rolls of canvas or buy prestretched canvases. I no longer paint in oil paints, so those days are gone now, but if you do this is the store for you.
Back in the day, when I was a student Green & Stone, on the Fulham Road in Chelsea, was where you could buy traditional art materials. It was down the road from Chelsea College of Art (which has since moved). It now offers exhibitions as well as supplying art materials.
If you are around the Covent Garden area, then it’s worth a visit to the Graphic Design Centre. It’s a larger store with arts and craft materials.
Back in the day, when I lived in London, the best and biggest store to go to at the time was Atlantis in the East End. It’s moved several times since then and is now located in Hackney. I’ve not visited it recently, but I’m aiming to when I’m back in that part of town.
It goes without saying that if you do plan a visit, check to see if they are open first and where they are.