London’s 10 Best Independent Cinemas

By Justin Wooley |
28th January 2019

Calling all cinephiles! From those trying to get their fix of cult classics to anyone looking to catch the latest blockbuster: do multiplexes leave you feeling slightly jaded during a movie night? Are you after a venue that cultivates the visceral fulfilment caused by the rolling of celluloid? Then it’s time to move your two-hour reality-escapes way from Vue and Odeon, and into a place that loves movies as much as you do.

The Prince Charles Cinema

The Prince Charles Cinema

Have you been thinking to yourself, “hm… my Greatest Showman shower karaoke has gotten quite good, if only there was a place to display my vocal talents?” Then you, and everyone else who happens to be at the Prince Charles Cinema, is in luck. This cinema has distinguished itself as a London staple offering sing-a-longs, all-day movie marathons, and forthright insights displayed on its letter board. So why not listen to, “customers wanted: apply within”.

Where: 7 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BY
Website: www.princecharlescinema.com

Rio Cinema

Rio Cinema

Steeped in over 100 years of history, this art deco cinema has the flair of a 1930’s auditorium. As you sit back in your plush red velvet seat the ambience, which features atmospheric music and long red curtains that swish back as the show begins, will transport you back decades.

Where: 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2PB
Website: www.riocinema.org.uk

Phoenix Cinema

Phoenix Cinema

This single-screen cinema is the longest operating cinema in London. Running since 1912, Phoenix Cinema has risen from presumptive ashes more than once to become a staple in the local community. It often holds events that screen films in 35mm, and is a must-visit destination for filmmakers.

Where: 52 High Road, East Finchley, N2 9PJ
Website: www.phoenixcinema.co.uk

BFI Southbank

BFI Southbank

The film school savants dream, BFI Southbank, is the home of the British Film Institute. With a steady and well-balanced diet of foreign, independent, and mainstream films, as well as, being the host of several British Film Institute festivals, the BFI Southbank has established itself as a must go venue for film lovers. Also, make sure that you keep an eye on their events calendar as they often have notable filmmakers for Q&A sessions.

Where: Belvedere Road, Lambeth, SE1 8XT
Website: www.bfi.org.uk

Electric Cinema

Electric Cinema

With two locations, Portobello and Shoreditch, Electric Cinema is the ideal location for luxurious movie-watching. Pick-out your armchair, sofa, or double bed (yes, you read that correctly the front row of the Portobello location is a series of double beds), and grab one of their signature cashmere blankets to get cosy during the film. While this is definitely a dangerous location for the sleep-prone and heavy-lidded, there may not be a more comfortable theatre.

Where: 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2ED
Website: www.electriccinema.co.uk

The Lexi Cinema

The Lexi Cinema

We all know that tiny bit of guilt that creeps to the surface, when we are treating ourselves to a outward excursion. The Lexi Cinema takes that guilt and boots it right back to its place in our conscience. This cinema donates all of its profits to charity and is staffed predominantly by local volunteers. Outside on its brick frame it says, “I am a cinema. Love me,” which is a command easily followed by everyone that enters.

Where: 194B Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Green, NW10 3JU
Website: www.thelexicinema.co.uk

Rich Mix

Rich Mix

Not sure of whether you are looking for a film, art exhibition, theatre performance, or live music? Then Rich Mix is your spot. This converted Shoreditch warehouse has three screens and five floors. The cultural hub offers a multitude of cinematic experiences and much more, which means that there is a more than likely chance that you will find yourself marking your calendars for your next visit upon arrival.

Where: 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, E1 6LA
Website: www.richmix.org.uk

Regent Street Cinema

Regent Street Cinema

Built in 1848, the Regent Street Cinema is a piece of cinematic history. It has been revitalized by the University of Westminster, and is one of the few cinemas to show 16mm and 35mm film, along with 4K digital film.

Where: 307 Regent Street, Marylebone, W1B 2HW
Website: www.regentstreetcinema.com

Genesis Cinema

Genesis Cinema

Settled in the East End on Mile End Road, this converted theatre house was formerly home to the likes of Charlie Chaplin. Now it offers its guests seasonal themes, exclusive screenings, and mainstream titles. You might also find yourself inside its two luxury studios, Studio 4 and 5, which are outfitted with comfy sofas and armchairs.

Where: 93-95 Mile End Road, Stepney Green, E1 4UJ
Website: www.genesiscinema.co.uk

Arthouse

Arthouse

Arthouse hails itself more than a cinema, but a haven for the arts. It runs comedy shows, theatre, and live-music, alongside of its two screens. Converted from an old Salvation Army building in 2014, they are known for showing independent and foreign films.

Where: 159A Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, N8 9BT
Website: www.arthousecrouchend.co.uk


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