London Independent Cinemas

We all love films, and seeing them on the big screen with a crowd is the best way to do so. Sometimes though big, chain multiplexes get a bit exhausting- especially when the popcorn price stuns you into silence for the rest of the evening. That’s why popping to a smaller indie cinema, with more comfort and stylish seating and theatres can be so inviting.

If you want your movie night to feel more like a luxury night out, we’ve put together a list of some of London’s best independent cinemas for a more intimate film affair.

London’s Best Independent Cinemas

The Prince Charles

Prince Charles

The Prince Charles has grown into something of a cult phenomenon: if you’re a fan of films, then the Prince Charles is a must-visit. Tucked away from the Odeons and Vues towering over Leicester Square, the Charles specialises in showing the best of cinema, from any era or country, all year round.

Unlike some other independent cinemas which tend to show indie films, the Charles is where you can see blockbusters, modern Oscar nominees and Golden Age classics all on a big screen, usually in their original film format. There are also sing-a-long events for musicals like Mamma Mia, quote-a-longs for comedies like Ghostbusters, and all kinds of movie marathons. It looks and feels like a cinema time machine, and Tarantino himself called it ” everything an independent movie theatre should be.”

Where: 7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY


The Rio


Another cinema that feels like a real throwback, The Rio is an Art Deco-style cinema that feels particularly grand. It shows modern crowd-pleasers like Barbie, as well as plenty of older films from classic Hollywood. There are also some of the best English and foreign language films, making it an ideal location for finding hidden gems of world cinema.

The Rio is also home to a much-loved bar that is consistently named one of the best cinema bars in the capital and has a big 400-seater Art Deco auditorium with a smaller, more intimate screen downstairs. Capturing both the feel of the 30s and keeping in touch with the present by playing host venue to a number of film festivals, it’s a great place for a night out.

Where: 107 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB


The Cinema at Selfridges


Selfridges isn’t what immediately comes to mind when you think of a place to catch a film, but since opening in 2019, The Cinema at Selfridges has established itself as a great place to lose yourself on the big screen.

Like the rest of Selfridges, it prides itself on being “luxury”, and it certainly has the goods to back that label up: the seats are serenely inviting, with an actual small table to put drinks rather than just a cup holder. Footrests are available at the front of one of the auditoriums, and everything is designed for maximum comfort and indulgence. The staircase by itself is luxurious enough. It tends to show one big current film at a time and also hosts movie trivia night if you’re feeling on the competitive side.

Where: 40 Duke St, London W1U 1AT


BFI at Southbank

BFI Southbank

The BFI is in many ways the heart of cinema in Britain and keeps the largest archive of films in the whole world. It’s no wonder then that the BFI complex at Southbank is one of the best places for film lovers in the country. There are three separate cinemas with a total of four screens running daily, as well as a bar area and studio space.

The BFI Film Festival is held here annually, and you can visit the shop here and find DVDs, books, film soundtracks and more. You can catch modern blockbusters and indie films here, and re-releases of cinema classics, often with live or recorded introductions and Q&As to make things extra illuminating. There are all sorts of seasons of films around various themes, and plenty more to make it a film buff’s paradise. The BFI IMAX is located around the corner near Waterloo Station, for a truly big screen experience.

Where: 0 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT | 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, South Bank, SE1 8XR for the IMAX


Electric Cinema


A way to really spark up your evening, the Electric Cinema is a pair of cinemas in Portobello and White City and will make your cinema trip feel truly stylish. Again, the theme here is a retro throwback to a different time in film history, with the main Portobello building dating back to the 190s as one of the first purpose-built picture houses.

The auditorium is nice and roomy, with luxury chairs, sofas and even a few beds at the front if you prefer to watch films horizontally. There are ample refreshments and treats available to grab before settling down too. The White City cinema meanwhile is a little more modern and state of the art, with 4K picture and Dolby Atmos sound to really take things to the next immersive level. Don’t worry, the seating is still lavish, so either option is a good one.

Where: portobello and white city


The Barbican Cinema


The Barbican is known for being an amazing hub of art and creativity, so of course it has a fab cinema to get lost in. There are three different screens, including the huge Cinema 1 to choose from, all with comfortable seats, high-quality sound and screens, and a general feeling of movie bliss.

Films from the hottest releases to world cinema favourites are shown here, and there’s also a very convenient weekly parent and baby screening just after 11am if you want to take in a film with your young one. An outdoor cinema, which we also called one of the best in London, runs annually (and might be even more extravagant).

Where: Barbican Centre, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS


The Regent Street Cinema

Regent Street Cinema

The place where the very first full motion picture was shown in the UK, Regent Street is a proper place of grandeur. The exterior is fancy enough and the inside is no different, with a golden glow to the auditorium, and a fab bar to chill in before a film.

As well as the latest in digital projection, the Regent Street Cinema also keeps its old Super 8, 16mm and 35mm film projectors up and running for the truly cinephile experience. Indie fare and studio fare are both key parts of the programming, as well as limited-release films from streaming services, like Apple TV+’s The Beanie Bubble. Classic cinema fare like Mary Poppins is often on the schedule, sometimes even featuring a throwback organ fanfare before the lights dim.

Where: 307 Regent St., London W1B 2HW


Clapham Picturehouse

Clapham Picture House

The much-loved Clapham Picturehouse is a big favourite of residents of South London. It isn’t as obviously fancy as some of our other picks on this list, but what it excels at is giving a truly streamlined experience that’s all about the films. The big retro sign on the exterior is a good sign of things to come, and inside you’ll find four screens to watch the biggest and best new films.

What’s also good about the Picturehouse is the bar/café that offers wine and beer but also their very own Picturehouse coffee, and even a selection of tasty sourdough pizzas if you feel particularly hungry after sitting through all three hours of Oppenheimer.

Where: 76 Venn St, London SW4 0AT


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