Top five alternative cinemas in London


When you visit London there is so much on offer in terms of attractions that sometimes it can be nice to just do something similar to what you would at home. A trip to the cinema is one such activity. Perhaps you didn’t manage to get tickets to that show you wanted to see on the west end or maybe you just fancy a relaxing evening after a few action packed nights in the capital. Whatever your reason, you can’t go wrong with a good film.

And you can still make going to the cinema a unique experience in the capital by opting for an independent venue. As you might expect, there are plenty on offer in London, each one quirkier than the last. So trade your Coca Cola for craft beer, get yourself some freshly made popcorn and sit down for the kind of intimate viewing the big cinema chains just don’t offer any more.

Here are some of London’s best independent cinemas:

The Ritzy, Brixton

Built in the 1910s, this cinema looks like it has been stuck in a garish time warp – one of the reasons why it’s so good! The Ritzy is one of the UK’s largest specialist cinemas and caters to all tastes by showing a little bit of everything. It is run by Picturehouse who own a number of art house cinemas in the capital.

Cinema in London

“The Electric Pavilion”, as it was once known, puts on a mixture of current blockbusters, art house films and world cinema. There is even a live music venue named UPstairs which is open seven nights a week. The Ritzy really is a cinema like no other.

The closest tube station is Brixton, which you can reach on the Victoria line.

Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place

The word quirky should be reserved for the Prince Charles Cinema as that’s really the only word to describe this place. At its most basic level, this is a place to go watch a film. However, there is so much more on offer for you to take advantage of here.

There’s bowling, pre-movie cocktails, singalong films, vintage movie screenings, cult classics, all-night marathons – you name it, it’s here. Recently, the cinema has also undergone a refit so that it now shows more big name titles as well as older films and independent productions.

Head to Leicester Square tube station and the cinema is a short walk away. You can get here on the Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Art House, Crouch End

This incredibly popular little cinema is tucked away in Crouch End, North London and come the weekend, it’s absolutely rammed with movie buffs after an authentic experience. With only two screens, it’s an intimate affair where you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fellow viewers.

There’s live ballet, gay and lesbian movies, live National Theatre performance streams as well as the top films. Front of house comprises of a trendy little bar that is serviced by friendly, helpful staff.

With no tube station nearby, you will have to take the Overground line to Crouch Hill and then walk from here. Crouch End’s high street is full of great bars with The Queens and The King’s Head being two of the best.

Curzon Soho

Curzon Soho is said to have one of the best cinema bars in the city and regularly hosts premieres, previews and other one-off cinema events. In fact, it has in the past been voted as the best cinema in London by Time Out’s switched on readership.

The cinema is mainly known for its art house offerings but of course there are also well known films on show. Being located right in the heart of Soho, you are perfectly placed to head out for a few drinks after the movie – just don’t forget to get your accommodation sorted out in one of the many London hotels.

Leicester Square is the closest tube station and from here Curzon Soho is just a short walk away.

The Electric Cinema

When you step into the main screening room of The Electric Cinema, you will immediately feel as if you’ve been flung back to 1911 when it was built. The décor is reminiscent of an old school theatre, which adds to the experience.

Plush leather chairs await you, and there are even two seater sofas at the back for couples! Here, you can enjoy a bite to eat as well as a good film with the Electric Brasserie being located upstairs.

The best connected Underground station nearby is Notting Hill Gate, which is served by the Central, Circle and District lines.After a day of partying and fun, why not lay your head down at The Shaftesbury?