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13 best independent cinemas in London

Grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy alternative films at these atmospheric London cinemas.
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From independent picturehouses showing arthouse films, to luxury London cinemas with sofas and independent quirky cinemas, there are many stand-out places in the capital to watch a film.

Here's a pick of the best cinemas in London, including outdoor screens, cool immersive pop-up experiences and historic movie theatres.

Best independent cinemas in London

1. Rich Mix

Get cultural at Rich Mix, a thriving community arts space in Shoreditch. Alongside three screens showcasing the latest blockbusters and independent films, the creative hub is home to three bars and has a programme of spoken word, theatre and live music. 

2. The Lexi Cinema

Feel good knowing your ticket money goes to charity at The Lexi Cinema. This community-run cinema is great for discovering independent films, as well as watching screenings of theatre and opera performances from around the globe. 

3. Peckhamplex

Grab cheap ticket at multi-screen independent cinema Peckhamplex. Catch the latest blockbusters and 3D films, with cheap tickets sold all day. Autism-friendly and family-friendly screenings are also on offer.

4. The Prince Charles Cinema

Tucked away behind Leicester Square, you can find cheap tickets and vocal crowds at independent cinema The Prince Charles Cinema. Sing along to favourite musicals, such as Dirty Dancing and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or put on your pyjamas for one of its all-night movie marathons.

5. BFI Southbank

Discover films from the UK and further afield at BFI Southbank. The flagship venue for the British Film Institute hosts exciting film festivals, featuring classic, contemporary and avant garde films, alongside talks with some of the world's top filmmakers.

Sofa cinemas in London

6. Electric Cinema Portobello

Electric Cinema London on a sunny day
Electric Cinema London © Joaquin via Unsplash. Image courtesy of Joaquin via Unsplash

Snuggle up under cashmere blankets on a luxurious front-row bed, armchair or sofa at Electric Cinema Portobello. This Edwardian cinema is one of the oldest in London and is the perfect place for a romantic date, offering beautiful decor and a bar stocked with champagne and other tipples. 

Luxury cinemas

7. Everyman Screen on the Green

Red neon lights on the façade of Screen on The Green London
Screen on The Green London © Sydney Davidson via Unsplash. Image courtesy of Sydney Davidson via Unsplash

Enjoy cinema dining at Everyman Screen on the Green, where you can order food to your sofa chair while watching the big screen. Opened in 1913, this iconic cinema shows a mixture of mainstream movies and arthouse films, and often attracts top directors for Q&As. 

London cinemas steeped in history

8. Regent Street Cinema

Make a pilgrimage to Regent Street Cinema, known as "the birthplace of British cinema". It was the first cinema in the UK to show moving pictures, when it screened the Lumière brothers’ show in 1896. Admire the beautiful auditorium, before watching an alternative film.

9. Phoenix Cinema

The colourful lights and façade of Phoenix Cinema
Phoenix Cinema London © Krzysztof Hepne via Unsplash. Image courtesy of Krzysztof Hepne via Unsplash

Head to the Phoenix Cinema for independent, foreign-language and specialist films, plus a repertoire of old and new classics. Built in 1910, this is one of the oldest continuously running cinemas in the UK and features a stunning auditorium with art deco panels. 

10. Ritzy Cinema

Watch the latest films, world movies and documentaries at the unique Ritzy Cinema. This historic cinema opened in 1911 and retains its original proscenium arch. After catching a film, head to Upstairs at The Ritzy for live music, comedy festivals and dance workshops.

11. Rio Cinema

Rio Cinema façade on a sunny day
Rio Cinema London © Samuel Regan Asante via Unsplash. Image courtesy of Samuel Regan Asante via Unsplash

Soak up more than 100 years of history as you watch a film at the Rio Cinema in Dalston. Annual film festivals that showcase here include the London Kurdish Film Festival, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest and Doc'n Roll Film Festival.

Immersive cinema experiences

12. Backyard Cinema

Find themed sets and drinks at Backyard Cinema's film events in London. Past showcases include screenings of Romeo and Juliet at a beautiful church with a live choir and Christmas films in a magical winter garden.

13. Secret Cinema

Enter the world of your favourite flicks with Secret Cinema. Merging film, theatre, art, music and dance, the immersive experience allows you to be part of the movie, with fantastic sets in secret locations across London. Past films to be brought to life include Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Ghostbusters. 

For more film and TV fun, visit some of the best film locations in London.

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