7 Quirky Cinemas to Try in London

Forget the massive multiplexes, for a real taste of London life as the locals live it, check out these unique little gems.

Popular with both locals and those visiting London, these wonderful venues offer a diverse range of movies in friendly, comfortable and eccentric surroundings.

1. Phoenix Cinema East Finchley

This much-loved single-screen cinema has been in operation since 1912, making it one of the longest operating cinemas in the UK.
The elegant Art Deco auditorium shows an eclectic mix of arthouse films, plus the occasional classic. Make time to visit the lively little cafe before the show starts. The food is homemade and utterly scrumptious.

2. Electric Cinema Portobello

With plush armchairs, waiter-service and a 100-year history, this 50-seater venue is a real treasure. Located in the heart of Notting Hill, it’s still going strong after two wars and numerous closures.
The auditorium is wonderfully cosy and luxurious, with many original features to enjoy; a fine way to view the mainstream and indie films on offer. There’s also a stylish diner on site.

3. Regent Street Cinema

Don’t miss this historic and unique movie house in the heart of the West End. Regarded as the birthplace of British cinema, it opened in 1848 and featured the first motion picture to be seen in the UK.
The lovingly restored Art Deco theatre is a wonderful place to enjoy old classics, new releases, world cinema and double bills.

4. The Lexi Cinema

You’ll find this quaint little cinema in a residential area of North London. With only 70 seats and a comfy bar, it’s a cheerful and friendly spot. The Lexi offers an eclectic mix of mainstream, world and arthouse cinema.
The theatre lives in a renovated Edwardian building and is run by volunteers. All profit goes to a sustainable living project in South Africa.

5. Prince Charles Cinema

This is most definitely a quirky venue. The only independent cinema in the West End, it offers a huge range of classic and arthouse films, the latest blockbusters and double bills.
If audience participation is your thing, look no further. The Sound of Music, Grease and Rocky Horror sing-a-longs have given this place cult status. There are even all-night movie marathons. Bring your pyjamas!

6. Greenwich Picturehouse

This stylish venue lives in the historic, maritime borough of Greenwich. Five screens offer a diverse mix of arthouse and mainstream movies, plus documentaries and Shakespeare nights.
The Picturehouse is a popular spot for locals to meet, and a great place for visitors to soak up the atmosphere. The two restaurants and one bar are good places to start.

7. The Rio Cinema Dalston

Popular since 1937, this is a stunning Art Deco building. The two screens feature a wide range of independent and foreign films, plus plenty of classics and Saturday Morning Picture Club for the kids.
The Cafe Bar has some seriously tasty nibbles and there’s always a Treat of the Week. No wonder the locals love it!

As London experts, Premium Tours knows where to find lots of interesting and quirky bits of London, such as the best place to get an unusual afternoon tea or where the funkiest restaurants are. To find out more about our London tours, visit our website or contact us today.

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