Everyone loves the magic of the movies. Whether it’s the latest Holly- or Bollywood blockbusters, low-budget indie films, foreign cinema or avant-garde Fellini classics from the 60s, there are lots of cinemas close to the Rathbone to choose from – all you need to do is decide what you want to see!
Whatever your celluloid pleasure, there’s something for everyone. Some even do ‘sing-along’ evenings featuring films everyone – including you – knows the music to like Grease, Mamma Mia!, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Sound of Music!
Regent Street Cinema
London’s – actually Britain’s – first cinema was the Regent Street Cinema when the Lumière brothers’ Cinématographe machine was outed to the paying public on 21st February 1896. It was closed in 1980 to make way for a lecture theatre but after a three-year fundraising campaign, the cinema was restored to its former glory and reopened in May 2015. Today, it’s one of London’s best cinemas.
They show a mix of the latest releases, cult classics, foreign language films and documentaries and the auditorium is one of the prettiest in London. It’s worth the entrance money alone.Show me on a map
Odeon Tottenham Court Road
London is awash with multiplex cinemas, huge glass and steel monoliths full of popcorn, pick ‘n’ mix, fizzy drinks and hot dogs but these are the places where you can watch the latest releases with stunning sound, easy online booking and plush seats. The biggest players are Vue, Odeon and Cineworld.Show me on a map
The BFI IMAX cinema is in Waterloo so it’s a short tube or taxi ride from the Rathbone but it’s worth the trip if you’re a film buff! It is home to Britain’s biggest cinema screen (20m x 26m) with almost 500 seats and the benefits are amazing! The sharpness of the sound and the picture quality is remarkable and one journalist was quoted as saying ‘you don’t just see an IMAX film, you feel it in your bones’.
To make the experience even better, some films at the IMAX are shown in 3D. It’s worth noting that tickets are a little more expensive but it does of course include the 3D glasses and lots more enjoyment so if you want a 3D experience in London, check the listings at the BFI IMAX.Show me on a map
Everyman Baker Street
Probably the most well-known independent cinemas in London are the boutique Everyman cinemas. The closest to the Rathbone are Everyman Baker Street and Everyman Hampstead and they are very cool, art-deco-inspired movie theatres.
A little more expensive than the multiplexes but you’ll find gourmet pizzas replacing the hot dogs and plastic cheese-smothered tortilla chips and cocktails to sip in the lounge replacing buckets of fizzy pop while you wait for your seriously comfy seats.Show me on a map
The Phoenix is about five miles to the north of the Rathbone and is one of a few remaining cinemas in London that has stayed true to its old-school roots. The vaulted picture house was built in 1910 and its antiquated exterior remains a beautifully intricate reminder of the golden age of cinema.
It shows feature films, art house classics and live events such as opera and musical performances as well as weekly screenings for kids, discussion groups and film studies classes and a great café where you can get a glass of wine and a homemade cake. This is as close to a trip back in cinematic time as it’s possible to get.Show me on a map
The Curzon in Mayfair is a classic art-house cinema with a palatial screen that hosts red-carpet premieres, independent films from around the world and live satellite broadcasts from such luminary locations as the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and the Met in New York.
There are very few cinemas in London where you can get the VIP treatment that includes plush carpets, velvet armchairs and private boxes but that’s exactly what you get at the Curzon Mayfair.Show me on a map
Ciné Lumière is a beautiful art deco space slightly to the west of the Rathbone in South Kensington and is part of the French Cultural Institute in London. It shows predominantly French, European and world cinema and some are offered with subtitles for those dipping their toes into the waters of the foreign film for the first time!
As well as cinema, there are frequent special screenings that include Q&A sessions with cast and/or crew, seasons of French classics, kids’ films, themed seasons and film festivals.Show me on a map