The 30 Best Cinemas in The UK and Ireland, Ranked By Film Lovers

·2-min read

For the long months of lockdown, Netflix was our home cinema. Then the real ones reopened and we couldn’t wait to get down to some communal viewing.

There’s comfort in watching a film at home, of course, but nothing beats the experience of movie-watching in company, scoffing some popcorn we didn’t have to pop for ourselves while we’re at it.

Whether you prefer a multi-screen movie palace, or a more boutique and sophisticated indie, there’s a cinema for everyone. And Time Out’s latest ranking of the best screens in the UK and Ireland, as picked by film buffs and local champions, just goes to prove it.

Ranked number one is the Stella Cinema in Dublin, which opened in 1923 and is Ireland’s biggest. The cinema has a brilliant cocktail bar serving up Pisco Sours and more in its old ballroom. The food is pretty good too – think buttermilk chicken and cinnamon churros – making its top spot deserved.

The Glasgow Film Theatre comes in at number two. In 1939, this was the first purpose-built arthouse cinema to open outside of London. It’s known for its 35mm and 70mm film screens and as the hub for the Glasgow Film festival.

At number three is the famous BFI Southbank in London, host of the London Film Festival and the BFI’s flagship cinema, which opened in 1957 as the National Film Theatre. This classic date spot even made a film cameo itself, where Hugh Grant’s Charles bumped into Andie Macdowell’s Carrie in Four Weddings and A Funeral.

The Filmhouse, Edinburgh is at lucky number four. Founded in 1976, it used to be a church in the city centre and, like many cinemas on the list, is championed by local audiences. Never has the “use it or lose it” message been more urgent, as cinemas – and the film industry – fight to stay open for business post-pandemic.

Read on for the top 30 and see Time Out’s full ranking of cinemas here.

The 30 best cinemas in the UK and Ireland

  1. The Stella Cinema Rathmines, Dublin

  2. Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow

  3. BFI Southbank, London

  4. Filmhouse, Edinburgh

  5. Hailsham Pavilion, East Sussex

  6. Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, London

  7. HOME, Manchester

  8. Cameo Picturehouse, Edinburgh

  9. Zeffirellis, Ambleside

  10. Prince Charles Cinema, London

  11. Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

  12. Curzon Soho, London

  13. Savoy Cinema, Penzance

  14. Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Brighton

  15. Light House Cinema, Dublin

  16. Tivoli, Bath

  17. Aldeburgh Cinema, Suffolk

  18. Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford

  19. Genesis Cinema, London

  20. The Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds

  21. Peckhamplex, London

  22. The Rex, Berkhamsted

  23. Irish Film Institute, Dublin

  24. Lewes Depot Cinema, East Sussex

  25. Barn Cinema, Totnes

  26. 26. Dome Cinema, West Sussex

  27. Ciné Lumière, London

  28. The Magic Lantern, Gwynedd

  29. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness

  30. Picturehouse Central, London

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.


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