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The 25 best cinemas in London

We present London’s top picture palaces – as chosen by Londoners


London knows how to do a cinema. Whether you're after a luxury multiplex in Leicester Square or a two-screened independent in Hackney, this wonderful city has something to cater to all needs. 

However, with so many cinemas in the city to choose from, finding a picture palace to spend your time in can be risky business (see what we did there?). But rather than head around the capital to judge where you should see the next big blockbuster, we asked you, the Time Out readers, to vote for your favourites. The results are not entirely unexpected – a rundown of our city’s loveliest, buzziest and friendliest local cinemas, with a couple of the big boys thrown in. So without further ado, here are Londons best cinemas as chosen by you.

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London's best cinemas

24. BFI Southbank

Cinemas Independent South Bank

The BFI Southbank, nestling under Waterloo Bridge, is movie heaven for film lovers (the kind who know their Kurosawa from their Kubrick).

Stratford East Picturehouse
Stratford East Picturehouse
Hydar Dewachi

23. Stratford Picturehouse

Cinemas Independent Stratford

This east London branch (further east than the Hackney Picturehouse) offers a nice, quieter alternative to the ginormous multiplex housed in Westfield. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon at the pictures. 



21. Crouch End Picturehouse

Cinemas Independent Crouch End and Hornsey

With four screens and a restaurant, this Crouch End outpost of the Picturehouse's winning cinema chain is a firm favourite with Londoners. 

20. Empire Walthamstow

Cinemas Walthamstow

With nine screens in its arsenal, this 1,200 seater cinema is not one to be sniffed at. Even better: it’s half-price on Tuesdays. 


19. Lexi Cinema

Cinemas Independent Kensal Rise

Locals love the Lexi, a friendly little gem of a community cinema run mostly by volunteers, with just one screen, room for 77 filmgoers, and a bar that doubles as a gallery. Best of all, all profits go to charity.

18. Everyman Muswell Hill

Cinemas Independent Muswell Hill

Housed in what used to be an Odeon, this grade II listed building boasts three screens and is another jewel in Everyman's crown of luxury cinemas. 


17. Rich Mix

Cinemas Independent Shoreditch

Shoreditch's independent cultural centre houses three cinema screens alongside exhibition and performance spaces and a cafe/bar. Run as a charity, it's a vibrant arts hub too. Any given week could see it hosting an assortment of gigs, theatre shows, art exhibitions, themed festivals and all manner of workshops. 

16. David Lean Cinema

Cinemas Independent Croydon

Located in an attractive grade II listed clock tower in Croydon, this community-run cinema screens arthouse films, classic re-releases and new blockbusters in intimate surroundings. The staff (mostly volunteers) are super friendly and the prices affordable – not your standard multiplex offering, then.

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