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Britain’s 10 best independent cinemas

05 October 2015 ( 17 May 2019 )

If you don't fancy seeing the new Star Wars film at a big soulless multiplex, but prefer a traditional, local, independent cinema, here’s our guide to Britain’s finest.

The Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
The Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

1.) The Rex, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

This movie house began life in 1938 as an art deco palace, closed in 1988 for 16 years, but was restored and reopened in all its elegant glory in 2004. No popcorn is allowed, no hot dogs, and the stalls have swivel chairs and tables

Address: High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

2.) The Scala, Prestatyn, Denbeighshire

Thriving, 115-year-old, two-screen venue that re-opened in 2015 and not only shows current films, but stages live screenings of plays, operas and ballets from all over the country

Address: High Street, Prestatyn, Denbighshire

3.) The Grosvenor, Glasgow

Opened in 1921, but relaunched in 2003 as an independent cinema, eating and drinking complex, with restaurant, cafe and two screens. Luxury leather seating further enhances the experience.

Address: Ashton Lane, Glasgow 

4.) Zeffirellis, Ambleside, Cumbria

There's no parking, but there are five cinema screens and a jazz venue, thanks to owner Derek Hook, who is also a drummer in a local band and spends two months of the year in a small cottage in India.

Address: Compston Road, Ambleside, Cumbria

5.) Lynton Cinema, North Devon

Various cinemas have operated in this Exmoor village since 1916, even though the population is barely 2,000. This one opened in 2001, and operates in a former Grade II listed Methodist church which only accommodates 68 moviegoers.

Address: Lee Road, Lynton

6.) The Station Cinema, Richmond, North Yorkshire

Housed in what was once the terminus of the old railway line (which closed in 1969), this opened in 2007 and is the star attraction along with the shops, restaurants and exhibitions.

Address: Station Yard, Richmond

7.) Plaza, Truro, Cornwall

The cinema began life here in 1936, and still retains its art deco features, while broadcasting live transmissions of theatres, concerts, operas and ballets, as well as its regular film performances. They held the premiere of the new TV series of Poldark here.

Address: Lemon Street, Truro

8.) Hyde Park Cinema, Leeds

When it first opened in 1914, this cinemas was labeled ‘the cosiest in Leeds’, and it still lives up to its name. The city council saved it from closure in1989, and since then it has gone from strength to strength.

Address: Brunel Road, Leeds

9.) The Genesis, Whitechapel, East London

It began life as a music hall in 1848, then became the Paragon Theatre of Varieties. It transformed itself into a cinema in 1912, then closed down in 1989 before being re-opened by entrepreneur Tyrone Walker-Hepburn, whose parents used to watch films there, and named both him and his brother after film stars (Tyrone Power and Spencer Tracey).

Address: Mile End Road, London E1

10.) The Palace, Haverford west, Pembrokeshire

They used to call it a fleapit, but now this fiercely-championed Grade II listed cinema has two screens, is fighting off the threat of a local multiplex, and is open every night except Monday.

Address: Upper Market Street, Haverfordwest

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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