The 5 best independent cinemas in London

1) Brixton Ritzy

The Ritzy is the one of the UK’s largest independent cinemas with five screens, two bars and a cafe. It was built in 1911 as a grand picture palace. Today it shows a mix of independent films, classics, blockbusters and late night screenings. There’s also a live venue called Upstairs for alternative live music and comedy.

front side of the Brixton Ritzy cinema theatre

2) Close-Up Film Centre

This superbly intimate repertory arthouse cinema (just 40 seats) is also an extensive library with 20.000 DVDs and books, specialising in independent, early and world cinema, documentaries and experimental film making. The cosy cafe-bar library room is worth a visit in itself.

interior of Close-Up Film centre

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3) Prince Charles Cinema

The Prince Charles is a quirky place that mainly shows repertory, classic, cult, arthouse and genre films. They also stage regular ‘sing-a-long-a’ performances of films like The Sound of Music and Moulin Rouge, as well as all-nighter screenings of film series.

big street sign of Prince Charles cinema

4) The Gate Cinema

This arthouse cinema has a small-scale grandeur. The ornate, comfortable and cosy auditorium has elaborate stuccoed ceilings, tables between the seats for drinks and snacks, and sofas at the back. As well as independent films they regularly show live transmissions of opera, ballet and theatre.

interior of The Gate cinema

5) BFI Southbank

The British Film Institute occupies a wonderful position on the Southbank underneath Waterloo Bridge. The four screens are programmed with regular seasons of classic, independent and foreign films and frequent director retrospectives and genre-themed festivals. The cinema has two bars and an excellent shop selling books on cinema and DVDs.

interior of cinema BFI

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