Five of the Best: Art House Cinemas in London

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If you’re looking for a little gem of an art house cinema, then the Lexi over in Kensal Rise could just be it. It’s an intimate place with only 40 seats and an uber-trendy interior that belies its old hall exterior. Think light installations (designed by Bruce Munro) dangling from the ceiling, armchairs with candlelit tables in front of them and a sound system that’s been designed by the man who does U2’s tours. Plus, if you needed any extra convincing to book tickets, all the money from the tickets, drinks and popcorn sales go to a South African charity called The Sustainability Institute.


194b Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London, Greater London NW10 3JU; tel: 0871 704 2069


The Electric is somewhat an icon amongst the cinematic circle and regular film-goers, and has the richest history of all the cinemas in London. It opened in Notting Hill back in 1911, and is a stalwart on Portobello Road, weathering two World Wars (they carried on screenings even through the air raids) and gaining worldwide recognition for its impeccable listings. Unfortunately, you don’t get a free bun and an orange like you used to, but you do get a seat at one of London's most luxurious cinemas. It still has its Grade II listed exterior and many of its traditional features, but it has also since had a £2 million refurbishment (with the comfiest seats we’ve ever tried) and a state-of -the-art-screen. It’s the perfect place to catch up on the latest releases, re-runs, cults and classics, while getting a slice of its illustrious and interesting past.


191 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED; tel: 0207 908 9696

Cinema Museum

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly an art house cinema but it does make for a very quirky way to while away a rainy day. Tucked away over in Kennington this museum delves into the archives of cinematic history. Filled with artefacts, gorgeous film posters and tons of memorabilia, there’s everything from old cinema seats and signs to over a million photographic images ranging from the 1890s to today. You can book in for one of the many events that they host, from film talks, to screenings, to presentations with industry experts and film historians or just have a potter round the museum. It's guaranteed to intrigue everyone from film novice to enthusiast to expert.

2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road) London, SE11 4th; tel: 0207 840 2200

The Garrison

Forget the Odeon, there’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than at the film club at the Garrison. We love their quirky, cool exposed brick secret cinema that’s a bit of a cross between 'a garden shed and a country cottage'. Cosy up on one of the squishy sofa’s with a glass of something, (after one of the pub’s hearty roast dinners) and settle in for one of the films on offer, from Martin Scorsese’s Hugo to Sunset Boulevard. Best of all, the film screenings are completely free (and you get a free bucket of popcorn too). Sounds perfect.

99 Bermondsey Street, London, Greater London SE1 3XB; tel: 020 7089 9355

Aubin Cinema

For the trendiest cinema in town, they don’t get much better than the seriously luxurious Aubin. It’s perfectly placed just a stone’s throw from the hottest hangouts in London, the Boundary, Shoreditch House and Pizza East and offers comfort to the max. The bijoux cinema has room for 45 cinema-goers, on super-comfy velvet armchairs, each with its own table to put your cocktails. They’re also giving away tickets for their cinema club, if you log onto to their twitter page, on the first Monday of every month or for the ultimate luxury, you can even hire the whole place out for yourselves, with refreshments provided by Shoreditch House.

64-66 Redchurch Street London, Greater London E2 7DP; tel: 0845 604 8486

Like our pick of the best art house cinemas but looking for something else to do in London this month? Check out our pick of the best things to do in May in London.

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