London's Best Secret Cinemas

Electric Cinema in Notting Hill
Electric Cinema in Notting Hill | © UrbanImages / Alamy Stock Photo
Angelica Gianni

Let’s face it; going to the cinema has become nothing more than sitting in the same old uncomfortable chairs with stale popcorn at your side and your arm on one armrest so your neighbour won’t steal it. Do not despair though — there are more exciting ways you can enjoy the movie you have being waiting for all those dreadful months. Here are the best secret cinemas London has to offer.

1. Ritzy Cinema Brixton

Cinema, Movie Theater

The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
© Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
Opened in 1911, this cinema is one of the oldest picture palaces of South London. Nowadays, the Ritzy still has its five screens, where you can enjoy a variety of recent movies, independent ones, late-night shows, and, of course, the classics. The venue not only holds a café where you can buy your daily dose of caffeine while enjoying a view of Windrush Square but also offers you a unique experience with an upstairs bar, tucked inside the cinema.

2. Edible Cinema

Cinema, Museum

Edible Cinema is more than just a restaurant screening an old movie; it is an experience you will never forget. The cinema was created thanks to the collaboration between Soho House and Teatime Production. Once you have been seated at your table, there will be a small introduction served with a starting cocktail or canapé. Throughout the movie, a little screen-side light box will be signalled on the screen, indicating which of the package number (set in front of you) should be opened and enjoyed. The food you will find at each screening will match the moment and feeling of that particular scene in the movie. For example, for the screening of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, the audience was served with lavender-infused smoked mutton jerky.

3. Electric Cinema

Building, Cinema, Movie Theater

Fruit and Veg for sale at a market on Portabello road, Notting Hill, London.Behind is the blue facade of Electric Cinema.
© escapetheofficejob / Alamy Stock Photo

While some people believe it opened on Christmas Eve 1910, Electric Cinema opened officially in February 1911 with its name reflecting the ‘electric cinemas’ popular in London at the time. Steeped in history, the brick terra cotta building originally had an interior reminiscent of the Italian baroque style, complete with high ceilings, pillars, and an arch. Its name was changed into Imperial Cinema in 1919, and during the war, it continued to play as usual. However, if there were air raids, there would be a flashing light on the screen to inform the audience who could then rush to the nearest shelter and collect a full refund on their way out. Nowadays, the cinema features the luxurious vibe of its early years, with comfy, two-seater armchairs and a blanket for each.

Secret Cinema

The name says it all. With a motto of ‘Tell No One,’ Secret Cinema is surrounded by mystery. ‘Narratives fuse the worlds of film, music, theatre, art and food to create unparalleled cultural experiences in abandoned spaces all over the world.’ Secret Cinema was created with the intention of escaping, at least for a night, from this technology driven world where nothing matters anymore. Unique in its genre, the cinema’s location changes but is always in abandoned places around the world within a communal and social atmosphere.

Various Locations

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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