The 30 Best Cinemas in The UK and Ireland, Ranked By Film Lovers

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For the long months of lockdown, Netflix was our home cinema. Then the real ones reopened and we couldn’t wait to get down to some communal viewing.

There’s comfort in watching a film at home, of course, but nothing beats the experience of movie-watching in company, scoffing some popcorn we didn’t have to pop for ourselves while we’re at it.

Whether you prefer a multi-screen movie palace, or a more boutique and sophisticated indie, there’s a cinema for everyone. And Time Out’s latest ranking of the best screens in the UK and Ireland, as picked by film buffs and local champions, just goes to prove it.

Ranked number one is the Stella Cinema in Dublin, which opened in 1923 and is Ireland’s biggest. The cinema has a brilliant cocktail bar serving up Pisco Sours and more in its old ballroom. The food is pretty good too – think buttermilk chicken and cinnamon churros – making its top spot deserved.

The Glasgow Film Theatre comes in at number two. In 1939, this was the first purpose-built arthouse cinema to open outside of London. It’s known for its 35mm and 70mm film screens and as the hub for the Glasgow Film festival.

At number three is the famous BFI Southbank in London, host of the London Film Festival and the BFI’s flagship cinema, which opened in 1957 as the National Film Theatre. This classic date spot even made a film cameo itself, where Hugh Grant’s Charles bumped into Andie Macdowell’s Carrie in Four Weddings and A Funeral.

The Filmhouse, Edinburgh is at lucky number four. Founded in 1976, it used to be a church in the city centre and, like many cinemas on the list, is championed by local audiences. Never has the “use it or lose it” message been more urgent, as cinemas – and the film industry – fight to stay open for business post-pandemic.

Read on for the top 30 and see Time Out’s full ranking of cinemas here.

The 30 best cinemas in the UK and Ireland

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