For visitors to Kensington who want to see a film, up until fairly recently, locals would probably have suggested heading to the Odeon on Kensington High Street.
This stunning art deco building was constructed in 1926 and for decades it was a favourite spot to watch a film in London – for everyone from casual viewers and movie buffs to celebrities including Alfred Hitchcock and Princess Diana.
Unfortunately, just like another iconic art deco building in Kensington – the Earl’s Court exhibition centre – the Odeon has been shut down and there are plans for its demolition.
In 2015, a petition to save the building was handed to the local council. It was signed by more than 25,000 people, including guitar legends Jimmy Page and Brian May, as well as actors like Sir Ian McKellen, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Benedict Cumberbatch.
In October, Get West London reported that demolition teams had set up offices outside the building and the local council rejected a nomination to list the famous cinema as an Asset of Community Value.
Developer Minerva says that its plans include leaving the building’s famous facade but stripping out the interior to build flats. Eventually, a new subterranean multiplex cinema would also be built, bringing back movies to the site – but losing some of its historic appeal in the process.
If you’d like to see the Kensington Odeon, it’s located between Earl’s Court Road and Edwardes Square on Kensington High Street. The closest Tube station is Kensington High Street and it’s also just over half a mile from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
Although the cinema is closed – and it’s on a building site, surrounded by construction hoarding – you can still see most of the picturesque facade from the street.
Of course, this lovely cinema might be shut, but there are plenty of other spots in the Kensington area to see a film. Here are some other options to consider:
Another art deco cinema, this one is located at the French Institute. It mainly screens French new releases and classics, and many have English subtitles so even if you don’t speak the language well (or at all), you can still enjoy a show.
Cine Lumiere is located on Queensbury Place, just off Cromwell Road. The closest Underground stations are South Kensington and Gloucester Road, and it’s about 0.7 miles from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
Part of the Picturehouse cinema chain, the Gate is situated in the centre of Notting Hill. It’s a single-screen cinema and housed in a building that dates back to 1861. In 2004, the cinema was renovated to restore the ornate Edwardian plasterwork in the auditorium. Air conditioning and a new bar were also installed.
It shows a range of films, from Hollywood blockbusters to international releases. It also hosts a variety of special events like live streams of cultural events from around the world.
The Gate is located at 87 Notting Hill Gate, and the closest Tube station is Notting Hill Gate. It’s about 1.5 miles from the Park Grand Kensington.
Cineworld Cinema – London Fulham Road
This six-screen Cineworld is another one that can be found in an art deco building. As part of the Cineworld chain, it shows a number of big-budget movies, as well as international films. The closest Tube stations are Earl’s Court, Gloucester Road and South Kensington, and it’s about a mile from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
Cineworld Cinema – London Chelsea
Another Cineworld, this one has four screens and is situated in the heart of Chelsea on Kings Road. The nearest Tube stations are South Kensington and Sloane Square. It’s about 1.2 miles from the Park Grand London Kensington.
This college cinema is run by the students of Imperial College London, but it’s also a fully professional movie theatre, with over £100,000 worth of top-of-the-range equipment. It shows 35mm and DCI films, and its flexible seating layout can cater to up to 220 people.
A variety of films are shown throughout the year, mostly big-name movies. It’s open to the public, although students can get discounted tickets. It’s located at Imperial College London, on the second floor of the Union Building in Beit Quad. The closest Underground stations are High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington. It’s also about one mile from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
Located in the fashionable Kings Road part of Chelsea, this is the largest of the Curzon cinemas and has been operating for 75 years. It shows a number of arthouse films, as well as independent movies, and the venue can also be used for conventions, presentations, festivals and gala screenings.
The closest Underground stations are South Kensington and Sloane Square, and it’s about 1.2 miles from the Park Grand London Kensington.
Science Museum IMAX
IMAX is a type of large-format film that allows audiences to get an even bigger movie experience.
The IMAX screen at the Science Museum is the height of four double-decker buses and a variety of films are shown, ranging from educational works through to the latest blockbusters. It’s also capable of showing 3D movies for an even more immersive experience.
The closest Tube station is South Kensington and it’s one mile from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
The Notting Hill venue of this cinema chain is located in an Edwardian building. Its beautiful interior reflects the cinema’s long history, with plaster work on the ceiling, chandeliers and a red velvet curtain covering the screen before show time. There are more than 60 leather armchairs with footstools and side tables for a home-like viewing experience.
Located on Portobello road, the closest Tube station is Ladbroke Grove. It’s about 1.2 miles from the Park Grand London Kensington hotel