Queenie loves a bit of cinema – she’s well-known for slipping out of Buckingham Palace during official functions and sneaking off to the Odeon in her Ermine slippers. It’s how she and Prince Philip met.
Well, OK, it isn’t. We’re not even sure if cinema was around 200 years ago. Regardless, if you for some reason feel inspired to go to the cinema during your trip to the incredible Buckingham Palace, there are a plethora of excellent sites nearby. Queenie might not be known for loving the cinema (she’s actually more into her theatre and opera) but London itself certainly loves to kick back in front of the latest releases.
But where to go if you’re in Victoria to visit the Palace? Keep your eye out for these venues.
Curzon are known for an immersive and pleasant cinema experience and often get hipsters and students sitting in their bars and cafés who have no intention of seeing a film and just want to soak up the unique atmosphere. They have two easily accessible venues to Buckingham Palace – one just around the corner in Victoria that you can walk to and one in Kensington that is just a short Tube ride away. Efforts are made to create a pre and post-film experience that is highly enjoyable – be sure to arrive at least an hour early just so that you can relax in the lounge bar, which is furnished with a carefully selected collection of wines, spirits and beers from the UK and across the world. Magnificent stuff.
It’s worth noting that, while Curzon maintain a list of the latest releases, it’s well worth checking out their alternative listings, which range from exotic foreign films to recordings of plays at the nearby National Theatre. So think twice before booking 50 Shades of Grey.
A quick jaunt across Kensington Gardens from Buckingham Palace will take you to Whiteleys shopping centre in Bayswater, where you will find the Lounge – a cinema venue run by Odeon that goes some way towards redefining the way we watch films. Forget dry old popcorn and nachos that look as though they belong at a dermatology convention – the culinary offerings are of restaurant quality and can be eaten in the dining area or in front of the film. Need a top-up? There’s no need to get up from the bar – signal one of the nearby waiters and continue being absorbed in the action of the film. This is most definitely grown-up cinema at its best.
It’s worth noting that The Lounge is for over-18s only. The screens are equipped with the highest quality state of the art sound and projection to allow for an amazing viewing experience, but be warned – the seats (with double the legroom of a normal cinema) tend to sell out in advance, particularly on Friday or Saturday nights.
The Prince Charles Cinema
Well, if you’ve had a royal day out at Buckingham Palace, where better to go for a late-night screening than the Prince Charles Cinema? While it certainly involves a Tube ride to Leicester Square (or walk if you fancy the exercise – head from Buckingham Palace down the Mall until just before you hit Trafalgar Square, then head left up towards Piccadilly and turn right at the top – the journey takes about half an hour) it’s worth it for a night at the movies.
The Prince Charles Cinema makes an admirable effort to keep up with the latest releases but is more worth checking for its unique events (such as the Adults Only Frozen Singalong) and programme of past releases (current inclusions are the 1960s version of Bond favourite Casino Royale and the ever-popular Pulp Fiction).