The Prince Charles – London’s Cheapest Cinema
Published 3 February 2010
If, like me you were initially put off seeing films on the big screen by the high price of cinema tickets in London, you should check out the Prince Charles cinema. It is London’s best and by far the cheapest independent cinema and Quentin Tarantino’s favourite UK “grindhouse” (though that term applies fairly loosely to the Prince Charles).
Despite being located next to Leicester Square, ticket prices can be as low as £1.50, and even at their most expensive go up to £9.50 which is still massively lower than the usual £14 plus prices at the nearby by West End Vue and Odeon. To get the best prices though you either need to have a student card or be a member, which costs £10 for a year or £50 for a lifetime membership. If you live in London I highly recommend the lifetime membership as it easily pays for itself. The cheapest tickets are also only for afternoon or early evening showings so it is usually best to check the website before committing to anything, basically don’t go expecting to pay £1.50 every time.
Another great thing about the Prince Charles is the wide selection of new and classic films from a broad range of genres. The breadth of films on offer range from UK independent productions to foreign films (old and new) to Hollywood classics. Though it only has two screens they manage to show 6 or more different films in a week, but this also means some films are only shown once a week and the program changes every week so you need to keep a close eye on what’s showing. They also hold monthly double bill midnight screenings that are cheaper and usually have better selections than the similar Midnight showings at the Curzon cinema in Soho.
Although, The Prince Charles cinema is ideal for students who are able to make the cheap weekday afternoon screenings, they are also ideal for any film fanatic tourists out there. Also, unlike most cinemas nowadays, the drinks and snacks are affordable, so you don’t have to sneak them in from somewhere else (not that I do that….). The cinema has a great atmosphere and you can tell that everyone working there has a big passion for film as the cinema’s varied program shows a great knowledge of contemporary and classic film.
The only downside is that new releases are sometimes slow to get to the Prince Charles, so you can’t catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster there if that’s your bag. For those with a bit more patience and more adventurous taste though this is a cinema you have to check out. If you are a tourist then your best bet is to find out on their website what is showing during the week of your stay and pick your ideal choice as, like I mentioned before, some films are only shown once or twice a week. In addition, there is no need to worry about getting there and a screening being sold out, as the screenings are rarely more than half full. If you can’t get online just pop down during the start of your stay and pick up a leaflet with the screening list; they have that week’s and the next available in the ticket area. So if you’re a cinephile who has been put off by the high ticket prices in London, The Prince Charles is the perfect place to renew your love of cinema!
Article written by Aneil Fatania.