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The best cinemas in Manchester
Manchester is a city that takes its movie-going seriously. Evidence? Its spate of stellar cinemas, which are destination-worthy in their own right. From restored Art Deco landmarks to thriving cultural centres, from some of the UK’s biggest and most bustling multiplexes to pop-up film-going experiences, it’s worth taking in some silver screen magic on your next trip to Manchester.
Formerly known as the Cornerhouse, HOME isn’t only a cinema: it’s also a creative hub located smack-bang in the city’s cultural corridor. The venue hosts an on-site art gallery and bookstore, theatrical productions, and talks and events. But the films are undoubtedly its main draw, and HOME — with its impressive roster of indie movies, art-house flicks, and other left-of-centre cinematic offerings — remains a favourite haunt of local cineastes.
First opened in 1923 in Stockport, South Manchester, The Savoy is quite the local legend. In fact, its history stretches back so far that the first features it screened were of the silent variety. Though the cinema fell into disrepair and closed several years ago, it reopened in 2015 following a major refurbishment that has seen its Art Deco looks preserved (and new amenities, including air-conditioning and luxury seating, installed). Nowadays, the boutique cinema screens everything from major blockbusters to independent documentaries, so moviegoers of all stripes are well catered to.
While VUE cinemas can be found across the UK, this one is a little different. For starters, it’s located in a revamped, 19th-century printworks, whose elegant façade contains one of the city’s largest entertainment complexes. And speaking of size: with 23 screens, including the second-largest IMAX screen in Europe, the Vue Printworks is among the biggest cinemas in Britain. The only problem you’ll encounter? Narrowing down exactly which film you want to see when there’s so much choice.
Stockport Plaza Cinema
Another of the city’s Art Deco-era gems is the Stockport Plaza Cinema, which made its debut in 1932. Following a lengthy period of revitalisation, the venue’s soaring ceiling, ornamental details, and large stage have been restored to their original beauty (its manual pipe organ is another striking heritage feature). Though it also functions as a variety theatre, and hosts musicals, concerts, and other performances, the Stockport Plaza Cinema is best-known for its lineup of modern and classic films. Stop in to experience a uniquely Mancunian strain of movie magic.
Located underneath the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West, industrial Gorilla is a hybrid restaurant, bar, and nightclub. But once a month, this trendy venue turns into a cinema when it plays host to RAD Film Screenings, which treats the city’s cinephiles to a selection of favourite, old school movies (past films have included cult classics ranging from The Princess Bride to Lethal Weapon). Keep an eye on the events calendar during your visit.
Written by Claire Bullen