Sat. Jul 20th, 2024


Discover the warm, dark embrace of Scotland’s independent and neighbourhood cinemas. From the l atest Marvel release to small indie flicks, they offer everything your local multiplex has and more. Boasting an impressive cinematic heritage that is matched by our insatiable appetite for all things celluloid, it comes as no surprise to discover just how many unusual Scottish cinemas there are out there. From beautiful period buildings almost as old as cinema itself to a travelling pop-up, discover a movie venue with a difference this spring.


1. The Hippodrome

Hippodrome Cinema | The Hippodrome | Boness Cinema

Step back in time to the dawn of motion pictures at this gorgeous Art Deco building located in the sleepy town of Bo’ness near Edinburgh. Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema, the Hippodrome was restored to its original glory in 2009 and now boasts a state-of-the-art sound system and projectors. In honour of this unique status it hosts its own Festival of Silent Cinema every year.

10 Hope Street, Bo’ness, Falkirk

2. Dominion Edinburgh

Dominion Cinema Edinburgh | Contact Us

Ever dreamt of owning your own private cinema in the comfort of your own home? Make that dream a reality for one night only at the Art Deco Dominion Edinburgh, Scotland’s only remaining family-owned cinema. Recline in the luxuriant black leather armchairs which adjust at the touch of a button in the exclusive Red Star Screening Room.

Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh

3. Birks Cinema

The Birks Cinema, Café Bar & Community Hub | Aberfeldy

Another white-washed Art Deco gem situated in the delightful Perthshire village of Aberfeldy, Birks Cinema celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. After undergoing an intensive restoration which saw the building restored to its 1930s heyday, it was opened by local boy and Hollywood star Alan Cumming. The cultural heart of this tight-knit community, visitors can enjoy lovely touches like the two-seater “Chummies” seats at the back where you can snuggle up with your significant other.

1 Dunkeld St, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

4. Discovery Cinema

Discovery Centre Cinema reopening - News |

It is a little known fact that tucked behind Rothesay Winter Gardens lies the bijou Discovery Cinema. It’s nostalgic throwback to when Rothesay was a popular holiday destination for Victorian holidaymakers. Join the Bute Film Club here during the w inter for art-house screenings.


Victoria St, Rothesay, Isle of Bute

5. Mareel

Mareel (Lerwick, Scotland) - Đánh giá - Tripadvisor

It’s not often you step out of a cinema to see seals swimming or seabirds fishing, but you can at Mareel in Shetland. Overlooking Lerwick’s waterfront, this strikingly designed purpose-built arts centre is the most northerly of its kind in the UK. It also plays host to the annual Screenplay festival curated by esteemed film critic Mark Kermode and film historian Linda Ruth Williams.

North Ness, Lerwick, Shetland

6. The Cameo

The Cameo Cinema | Edinburgh Cinema | Picturehouse

A trip the Cameo is always a treat. Now a member of the Picture House colleciton of cinemas, the Cameo was one of the first places in the city to expose post-war audience to the exotic world of foreign cinema. It’s also earned praises from some famous names. Quentin Tarantino declared it one of his favourite cinemas when Pulp Fiction was screened here in 1994.

38 Home St, Edinburgh

7. Glasgow Film Theatre

Glasgow Film Theatre | Glasgow Film Theatre

Housed inside a windowless building, the Glasgow Film Theatre occupies a special place in Glasgow’s cultural history. The first purpose-built arts cinema in Scotland, the ‘GFT’ as it is affectionately known, is home to a thriving community of dedicated cinephiles and the ever-growing Glasgow Film Festival.

12 Rose Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire

8. West Side Cinema

An island setting, candle-lit tables, and the hushed atmosphere of a former church – you don’t get a much more intimate cinema-going experience than at West Side Cinema. As well as screening short films alongside every feature one, this volunteer-run cinema is dedicated to unearthing hidden gems that ordinarily go unnoticed by audiences. A must for the discerning film lover.

Stromness Town Hall, Victoria Street, Stromness, Orkney

9. Screen Machine

Screen Machine - Regional Screen Scotland

A pop-up cinema unlike any other, Screen Machine is an 80-seat, air conditioned mobile cinema which brings Holywood to the Highlands and other remote locales and rural areas of Scotland, touring more than 40 communities for ten weeks at a time. Tickets go on sale around the end of April or beginning of May.

Highlands and Western Isles

10. New Picture House

New Picture House - Wikipedia

At the one and only cinema in St Andrews you can enjoy a film from the best seats in the house – the front of the balcony. Built in 1931, the New Picture House is more like a theatre than a cinema. But while it retains many of its period features, it doesn’t scrimp on modern comforts or conveniences, including spacious, electronically adjustable seating and automated ticketing machines.

117 North St, St Andrews, Fife

11. Perth Playhouse

Perth Playhouse - Wikipedia

The Perth Playhouse was built way back in 1933 in what was believed to be a record-breaking nine weeks. Although it has since been redeveloped to hold seven screens including an IMAX – the first independent cinema in the UK to have one – it is still brimming with plenty of character. Thanks in no small part to the adjoining City Café with its hip décor and excellent selection of craft beers and coffee.

6 Murray St, Perth

12. Oban Phoenix Cinema

Oban Phoenix Cinema | Explore Oban

The community-owned Oban Phoenix Cinema is labour of love for the people of Oban. Dismayed at the closure of the Highland Theatre in 2010, the community, backed by the star power of Judi Dench, Tilda Swinton, Robbie Coltrane and others, launched a campaign to have it converted into a cinema. It now boasts a sleek, modern auditorium equipped with and first-class sound and lighting system as well as digital projection in 2 and 3D. Not bad for a wee picture house!

140 George St, Oban, Argyll

13. Campbeltown Picture House

Campbeltown Picture House, Campbeltown

Restored to its former glory, the Campbeltown Picture House is one of Scotland’s finest picture palaces. One of the first purpose-built picture houses built in Britain, it first opened its doors in 1913. Boasting a striking Glasgow School Art Nouveau edifice, inside is a time capsule of the ‘atmospheric style’ that was fashionable in the early 20th century. Moviegoers can look forward to watching a film in auditorium inspired by a Mediterranean courtyard below a ceiling painted with stars and clouds.

26 Hall Street, Campbeltown, Argyll



By Lala