Home to some of the oldest cinemas in the world, Scotland has a special place in its heart for both film and the pleasing tradition of ‘going to the pictures’.
From the Central Belt to the Highlands and Islands, here are some of the best independent Scottish cinemas that have kept their unique charm and character over the years.
Thought to be Scotland’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinema, the Hippodrome in Bo’ness opened in 1912 and is now an A-listed building.
Closed and left abandoned in 1980, the cinema was restored to its former glory in the mid-2000s. It reopened to the public in 2009.
The Hippodrome shows a mixture of the latest blockbusters and old classics in its magnificent 20th century auditorium.
Visit: 10 Hope Street, Bo’ness, EH51 0AA - falkirkcommunitytrust.org
Owned and operated by the same family for close to 80 years, the art deco Dominion Cinema in the Morningside area of Edinburgh offers a unique luxury experience for film lovers.
With comfortable sofas, footstools and complimentary snacks, you’ll never be able to go back to the multiplex after a cosy evening here.
Visit: 18 Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH10 4RT - dominioncinema.co.uk
Another striking art deco design, Perth Playhouse was constructed in 1933 and categorised as a Grade B-listed building in 1991.
In July 2014, the Playhouse became the first independent cinema in the UK with an IMAX screen.
In addition to this, it also has six other screening rooms of various sizes.
Visit: 6 Murray Street, Perth, PH1 5PJ - perthplayhouse.co.uk
Glasgow Film Theatre
An independent cinema and registered charity in Glasgow’s city centre, Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) is housed inside a purpose-built, B-listed building dating back to 1939.
As well as showing new and old films throughout the year, the GFT also hosts the annual and prestigious Glasgow Film Festival.
Visit: 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB - glasgowfilm.org
A former church on Lothian Road, the Filmhouse building on Lothian Road in Edinburgh was taken over in 1976 and opened as a cinema in 1978.
The independent arthouse cinema now houses three screens and hosts around 700 films and events every year, including the annual Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Visit: 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ - filmhousecinema.com
Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen
A sister cinema to Filmhouse in Edinburgh, Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen was built as a trades hall in 1896, but began showing films as early as 1898.
After a turbulent century, the space was completely refurbished in 2000, and later taken over by the Filmhouse company in 2014.
Visit: 49 Belmont Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1JS - belmontfilmhouse.com
The Screen Machine, Highlands and Islands
A unique mobile cinema housed in an articulated lorry, the Screen Machine first launched in 1998 to tour the Highlands and Islands, giving locals a chance to see the latest releases.
These days, the second Screen Machine (which replaced the original in 2005) visits the likes of Lochgilphead, Ullapool, the Isle of Arran and Tobermory regularly throughout the year, with space for 80 people at each screening.
More info: screenmachine.co.uk
The Birks, Aberfeldy
First opened in 1939 in The Square of Aberfeldy, The Birks Cinema closed in 1982, but was eventually saved and reopened in 2013, thanks to the local community.
The cinema seats 100 and offers a programme of new releases and cinema classics, as well as some special interest screenings.
Visit: Dunkeld Street, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DA - birkscinema.co.uk
Rising from the ashes of a formerly closed cinema, Oban Phoenix Cinema opened in August 2012 with a screening of Disney Pixar’s Brave.
The Phoenix has two screens - one with 146 seats, and a smaller space with room for 22.
This year they are undertaking a major development programme.
Visit: 140 George Street, Oban, PA34 5NX - obanphoenix.com
Campbeltown Picture House
First opened in 1913, the purpose-built art nouveau style Campbeltown Picture House is an A-listed building and one of the last remaining of its kind in the UK.
The building has been largely left untouched since its 1935 remodelling, although it was restored to its former glory in late 2017.
Bringing the old and the new together under one roof, this lovely independent cinema is a great place to soak up some history as you see the latest films.
Visit: 26 Hall Street, Campbeltown, PA28 6BU - campbeltownpicturehouse.co.uk