Newest Review: ... in price, but are around seven pounds, and the gallery (where you can eat unlimited pop corn and get free soft drinks) is now eightee... more
Norwich cinema - Odeon buys UCI
UCI Cinema (Norwich)
Member Name: julwhite
UCI Cinema (Norwich)
Advantages: Lots of space and screens
Disadvantages: Slightly expensive, limited amount of offers
This review is actually for the Odeon cinema in Norwich, as Odeon took over the UCI chain and this cinema a couple of years ago. The cinema is situated in the middle of Riverside in Norwich, near Nando's, a JD Wetherspoons, Old Orleans and next to the currently shut bowling alleys.
Around ten years ago, cinemas in Norwich were quite limited. There was the old Odeon cinema in Anglia Square, which had really seen better days, and an ABC cinema in Prince of Wales Road. Today, the old Odeon cinema is run by Hollywood Cinemas, a local chain, and the ABC cinema is now Mercy nightclub. In their place are the now Odeon at Riverside, and the cinema at Castle Mall.
I have been to the Odeon a few times recently, but hadn't been for a few years before then since it was UCI. Little has changed really, there are fourteen different screens all laid out, with a large open plan design inside the front doors.
Tickets vary slightly in price, but are around seven pounds, and the gallery (where you can eat unlimited pop corn and get free soft drinks) is now eighteen pounds. These prices, especially the latter, have increased sharply over the last few years. It may be that the Odeon chain is trying to get rid of the gallery set-up, now just in a few of their cinemas, as the price is very expensive, especially for a family. You can also opt for premier seating for slightly more money, which gives you bigger seats and more leg-room.
Ticket prices are average for cinemas, and within the city, although Norwich has no cinema chain where you can pay a fixed amount (usually around ten or twelve pounds) a month to see unlimited films. The nearest town to have this is Ipswich, and it'd be great if Odeon did launch a similar scheme, although there's no sign of them doing so at the moment.
Car parking is free for up to four hours, in the large multi storey car park at the end of Wherry Road, next to the train station. This should be sufficient for most films, and lets you have time for a drink afterwards. Just get your ticket stamped at the desk when you pay for your ticket. Make sure though that you leave some time before the film, as the car park is often quite busy, and at times such as Saturday nights, you may struggle to get a space.
You can either opt to book your ticket on-line, with a small booking fee (which is a bit of a con, as there's no need for this to be charged, given that it takes pressure off their ticket purchase area in the cinema) and then just put your card into the machine to pick it up near the entrance to the cinema. This certainly saves some time.
Everything else is really standard with this cinema chain, the food and drinks are quite expensive, but they don't seem to mind you taking food in from elsewhere, although don't make it too obvious! There's also a seating area before you go into the cinema if you're early.
One frustration with this cinema is that a film with a start time of say 8pm actually rarely starts until around 8.30-8.40pm. This delay where adverts, previews and the like are shown does seem to be quite long, especially with the longer films. If you're about to watch a two hour film, watching 40 minutes of previews and adverts does make the whole experience quite tiring!
There's a bar in the cinema itself which is licensed. This has been refurbished recently, and is a quiet haven in the cinema for a quick drink afterwards. The prices are however quite steep, so you might be best to head across to one of the other bars in the area, namely the Queen of the Iceni, a JD Wetherspoon pub, where prices are much cheaper.
Overall, the cinema is what you would expect, well staffed, good number of films shown, comfortable seats, good quality screens and sound. There are some improvements, especially with pricing, which could be made, but this cinema is definitely better than the ones we used to have in Norwich ajust over ten years ago!
Summary: Much better than cinemas in Norwich used to be!
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