“ 2nd floor, Whiteleys Shopping Centre, Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 4YL (Bayswater / Queensway tube). Tel: 08700 10 20 30 (subject to a booking fee). 10 SCREENS. ADMISSION: Adult Off Peak (Mon-Fri before 5pm) £5.75; Adult Evening & Weekend (Mon-Fri afte „
I've been visiting this cinema on a regular basis for the past 10 years. Why do I go here? Well, it's the most convenient for me and my family to visit and I can combine a visit with visiting other shops in the area. It's now just a familiar part of our cinema going routine and I thought it was about time I wrote a review about it.
~~~Where is it Located?~~~
The UCI cinema can be found on the third floor of the Whiteleys shopping centre (The Wright Stuff is filmed up on this floor too). It's situated in Queensway in Bayswater, London. This floor is also the location of a large selection of eating places such as Cafe Rouge, Bella Pasta, Oscars, Yo Sushi and Ask.
~~~Transport to the Cinema~~~
If you're coming here by car, there is a car park just outside the back of the cinema. Although the cinema is on the third floor, the car park is reached via ramps which take you up to the same level as the cinema. It's open from 8.30am to 12 midnight seven days a week with more than 175 parking spaces.
If you're arriving via public transport, bus routes that stop close by are the no. 7, 12, 23, 27, 36, 70 and 98. Tube stations close by are Royal Oak on the Hammersmith and City Line or Bayswater on the District and Circle lines.
Or, if like me, you cycle everywhere, there are loads of cycle racks just outside.
~~~The Cinema Complex~~~
Just outside the cinema are large advertisements on the walls detailing all the films which are currently being shown inside the cinema as well as films soon to be shown. They usually have all the current popular films showing, but not all and I'm often quite annoyed that some newly released films are not shown here at all. Feature films tend to have a lot of screenings for the first couple of weeks after release, after which your options are greatly reduced to a choice of two or three times a day.
There are eights screens, four on the level you enter the cinema and another four upstairs.
Although the online website indicates different areas for seating, ie premier seats or standard, when you arrive, it's a sit anywhere you want situation. Some of the cinema screens have just a bank of seats down the middle, others are larger with aisles either side of the middle section with further seats either side. The smallest screen has 123 seats and the largest 327.
My main problem with the seating inside this UCI is that they are all on one level. This means that if you are on the short side, pretty much anyone who sits in front of you will block your view. And I can guarantee, if I've made sure I've come in just before the film starts, found myself a decent seat, someone will come in later and plonk themselves in front of me.
At the entrance to the cinema they have a shelving area with bright yellow portable child seats. These can be taken into the cinema and placed on a seat, providing greater height. If you are seeing a popular children's film, you need to be early to get one of these seats.
There are a couple of ticket collection machines which you go to retrieve your tickets if you've already ordered them over the phone or online. These are a useful way of avoiding the long queues at the till (when they're working)! There have been many occasions when either one or both of these machines have been out of order. This means you need to join that lovely queue at the tills.
There are a couple of tills where you can buy your tickets but, as with any cinema, it's best to avoid going just before a film starts as you may become stuck in a queue. Actually, I tell a lie. There are three tills, but in all the years I've queued there, only two have been open at any one time.
Tickets (at the time of writing) cost between £7.60 and £10.50 for adults depending on the time of day. Children's tickets range between £5.30 and £6.30 depending on the time. Before 4pm is the cheaper time. It's annoying that they don't do a family ticket like Vue cinemas as it can become extremely expensive when taking the family.
~~~Food on Offer~~~
Food on offer in the cinema is a typical cinema junk food fest. Popcorn, hot dogs, nachos and fizzy drinks feature prominently on the menu. Oh they also offer big bags of chocolates and upstairs there is a large pick and mix sweet selection as well as ice creams on sticks. So, with all that exercise you'll be doing in the cinema, eat to your hearts content. Not.
I despair at the choice of food offered in cinemas today, particularly with the government and health professionals giving daily dire warnings about the obesity levels in this country. The only remotely healthy item on offer is the sugar free fruit shoot drink. Popcorn can be healthy as long as it's not covered in sweet substances or salt, but these are the only options in the cinema.
But it's not only the choice of food that's outrageous. It's the price. Just last week my son pleaded for a hot dog and waited for me to pay. I approached the till and saw £3.70 rung up on the till. I asked my son what else he'd ordered and he said 'nothing'. I simply could not believe that this plain bread roll with a solitary hot dog sausage sitting inside would cost me £3.70. Never again.
At the entrance to the cinema is a Ben & Jerry's Ice cream kiosk offering similarly overpriced and unhealthy ice cream snacks.
I tend to take my own food in with me, either hiding it in my bag or carrying it in along with bags of groceries. I've never had a problem doing this or been stopped. I know many cinemas won't allow this, but I believe, until they can offer decent healthy food at prices even approaching reasonable, then I will carry on taking in my own food. There is a Starbucks just across the way from the cinema and I always purchase a coffee and a fruit salad from there.
There are two locations for the toilets, upstairs and downstairs and these cater for both men and women. It's useful having two sets of toilets. If you need to go after the film, which many people do, then they generally head for the nearest toilet, and typically with the ladies, there will be a queue. So, to avoid the after film toilet queue, just go to the other toilet.
The toilets are usually in good order, with most of them having their doors still intact. They are clean and checked frequently by cleaners. There are hot air dryers, soap dispensers (with actual soap in them) and warm water taps (not for drinking).
There are a certain amount of facilities in place for the disabled. The Whiteleys centre itself is fully accessible for wheelchairs, with ramps etc and lifts up to the other floors. However, the cinema doesn't have any means of accessing the second floor screens, so you'd be limited to seeing whatever films were showing on the ground floor of the cinema (screens 1-4). Screens 1-4 have place for 2-3 wheelchairs each.
So, if you're shopping in the Whiteleys Centre, it's nice to come and enjoy a film when you've finished.
Yet another cinema in London, and there is not a great deal to distinguish it from the rest. Transport links are reasonable, with the District and Circle lines or certain buses. The area around is fairly nice, with many shops, and the Whiteleys mall with a few restaurants and shops. It is a typical UCI cinema, with popcorn, and high-backed seats which are quite comfy to sit in, although the angle of the seats means it can be quite hard to see the screen. The screen itself is of average size for a modern cinema, and the sound is equally average. However the main sticking point with this cinema is the price. £7.50 for a ticket most of the time is not worth it compared to less expensive cinemas offering equal quality screens. This is, of course, less than many West End cinemas, but I believe the price at all these places is extortionate, and you are much better served going to a cinema in the suburbs for £2.00 less.