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A Room with a Vue
VUE Cinema Leeds
Member Name: Smokindave
VUE Cinema Leeds
Advantages: Free parking, clean comfortable, good facilities
Disadvantages: Off peak queues for tickets at food areas
Having two Vue cinema complexes in Leeds and noting that most people choose the Light; I have chosen to review the Vue at Kirstall Road. The simple reason why we choose this cinema is that it is the most convenient for us to get to and use. Not the closest, but the quickest.
If I had to pick one I would say that the Light is probably a better complex than Kirstall, having more screens and its just a little more modern and glitzy experience. But to get to the light I have to get into the centre of Leeds and pay to park. At Kirkstall parking is free at the Cardigan Fields Leisure Park.
The cinema itself is virtually unchanged from when it was a Warner Village, just a few years ago. Through the main doors, you are presented with several pay kiosks which are open at peak times only. At off peak times tickets can be purchased only at the food areas inside the main foyer. This can be a little frustrating at times as long queues can form as obviously those purchasing food and tickets will slow proceedings down. I guess it does make sense though as most people will buy some sort of food or drink while treating themselves at the pictures.
The other thing worth mentioning is the automatic ticket machines. There are two of these in the reception area and these are for pre-booked tickets only. Now I used to like the idea of pre-booking my tickets; by phone originally and then through the Vue website as the process evolved. My one gripe with this process is that there is a booking fee (called a card handling fee) for online purchases. Now of course this is relevant to all sorts of other websites from theatre to flights, but it still winds me up somewhat that I am being charged a fee for something that actually saves that company money. Anyway, mini rant over, what is the rest of the place like?
The main foyer has a modern and airy feel about it. There are lots of TV screens high above projecting the same images of whatever film trailer happens to be on. These can be a welcome distraction while queuing for your food, drink or tickets. The number of staff on duty varies greatly depending on peak or off peak times, but there are the usual selection of popcorn hot dogs and Nacho type snacks, complemented with large bags of sweets, chocolates and the ever popular pic n mix. From the ice cream stand there is a good selection of ices, with cold drinks and a range of hot beverages too. My wife and I particularly enjoy a large Latte while at the pictures, as I have noticed of late a tendency to want to fall asleep as soon as I sit down in my seat (I am sure it is a sign of age creeping up on me).
There is a small selection of amusement arcade type machines in the corner; I have no interest in such things and so cannot comment on this area. Apart from the toilets, which are usually clean and fresh smelling, there is one other item of interest in the foyer; that is a machine which sells and dispenses films in various formats. I have noticed these sprouting up recently in various places. The idea seems to be that you can select from a list of films on a touch screen and purchase in whatever format from DVD to memory stick or media card download. Again I have never tried this, or in fact seen anyone use this facility.
There are nine screens in the complex and I think numbers one and nine are the biggest. Screens 1 to 5 are accessible to the right and 5 to 9 to the left (5 is therefore accessible from both sides). We try to arrive early if we are seeing a popular film as it can get very busy, and being set in our ways we like to get a particular seat.
The actual theatres are comfortable and spacious. All are air-conditioned, and in fact sometimes can be a little cold because of this. The sound is of course excellent stereo, if perhaps a little loud, especially during the adverts for some reason. Each theatre is cleaned after every performance and I have never been bothered by someone else's rubbish. The seats all have hinged armrests with the essential cup holder and of course they all fold upwards in the usual fashion. As for the viewing itself, the main feature will never start at the allotted time, instead the adverts and trailers will begin at this time. I find that up to half an hour can pass from the ticketed start time to the actual main performance.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adult - £5.10
Senior - £3.85
Student - £4.35
Teen - £4.10
Adult - £6.10
Senior - £4.60
Student - £5.20
Teen - £4.90
If booking on line then there is of course that dreaded card handling fee of £0.60.
For those of you with an Orange phone then consider the Orange Wednesday deal which basically gets you two tickets for the price of one. I am not on Orange but I believe it is a very popular offer.
As I mentioned in opening, we usually choose this cinema complex as it is convenient (and free) for parking; but to be fair the whole experience is usually very enjoyable. The food and drink is expensive, but then that has always been the case for every cinema I have ever been to since a kid, so you just accept this. In the rest Cardigan Fields Park there are plenty of restaurants such as Frankie and Bennys, Nandos and Pizza Hut. If you like bowling then Hollywood Bowl is next door, and if you are feeling really energetic then pop into Virgin Active for a work out and swim. So all in all I can thoroughly recommend a trip to the Vue at Leeds Kirkstall for a great all round cinema experience.
Summary: An easily accessable and great all round cinema experience