Love cinema? Then you’ve got to love Swindon.
With Wiltshire’s only IMAX screen, three state-of-the-art multiplexes and a thriving art house film society, the town has got every type of movie genre covered, from 3D blockbusters and box office smashes to foreign language films and live opera performances.
The Empire Cinema at Greenbridge Retail & Leisure Park boasts 12 screens including the 260-seat IMAX auditorium where audiences will be bowled over by autumn blockbusters like First Man, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, and Captain Marvel. The IMAX Experience’s crystal-clear digital projection and large curved screen spanning from floor to ceiling and wall to wall provides Swindon moviegoers with the world’s most immersive cinema experience.
Swindon’s newest multiplex, Cineworld Regent Circus, is located in the heart of the town centre, making it the perfect venue to combine with a post-movie meal or a few drinks while dissecting the movie you’ve just seen.
Just down the road from Cineworld in Regent Street you’ll find The Savoy pub, formerly The Savoy cinema. Built in the 1930s in the fashionable Art Deco style, this super-cinema seated almost 2,000 and was a mainstay of Swindon’s leisure scene until it closed down in 1991. The pub is still worth a visit for movie buffs as it maintains the feel of a cinema foyer and is decorated throughout with vintage film posters and memorabilia. Ironically, a building that now houses a pub was built on the site of The Central Temperance Hotel!
As well as the latest Hollywood smashes, Cineworld Regent Circus is also the place to enjoy the latest Bollywood films, with weekly screenings of popular Indian films. All-singing, all-dancing thrills guaranteed!
Across town in West Swindon is the seven screen Cineworld Shaw Ridge, part of Shaw Ridge Leisure Park which also includes LaserQuest, Space Play, Viva Urban Spa, Village Health & Fitness, Tenpin Bowling and a variety of food outlets. A great place for a whole day out with the kids.
Outside Shaw Ridge cinema is a statue of Swindon’s very own big screen diva, Diana Dors, who in the 1950s was known as Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe. Another famous blonde – Princess Diana no less – was said to drive to Swindon from nearby Highgrove to take young William and Harry to see the latest Disney movies at Shaw Ridge, slipping in discretely as the lights went down at the beginning of the show.
A leisurely 10-minute stroll from Shaw Ridge you can find another cinematic iconic, the futuristic former Renault distribution centre designed by Sir Norman Foster and now a Grade II* listed building. Featuring yellow steel umbrella masts, the futuristic glass-walled building was used as a backdrop in the James Bond movie A View To A Kill in 1984.
Like the Empire Greenbridge and Cineworld Regent Circus, Cineworld Shaw Ridge has special weekly screenings for seniors and Saturday morning programmes for children. The Empire also boasts a comprehensive programme of live screenings of the Royal Shakespeare Company, opera and ballet.
Last but not least, an honourable mention goes to Swindon Film Society, founded way back in 1947. Seventy-one years later the society continues to show the best of world cinema at Swindon Arts Centre in Old Town, whether that means historical sagas from China, film noir from Morocco or Second World War dramas from Denmark.
A 2018/19 brochure with full details of screenings can be downloaded at www.swindonfilm.org.uk/documents/SFS2018_Leaflet.pdf