Guide to Cinemas In Essex: from Big Chains to Independent Cinemas

If you are in Essex and want to go to the cinema then I have pulled together a list of what the county has to offer. There are big chain multi screen cinemas including Cineworld, Odeon and Vue cinemas, but there are lots of smaller, independent cinemas you can visit too. If you fancy something a bit different there are even some drive in cinemas. 

A cinema screen and seats from Pixabay free stock image to illustrate cinemas in Essex
Essex has plenty of cinemas from big screens to independents and drive ins.

A Comprehensive List of the Cinemas in Essex


Basildon - Festival Leisure Park, SS14 3WB

18 screen cinema including IMAX and 4DX. Free car park shared with the other leisure facilities including Hollywood Bowl and 360 Play (soft play) and a good range of restaurants.

Braintree - Freeport Leisure, CM77 8YH

12 screen cinema located next to Freeport Designer Village with plenty of places to east and shop. Free parking, but expect the car parks to be busy at popular shopping times (eg the run up to Christmas).

Harlow - The Harvey Centre CM20 1XR

The Harvey Centre Cineworld is a 6 screen cinema located on the first floor of The Harvey Centre. The Harvey Centre has a large car park (easiest access to the cinema is from Level 3) which you have to pay to park in (get a ticket on entry and pay before returning to your car). There are a range of shops and food outlets nearby including Burger King.

Harlow - The Queensgate Centre, Edinburgh Way CM20 2DA 

6 screen cinema with free parking is available at The Queensgate Centre which is home to large stores like Currys, Next Home and Homesense as well as food outlets: Costa, Subway, Pizza Hut and Tim Hortons. 


Chelmsford - Kings Head Walk, CM2 6FH

Located as part of Meadows Shopping Centre the Chelmsford Odeon has 8 screens. The nearest car park is Q-Park Meadows. Car parking tariffs apply, reduced price on Sundays.

Colchester - Head Street, C01 1NH

The 8 screen cinema is in a shopping area and there is no parking adjacent to it. Nearby (paying) car parks are: St John's Car Park on Southway, Vineyard Car Park Britannia Car Park, St Mary's Car Park, Priory Street Car Park and St Botolph's Car Park.

Southend - London Road, SS1 1TJ

An 8 screen cinema next to Victoria Shopping Centre which has the nearest car parking (tariff applies). For evening viewings there is some free parking available after 6pm, but check closing time of car parks.


Vue cinemas currently has tickets for screenings from £4.99 per person when you buy online which is much cheaper than some cinemas. They also run mini-morning sessions at the weekend from £2.49 a ticket per person, these sessions are great for young children.

Dagenham - Dagenham Leisure Park, Cook Road, RM9 6UQ

A 9 screen cinema located on Dagenham Leisure Park which has free parking .

Romford - 1-15 The Brewery, RM1 1AU

The 16 screen Romford Vue cinema is inside The Brewery Retail area. There is plenty of parking (tariff applies) as well as shops, a large range of restaurants ls and McDonald's and bowling and Namco Funscape.

Thurrock - Lakeside Shopping Centre, RM20 2ZW

The 9 screen Thurrock Vue Cinema is inside the large Lakeside Shopping Centre which has plenty of free parking. You can find the cinema by the Boardwalk restaurant area so aim for a car park near by.

Independent and Small Chain Cinemas in Essex

Century Cinema - Clacton-On-Sea - 129 Pier Avenue, CO15 1NJ

The Century Cinema is Clacton has 2 screens (1 with 462 seats, the other with 97 seats). The nearest pay and display car park is off Wellesley Road, the car park next to the cinema belongs to Buzz Bingo. Tickets are £3.50 weekdays and £4.50 weekends. The cinema dates from 1936 when it was one huge auditorium and it was divided into the bingo hall and 2 screens in 1967.

Community Cinema - Billericay (occasional films only) - The Chantry Centre, CM11 2BB

An award winning not for profit cinema run by volunteers in a community space. The screen is 3.5 x 2.5 metres and they make space by moving the bookcases. They have a refreshment stall and sometimes have entertainment before the film. This is an affordable community experience showing roughly 2 films a month that are mostly old classics. It sounds a bit like watching a film in a large living room with friends.
No dedicated car park so look for street parking or the High Street car park.

Curzon - Colchester - 19 Queen Street, CO1 2PH

Curzon cinema in Colchester has 3 screens and a total of 311 seats. They claim to show "best of quality mainstream including family films, independent gems and events."
All screens are wheelchair accessible and audio description and hearing assist headsets are available on request. The nearest car park is Priory Street.

Everyman Cinema - Chelmsford -131 Bond Street, CM1 1GD

A 5 screen cinema where you can get food delivered to your seat (before the film starts). They show a combination of mainstream, independent and classic films as well as holding special events, launches and a diverse calendar of live satellite broadcasts. They have baby club and toddler club screenings.
Disabled access to all screens via a lift. Screens are fitted with infra-red 2 channel assisted hearing devices with T-Coil excitation facility, feature audio description facilities where made available by the film distributor and can display subtitles where made available by the film distributor.
Parking available in an underground car park next door (I assume you have to pay, but I can't find information).

Movie Starr - Canvey Island - Eastern Esplanade, SS8 7DN

Movie Starr is a family run, independent cinema located on the seafront of Canvey Island with 4 screens. Free parking is available, but you need to enter your vehicle registration at the box office. register your number plate. Tickets are £4 Monday to Thursday and £5 Friday to Sunday.

Nightflix (Drive In) - Colchester - Tollgate West, CO3 8RG

Unfortunately this has now permanently closed.
Showing 1 or 2 films most days this drive in cinema shows a mixture of recent releases and older films. Prebook your tickets and when you arrive they will check you in via your number plate and let you know where to park. You tune your FM radio in to hear the film in the comfort of your car.  You can order food online to be delivered to you as well, including hot dogs, waffles, milkshakes and nachos. If your car doesn't have FM then they have a few radios to borrow or you would need to bring an FM radio with you. Ticket prices vary, but are around £29 plus booking fee per car.
Parking is included obviously because you are watching the film in your car, which you are asked to stay in,  but they do have toilets available.

Premiere Cinemas - Romford - Mercury Shopping Mall, RM1 3EE

An 8? screen cinema which prides itself at offering the same standards as chain cinemas, but at a lower cost. Tickets are £4 each and and a family ticket for 4 is £14. It's located on level 3 of Mercury Shopping Mall which has plenty of shops and food outlets. There is plenty of parking in The Mercury car park (tariff applies, but free on Sundays).

The Rio Cinema - Burnham on Crouch - 154 Station Road, CM0 8HW

An independently own cinema claiming to be the only full time historic cinema in Essex. The 2 screen cinema is believe to have opened in 1931. Tickets cost £3, £4 or £5 depending on the film and how much it costs them to screen.  You can bring your own food and drink in for a small surcharge, but there is a long list of food and drink which isn't allowed so check the website or buy from them.
Step-free access available, but currently there are no disabled toilets.
The cinema doesn't have it's own car park, but there is some street parking and a few car parks nearby.

Southend Outdoor Cinema (Drive In) - Rayleigh - Crouch Valley Showground, SS6 7FQ 

This cinema appears to now be closed. Keep an eye on their Facebook page though incase they have shows in future. There are occasional screenings of films at this drive in cinema which you can book online. Food is available to be delivered to your car, available to preorder on booking or order online when you are there. Tickets around £20 plus booking fee per car. Show your QR code on arrival for entry and tune in to the film using FM radio.
They recommend not using the postcode for directions.

Please note: It is recommended you check out the cinemas websites for the current films and booking information. Prebooking not always required, but recommended. The cinemas are of varying standards and no specific recommendations are being made.

If I have missed any please let me know, I would love to add them in.

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