A cinema visit in London can be an expensive business. Of course there are always the off-peak tickets, but not everyone's free at 2.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. And what about pick and mix, ice creams, drinks and hot dogs — for those who can negotiate one in the dark? They'll usually make your movie trip to well over £20.
We've put together a guide of free and cheap cinema tickets in London, both larger chains and small arthouse premises, pubs with screening rooms and the like.
You won't pay more than £7 per film at these screenings — all the more cash for popcorn.
Showing an interesting movie mix, from foreign language numbers to gritty British dramas — and many genres in between — Barbican offers discounted Monday films, including a parent and baby screening. It's only £6 to catch any film for the whole of Monday. There are two screen locations, so check which you're visiting.
Barbican Cinema 1, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS or Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3, Beech Street, EC2Y 8AE
SHORTWAVE CINEMA: £6
This independent 52 seat cinema in Bermondsey offers a mix of art house, recent releases and some film festival gems. They regularly host events and have a cosy bar and cafe. Tickets are just £6 each for any screening on Mondays.
Shortwave Cinema, 10 Bermondsey Square, SE1 3UN
Some Picturehouse Cinemas offer £7 tickets all day on Mondays (excluding bank holidays). Those London branches participating are Crouch End, the Ritzy in Brixton, East Dulwich, Gate (Notting Hill), Greenwich and Hackney. See individual webpages for details and locations.
RIO CINEMA: £6
This Dalston picture palace mixes arthouse with mainstream movies in a Grade II listed 1930s building with a single screen. It's London's oldest community cinema (for almost 40 years) and operates as a charity. On Mondays, all screenings are just £6.
Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB
BFI SOUTHBANK: £6
You won't catch the latest action movie here, but the BFI programme is full of secret cinema gems, Hollywood classics and films for kids. It seems to sell out quickly (especially for the really obscure films), so pre-book your seat. They also regularly run seasons based on director or theme; their current programme includes Shakespeare on Film.
BFI Southbank, Belevdere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XT
London Jewish Cultural Centre offers lesser-known films and the odd mainstream movie in a centre dedicated to Jewish arts, culture and community. Opening hours may change due to religious holidays, so check before visiting. On Tuesday, you can catch any movie, at any time for just £5.
JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET
PICTUREHOUSE CLAPHAM: £7
The mini-chain's Clapham offspring offers discounted tickets for all screenings every Tuesday. Right next door to Clapham Common, it's perfect for a cosier way to watch current releases. Tickets are just £7 per person.
Clapham Picturehouse, 76 Venn Street, SW4 0AT
SANDS FILMS: Free
Sands Films in Rotherhithe is housed in a Grade II-listed granary building, right by the river. The place has been running since the 1970s and offers a film club and film production facilities, combined with a welcoming atmosphere. The toilets are pretty special too. They offer free film screenings every Tuesday evening.
Sands Films, 82 St Marychurch Street, SE16 4HZ
GENESIS: £4.50 (+booking fee)
On Mondays and Wednesdays you can see any film (except for those in luxury Screen 5) for £4.50 plus booking fee. This East End picture house has a rich history after the current building starting life as a Theatre Of Varieties in 1885.
Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Road, E1 4UJ
THE OVERLOOK FILM CLUB: £4 suggested donation
Spitalfield boozer The Water Poet welcomes The Overlook Film Club for a monthly film screening in the Cellar Bar. The night focusses on cinema's best kept secrets, so it's a great chance to catch cinematic gold you might have missed. It's pay-what-you-can entry. Check The Water Poet events calendar for listings.
The Overlook Film Club, The Water Poet, 9-11 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, E1 6BX
Just turn up, check listings here
There are no stand-out tickets offers just for Friday, so have a look in the Various Days section below instead.
PHOENIX CINEMA: £3
North London's Phoenix Cinema offers a kids club each Saturday to give little ones their first taste of the movies, without breaking the budget. Recent screenings include The Iron Giant, The Muppets and Gnomeo and Juliet. It's just £3 per seat and there's a free activity workshop before.
The Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, N2 9PJ
SOME BRANCHES OF VUE CINEMA: from £2.49
Sponsored by Disney, certain London branches of Vue Cinema run kids and parents screenings of popular animation films, such as Minions and Alvin and the Chipmunks as part of Mini Mornings. Tickets start at just £2.49 for a 2D feature. The offer's also available on Saturday mornings and school holidays too.
Various Vue branches, depending on the film. Check the Vue list here
PECKHAMPLEX: £4.99, all day anytime including weekends.
OK, it's not a looker, but Peckhamplex is a friendly multi-screen cinema offering new releases for a fraction of the big-chain prices, at any time. It's under a fiver per ticket, for any time screening, and you only pay £1 extra for a 3D movie. Bargain.
95a Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST
Browse films online, book by phone: 0844 567 2742
STRATFORD EAST PICTUREHOUSE: £7 all day, any time including weekends
The Stratford East branch of the Picturehouse chain (part of Cineworld) offers all day, anytime tickets for just £7. You don't have to be a member, but there are all sorts of benefits if you are, including free tickets and discounts from many stores.
Stratford Picturehouse, Salway Road, E15 1BX
ROXY BAR AND SCREEN: £5 any evening screening, members get in free
This popular Borough High Street venue regularly gets great write ups. The emphasis here is on 'cult genre movies', which you can tuck into along with comfort food from their menu. They don't show films every night (it's a sports bar too), so check the schedule to make sure.
Roxy Bar and Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB
Book online although walk-ins are accepted if there's space.
THE CAT'S BACK: free on Thursday and Sunday
A cosy pub nestled between Wandsworth and Putney isn't the first place you'd expect to watch films such as This Is England and Dead Man's Shoes — but The Cat's Back does just this, and for free, too. Screenings mostly take place on Thursday and Sunday and you can also take advantage of the pub's full food menu and ale selection.
The Cat's Back, 86-88 Point Pleasant, SW18 1NN
Just turn up, film listings here
Cinema experiences don't get much more atmospheric than these monthly get togethers, where classic movies (think Jaws, Citizen Kane, Charlie Chaplin) are projected at the intimate Russet, using an old super 8 discovered in a bin.
Get your £5 monthly membership here
The Russet. 17 Amhurst Terrace (Just off Amhurst Road), E8 2BT
PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA: from £1
A special mention to this beloved Leicester Square cinema: it's well worth becoming a member (£10 annually), which entitles you to screenings as cheap as £1.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY
As with all great things, details of these offers are subject to change — so check carefully before heading off to the cinema.
Have we missed out some cushty cinema ticket offers in London? Let us know in the comments below