London Vacation: Imax Theaters

Don’t just go to the movies while on vacation in London — take in the larger-than-life IMAX experience. Perfect for the entire family, there are a wide variety of films constantly playing at two separate locations in the capital city, both of which offer enormous screens and state-of-the-art sound systems.

The seven-year-old British Film Institute’s London IMAX Cinema is located on the South Bank. It’s the largest screen in the U.K., the height of five double-decker buses, and there are nearly 500 seats with completely unobstructed views. In addition to science and nature films, there are also 3-D movies complete with special glasses and even feature films on specially-made IMAX prints (this summer, for instance, you can see “Poseidon” or “Superman Returns.” Ticket prices range from £8.50 to £12.00 for general admission (discounts apply for children) and bookings can be made in advance online. Waterloo Station is nearby, with signs clearly marking the appropriate underground walkways that will get you to the theater.

The Science Museum in South Kensington, just south of Hyde Park, also houses an IMAX theater specializing in nature and space exploration films, many of which are in 3D. Admission prices here are only £7.50 with discounts for children and seniors, although the Museum’s “IMAX Club” will get you an unlimited number of admissions over the course of the calendar year. If you’re staying nearby while on vacation or are traveling with children, this might actually be a better deal. Details are available at the museum or online, but keep in mind that this venue is particularly busy with large children’s groups – you may want to book as far in advance as possible, especially during the regular school year. While there are no feature films playing here, there are several exciting motion simulator rides that will keep the kids entertained – along with all of the permanent exhibits housed in the museum. The IMAX and simulator rides charge an admission fee, the Science Museum costs nothing to explore.

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