How to get £3 cinema tickets for National Cinema Day

How the deal works, when the promotion’s available, and small print to watch out for

Small bucket of popcorn resting on the arm of a chair in the cinema
(Image credit: Getty images)

If you’re looking for cheap cinema tickets, don’t miss out on National Cinema Day, which takes place on 3 September 2022. Hundreds of cinemas across the UK ‒ including the likes of Odeon (opens in new tab), Cineworld (opens in new tab) and Vue (opens in new tab) ‒ offering tickets from just £3 each.

Organised by the industry body Cinema First, participating cinemas will play classic films as well as current releases for a fixed price, so there’s a wide mix of films on offer for everyone. These include Idris Elba’s big-cat thriller Beast, Steven Spielberg’s 1982 family classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and box-office hit Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Here’s everything you need to know about the promotion - and if there’s any sneaky small print.

Which cinemas are taking part in National Cinema Day 

Big chains like Odeon (opens in new tab), Cineworld (opens in new tab), Vue (opens in new tab), Picturehouse (opens in new tab), Empire (opens in new tab), and Showcase (opens in new tab) are all participating, as well as a range of independent cinemas.

You can find a full list of participating cinemas on the National Cinema Day (opens in new tab) website. Enter your location to find out if your local cinema is taking part.

As well as regular screenings, many cinemas will also have accessible screenings available for the same ticket price, such as autism-friendly screenings, subtitled films and audio-description.

When is the £3 cinema ticket promotion available? 

Saturday 3 September will mark the launch of the first National Cinema Day, where, for one day only, participating cinemas across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will offer fixed-price tickets for any screening. 

You can either buy tickets in advance or on the day. There is no need to sign up to any promotion or use an online code, the discount will be applied to everyone’s tickets for showings that take place on 3 September.

How much do tickets cost? 

Most tickets for movies on National Cinema Day cost just £3. Some tickets may cost more, for example for luxury seats or premium screenings.

Watch out for booking fees, as cinemas will be able to charge those on top for online and telephone bookings. 

For example, Odeon charges a 95p booking fee, making the cost of a ticket on National Cinema Day £3.95.

Picturehouse says all its films will be £3 on Saturday 3 September - but there is a 70p fee on top for online bookings.

Vue charges a 90p booking fee.

Some cinemas are offering discounted experiences with dinner and snacks as part of National Cinema Day. Customers can enjoy discounted ViP admission for £24 at Cineworld Cheltenham, Cineworld Glasgow Renfrew Street, Cineworld Sheffield and Cineworld Greenwich 02. 

The experience includes complimentary dining and access to an exclusive lounge 45 minutes before the start of the film, unlimited snacks and drinks, and luxury seats.

Is there a limit on how many tickets I can buy? 

There's no limit on tickets so you can watch a number of films at your local cinema if you like, or visit several different cinemas. 

Which films are showing? 

There’s a wide range of films being screened as part of National Cinema Day, from new releases to classics. It of course depends on the particular cinema, but films showing may include Drive, DC League of Super-Pets, Nope, Elvis, Fisherman's Friends: One and All, Thor: Love and Thunder, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Bullet Train and Top Gun: Maverick. 

How does National Cinema Day work if I’m a cinema member? 

If you have a membership to a cinema and already get free tickets, you may be wondering if National Cinema Day offers you anything extra. 

Odeon myLIMITLESS (opens in new tab) members will be pleased to hear that the cinema chain is dropping the usual charge for premium screenings and allowing members to watch Imax, Dolby and iSense movies for no extra charge on 3 September. 

Check with your cinema to see if it is offering members any extra discounts on freebies. 

Ruth Emery is contributing editor at The Money Edit. Ruth is passionate about helping people feel more confident about their finances. She was previously editor of Times Money Mentor, and prior to that was deputy Money editor at The Sunday Times. A multi-award winning journalist, Ruth started her career on a pensions magazine at the FT Group, and has also worked at Money Observer and Money Advice Service. Outside of work, she is a mum to two young children, a magistrate and an NHS volunteer.