Berkhamsted’s The Rex has been voted best cinema in the UK.
Queues to the much-loved Three Close Lane picturehouse regularly stretch around the corner into the High Street when tickets go on sale. Popular films are known to sell out within hours.
Berkhamsted mayor Ian Reay said: “That just goes to show how successful and well-run it is.
“The Rex has really put Berkhamsted back on the map as far as arts entertainment is concerned.”
The cinema’s reputation for comfy, spaced out seats stretches far and wide.
There are also tables around which guests can enjoy a drink and nibbles during film screenings. Upstairs and downstairs bars are open while movies are being shown.
Writing on the Rex Berkhamsted Facebook page, Jane Boothroyd said: “It is the best cinema in the world, with the best staff.”
And to help prove it, The Rex won the best cinema award at the first ever film awards by national newspaper the Guardian on Thursday.
After the news was announced on Facebook, many people offered their congratulations and said the win was well-deserved.
Joanne Richardson said: “Well done. A beautiful cinema. Hope this doesn’t make it even harder to get a ticket!”
Victoria Crawley said: “Rex is head & shoulders above the others!”
Elizabeth Whicker said: “Totally deserved and jolly well done to all.”
The Rex was brought back to life in 2004 by entrepreneur James Hannaway and Berkhamsted-based chartered surveyors Robert Martell & Partners after lying empty for 16 years.
Creative director of the British Film Institute (BFI) Heather Stewart said her organisation wants to help people across the UK access a ‘rich variety of film’.
Its national archives in Berkhamsted’s Kingshill store more than 8,000 films at a cool temperature to prevent them from decaying, so they can be preserved for future generations. Among them are rare Hitchcock classics.
Ms Stewart said: “The Rex, which is treasured by many BFI staff, brings a broad range of great films to its local audience in the most stunning art deco setting.
“Our warmest congratulations go to everyone at the Rex for this well-deserved award.”
Chairman of the Berkhamsted Film Society Ian Davies praised Mr Hannaway for bringing an empty cinema back into use.
He said: “Clearly it gets people in from a large catchment area – not just Berkhamsted.”