Going to the cinema is undoubtedly the best way to experience films, and it's something I enjoy doing almost every week.

The surround sound, massive screen and the general communal experience of watching a film with a crowd can be a great time.

However, it isn't for everyone and since the Covid pandemic, cinema attendance has declined significantly from the numbers it used to bring in.

In response, some chains experiment with different methods to encourage people to turn up.

One of those is Showcase Cinemas, which has the option of 'The VIP Gallery Experience' at a few of their branches.

Daily Echo: Guests are given a free drink and snack pot in the VIP Gallery ExperienceGuests are given a free drink and snack pot in the VIP Gallery Experience (Image: Newsquest)

On their website, it states: "All Gallery tickets include a luxurious seat with extra legroom (see below for more details) and access to the VIP Gallery bar and lounge before and after the film with a wide range of cocktails, spirits, wines, beer, and soft drinks available to purchase."

This comes at a much more expensive ticket at £25 per person, so I went to try their 'VIP Gallery Experience' at their Bluewater branch to see if it was worth the money.

What was the Showcase Cinema Gallery experience like?

I treated my parents to the VIP experience at Showcase and after showing our ticket QR code to the staff at the cinema we were given a card wallet.

This contained two vouchers, one for a snack pot and one for a free drink (either a glass of prosecco or orange juice).

Daily Echo: The lounge area of the galleryThe lounge area of the gallery (Image: Newsquest)

We were then told to make our way to the lift, which took us to the upper level where we were greeted by another member of staff.

They were very helpful in explaining how the VIP Gallery Experience worked as obviously it was all new to us.

As mentioned above you could get a free drink, so we decided to make the most of it and all got a glass of prosecco.

Daily Echo: We got prosecco as part of the experienceWe got prosecco as part of the experience (Image: Newsquest)

Alongside that, you also got a free snack pot and to its credit, you got a fair amount of choice of what to have.

This included chilli nuts, vegetable crisps, brownies, mini apple beignets and selections of Quality Street and Celebrations among others.

I went for the mix of Quality Street chocolate, and I was pleased to see they didn't skimp as an Orange Crunch was featured.

Daily Echo: A Quality Street selection was my snack pot of choiceA Quality Street selection was my snack pot of choice (Image: Newsquest)

We still had about 10 minutes or so before the film started so we sat in the lounge which had plenty of seating options, and enjoyed our prosecco.

Whilst we didn't have any other drinks, there was a bar in this area if you felt like having something else on top.

After that, we made our way to our screen and to our seats, which as the 'Gallery' name implies were at a higher level than the rest of the screen.

Daily Echo: The landing area of the gallery screensThe landing area of the gallery screens (Image: Newsquest)

One of the benefits Showcase mentions for the experience is the "luxurious seat with extra legroom".

To be honest there wasn't much difference to a regular seat in their screens, with both having plenty of legroom and reclining options.

However, it does offer the option of heating, which could be a nice bonus but not one I felt the need to utilise as I wasn't feeling cold.

Daily Echo: The seat you got in the gallery sectionThe seat you got in the gallery section (Image: Newsquest)

Once we were settled in we watched 'Bob Marley: One Love" which was a perfectly fine film but not something particularly special either.

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The verdict

Overall, I enjoyed 'The VIP Gallery Experience' especially for the benefit of the free drink and snack pot, as well as the option to enjoy the lounge area before the film started.

Despite this, it is admittedly something I would probably not do again, purely for the fact I usually enjoy the cinema on its own without any extras.

Additionally, the regular seats at Showcase are great without the heating option and it is also a bit of a drive away for me when there are a few cinemas much closer.

However, if you wanted to make your trip to the cinema a little more special and perhaps treat a partner or family member it would serve that purpose very effectively.