Category Archives: film
While your latest cinema is sure to show all the latest releases, there’s not really that much atmosphere in the modern screening rooms. Fortunately, parks and open spaces come to life over the summer as roaming film companies set up camp. These pop-up cinemas can offer Londoners the chance to see their favourite movies on the big screen in an alfresco environment. However, if the weather’s not too kind, there are also immersive, undercover experiences such as Backyard Cinema. Here’s a guide to the capital’s alfresco and pop-up cinema offerings this summer.
For a guide on where to watch the World Cup or Wimbledon on the big screen, click here.
- 21 March until summer TBA : Backyard Cinema – Mission To Mars
Watch your favourite sci-fi film in a ‘spaceship’ for an immersive cinematic experience. Tickets: Adults from £17.50, Children (under 12) from £9.50. Date night package for two: £75 (includes snacks, bottle of Prosecco and blankets). Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Borough. For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website. Read Metro Girl’s review to find out more.
- 3 May – September : Rooftop Film Club
Pop-up cinema returns to rooftops across the capital, screening new and classic films. Venues include Bussey Building (Peckham), Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch) and Roof East (Stratford). Tickets start from £14/95/£15.96 (includes seating and wireless headphones). For more information and tickets, visit Rooftop Film Club website.
- 22 May – 6 October : Luna Cinema
Luna Cinema will be popping up at various venues across the capital this summer. Locations include Victoria Embankment Gardens, Brockwell Lido, Osterley Park and House, Danson House (Bexleyheath), Southwark Park, Morden Hall Park, One New Change, Hatfield House, Wimbledon Park, Tooting Common, Crystal Palace Park, Horniman Museum, Greenwich Park, Kenwood House, Wandsworth Park, Opera Holland Park, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, Victoria Tower Gardens, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Fulham Palace, Dulwich Park, Chiswick House & Gardens, Battersea Park and Alexandra Palace. Ticket prices vary depending on venue and package. For tickets, visit the Luna Cinema website.
- 2 June – 28 August : London Bridge City Summer Festival Screenings
Free film screenings most Tuesdays throughout the summer. Get to the steps early to grab a spot. Movies include The Greatest Showman, La La Land, Grease, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Beauty And The Beast, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, The BFG and Into The Woods. 7pm. Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, Borough, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For listings, visit the London Bridge City website. Read the rest of this entry
It’s May – whoopee! It means two Bank Holidays, a royal wedding (although not in London), longer days, warmer weather and we’re in touching distance of summer. With spring in full swing, more events and festivals are taking place alfresco. Film fans will find plenty of movie offerings, while there’s many art exhibitions on for those seeking some culture. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best of London’s events on in May.
For a guide to London’s outdoor and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 – 7 May : Sci-Fi London Film Festival
The 18th annual celebration of the sci-fi genre, featuring premieres, talks and screenings. At BFI Southbank, Stratford Picturehouse, Rich Mix, The Trampery, JuJu’s Bar & Stage, EXP, Science Museum IMAX, and the Moth Club. For more information, visit the Sci-London Film Festival website.
- 1 May – 1 June : Herne Hill Free Film Festival
Month-long free celebration of film, featuring screenings, workshops, competitions, short films, live music around Herne Hill. Movies include Get Out, Paddington 2, Coco, Loving Vincent, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and more. At venues around SE24, including Prince Regent pub, Effraspace, Lido Café, Half Moon pub, The Florence and more. For more information, visit the Free Film Festivals site.
- 3 May – 31 August : Neverland London
Head to the river for Fulham’s beach club. Includes Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club pop up restaurant, two bars, live DJs, bottomless brunches, games and activities, including yoga and cocktail masterclasses. Open Wed-Fri 6pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-8pm. Entry from £5. Neverland London, 364 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For more information, visit the Neverland London website.
- 3 May – mid September : Skylight
Rooftop bar Skylight London returns to Wapping with city views, cocktails, street food, lawn games, World Cup and Wimbledon screenings and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm. Free entry. Croquet: Indoor £25, Outdoor £35 (45 min game), Petanque: £15 (2-4 players). Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Skylight London website. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.
- 3 May – September : Rooftop Film Club
Pop-up cinema returns to rooftops across the capital, screening new and classic films. Venues include Bussey Building (Peckham), Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch) and Roof East (Stratford). Tickets start from £14/95/£15.96 (includes seating and wireless headphones). For more information and tickets, visit Rooftop Film Club website.
- 4 – 6 May : Be: Fit London
The UK’s health and fitness festival for women is back for its fifth year, featuring classes, talks, cooking demos, workshops and shopping village. Tickets start from £18. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Be: Fit London website.
- 4 – 7 May : Alchemy Festival
A festival of music, dance, film, literature, theatre and performance from India, the UK and South Asia, featuring Aakash Odedra, Luke Sital-Singh, The Ska Vengers, Talvin Singh, Tez Ilyas and much more. Prices vary, with some activities free. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 4 – 20 May : Wandsworth Arts Fringe
Two week fringe festival in the borough of Wandsworth featuring over 180 events, including theatre, dance, art, music, comedy, poetry, workshops, talks, markets and more. Highlights include Pump House Gallery Pavilion, National Opera Studio Magic Wandsworth, Wes Barker, Swing Patrol and much more. For more information, visit the Wandsworth Arts Fringe website.
- 5 May : The Tweed Run
The 10th annual bicycle ride sees participants dressing up in vintage tweed and cycling past London’s landmarks. Starting in a secret location yet to be revealed and going for 10 miles, before ending for the Closing Ceremony (4-9pm) in Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, EC1. Rider tickets are sold out, but spectators can watch for free. Nearest station: Angel or Farringdon. For more information, visit The Tweed Run website.
- 5 May : Cycle Revolution
Cycling festival returns to Clerkenwell to coincide with the Tweed Run. Featuring demos, street food, vinyl DJs, workshops, stalls and cocktails from Bourne & Hollingsworth. 12pm-8pm. Free entry. Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU. Nearest station: Farringdon or Angel. For more information, visit the Cycle Revolution website.
- 5 May : Day Of Dance
The Westminster Morris Men and Morris Dance teams from across the country will gather in Trafalgar Square for a day of dancing. 2pm-5pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 5 May : Cinco de Mayo with Cahoots and Cointreau
Underground drinking den Cahoots is teaming up with Cointreau to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Special drinks have been created for the evening, such as You’ll Never Smile Again, 1948 In The Big Smoke, and Seventy Years Of Cheers. From 5pm. Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PG. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information or to book a table, visit the Cahoots website. Read Metro Girl’s review of Cahoots.
- 5 – 7 May : Canalway Cavalcade
A unique waterways and community festival at Little Venice. Features stalls, bands, kids’ activities, Morris dancers, a Real Ale bar, food and pageant of boats. Open Sat-Sun 10am-6pm, Mon 10am-5pm. Procession of illuminated boats @ 9pm on Sun. Free. Little Venice, Maida Vale, W2. Nearest station: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the Inland Waterways Association. For Metro Girl’s blog post on a previous year’s Cavalcade, click here.
- 5 – 7 May : Morden Hall Park Country Show
Country show in the grounds of Morden Hall, featuring Savage Bike Skills Display Team, birds of prey flying displays, Grant Bazin the Horse Whisperer, terrier racing, children’s entertainer, Circus Skills Workshop, the goat show including bottle feeding lambs and kids, children’s petting pens, historical re-enactment and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets on the gate (or cheaper online): Adults £7.50, Children age 5-18 £5, Under 5s free. Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (tram). For more information, visit the Oakleigh Fairs website. For Metro Girl’s post on Morden Hall Park, click here.
- 5 – 13 May : Grand Designs Live
Based on the Channel 4 TV series, the show features ideas and inspiration for your own grand design, including workshops, consultations, lectures and celebrity guests. Tickets: Weekday £12, Weekend £15. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Grand Designs Live website. Read the rest of this entry
Sci-fi is one of the most popular film genres today, with the huge success of the Star Wars franchise and Avatar as prime examples. While many people buy downloads or DVDs of their favourite films, nothing compares to seeing those sweeping space vistas on the big screen.
This spring, Backyard Cinema have created an immersive cinematic experience to watch your favourite sci-fi movie. Known for their themed screenings of both new and classic movies, their latest offering, Mission To Mars is their most ambitious yet. Following on from previous themes such as their most recent Snow Kingdom, as well as Miami Beach and The Lost World, this experience takes film fans literally out of this world.
Backyard Cinema is located in the corner of foodie haven Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. After a quick dinner of spaghetti al vongole, we headed to BC’s box office to grab our tickets before preparing for Phase One of our intergalactic experience. The entrance has been suitably decked out as a mission control or a space centre, which reminded me of film sets from many classic space movies. Your journey starts with being security scanned, before proceeding through a metallic corridor to board the shuttle to the spacecraft launch pad. The shuttle is similar to ones you ride at the airport, with vibrating special effects creating the feeling of moving fast and a video featuring a space stewardess advising you on what to expect. The whole entrance process really builds up the spacey atmosphere and adds a sense of excitement to what would usually be a fairly normal entertainment experience.
Finally, you arrive at the ‘spacecraft’ itself, full of bean bag seating, the flight deck screen and the space station bar. We headed to the latter to purchase some of the brilliantly branded drinks and snacks, such as the ‘Martian Mai-Tai’ and space invader sweets. Not only did the cocktails fit the theme perfectly, the pouch serving was so handy and practical for a dark cinema as I have been known to spill a few drinks in the past.
After settling down into our beanbags, we had some pre-flight entertainment as an astronaut actor hauled an audience member to the flight deck to help prepare for launch. The space safety demonstration, followed by ‘take-off’, made sure anyone who wasn’t already in the sci-fi mood by now, certainly soon would be. While the adults surrounding me were certainly enjoying the introductions, I think children will particularly love the drama of it all. Finally, it was time for the movie, with the one in question being 1996 classic Independence Day. I’ve seen the film a few times over the years, more recently on TV, and it’s so much better on the big screen. The horror of watching international landmarks like the Empire State Building being blown to smithereens by aliens is fully realised in wide-screen. The US President’s patriotic ‘our Independence Day’ speech and the British Army’s ridiculous ‘oh blimey, tally ho’ accents had us all in stitches, two comedy moments I don’t think the director had in mind.
Backyard Cinema has certainly delivered with their most ambitious theme yet. Children and adults alike will enjoy this immersive build-up to watching a sci-fi film. There’s plenty of classics and new releases coming up in the next few months, with matinees available during the Easter holidays and weekends so I certainly recommend booking soon, as they’re likely to sell out.
- Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars is on from now until the summer 2018 (exact date TBD). Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Borough. Tickets: Adults from £17.50, Children (under 12) from £9.50. Date night package for two: £75 (includes snacks, bottle of Prosecco and blankets). For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to London’s roaming and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
This post is taking part in #CulturedKids, sharing cultural blog posts aimed at children. Thanks to Diary Of A Londoness for getting me involved.
Coming to the capital this spring is a new theme from Backyard Cinema. The roaming film club have created a host of immersive cinematic experiences in recent years, including ‘Miami Beach’, ‘The Lost World’ and most recently, ‘Snow Kingdom’. However, the next exciting theme will take film fans to another galaxy.
From 21 March 2018, sci-fi buffs are invited to travel into space. Ticket holders will start their journey by preparing for take-off in the intergalactic security area, before boarding a spacecraft to watch the film. Over the next few months, Backyard will screen a host of classic and newer sci-fi films, such as Aliens, E.T., Blade Runner, The Martian and Star Wars, among many others. Movie fans will be able to sip bespoke out-of-this-world cocktails or [space ;-)] craft beer as they snuggle into a comfortable beanbag to watch the film.
On its latest theme, Backyard Cinema’s founder, Dominic Davies said: ‘Mission to Mars has got to be our most exciting theme to date. We have really worked on making this an immersive and trilling experience for our customers and have loads of treats in store for them. Sci-Fi and space travel is such an amazing genre of movies and there has been so much inspiration to draw from. We really hope to make London’s galactic dreams come true.’
Check out Metro Girl’s review of Mission To Mars.
- Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars is on from 21 March 2018 until the summer. Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Borough. Tickets: Adults from £17.50, Children (under 12) from £9.50. Date night package for two: £75 (includes snacks, bottle of Prosecco and blankets). For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
To find out what else is on in London in April, click here.
Coming to Carnaby this month is a new exhibition to celebrate the launch of Sir Michael Caine’s film My Generation. The London legend narrates and stars in a documentary telling his journey through the Swinging Sixties and the people he met along the way.
To mark the release of the film, an exclusive exhibition will be showcasing photography, prints and previously unseen archive footage from the decade. The exhibition has been curated by Zelda Cheatle, who has collaborated with some of the era’s biggest photographers, such as Terry O’Neill, Brian Duffy and Barry Lategan. Many icons from the film are featured, including Twiggy, Roger Daltrey and The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Vidal Sassoon, Jean Shrimpton, Lulu, Paul McCartney and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bailey, Sandie Shaw and Mary Quant. Some of the pieces on show will be Lewis Morley’s infamous portrait of Christine Keeler and the first professional shot of Twiggy.
During the exhibition, there will be two Q&A sessions, hosted by Edith Bowman. My Generation’s director David Batty will be in conversation on Monday 12 March (6pm-7pm), while photographer Terry O’Neill will be recalling his amazing career on Monday 9 March (12.30pm-1.30pm). Tickets are free and available via a ballot on the Carnaby London website.
Meanwhile, a special screening of My Generation will be broadcast live via satellite from the BFI Southbank to UK and Irish cinemas on Wednesday 14 March. Celebrating Sir Michael’s 85th birthday, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with the birthday boy himself. Limited tickets are available via the MyGenerationMovie.co.uk website.
- My Generation Exhibition runs from 8-21 March 2018 at 3 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9FB. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.
Spring is nearly here… allegedly! The temperatures will soon start creeping up, and the days are brighter and longer. Those who love to hibernate over the winter are finally waking up and ready to explore. This month you can expect to see a lot of art and beer events on around the capital. Not forgetting, Easter Weekend kicks off at the end of the month on Friday 30 March so there is yet more school holidays for parents to deal with.
For a guide to what’s on in London over Easter, click here.
- 1 – 4 March : The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show
Haberdashery festival featuring workshops, knitworking, dressmaking studio, textile galleries, Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch and the Creative Living Theatre. Open 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat: 10am-5.30pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £13.50, Children £6. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Knitting & Stitching Show website.
- 1 – 4 March : Number 90’s 4th Birthday
Popular canalside destination are hosting a mini festival of sorts over four days to celebrate their fourth birthday. Including DJs, live painting sessions, vintage clothes stalls, film screenings, dance show, magician, live music, food and drink. DJs and artists include Norman Jay MBE, Haggis Horns, Toytown Hustle, Dila V & The Oddbeats and the Pop-Up Choir. Open Thu and Sun 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am. Free entry. Number 90 Bar and Kitchen, 90 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LN. Nearest station: Hackney Wick. For more information, visit Number 90’s website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival.
- 1 – 8 March : International Women’s Day @ Seven Dials
A week of events, offers and promotions celebrating women at the stores and businesses of Seven Dials. Highlights include a panel discussion hosted by Gemma Cairney on IWD on 8 March. At venues and stores around Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the event.
- 1 – 20 March : Richmond Upon Thames Music and Drama Festival
Three weeks of music, dance and drama performances by local artists, arts organisations and schools. The Music and Drama Festival Showcase will take place at The Exchange in Twickenham on 4 March at 3pm (Tickets: £5-£10). The rest of the festival takes place in various venues across the borough. For more information, visit the Richmond.gov.uk website.
- 1 – 21 March : Pauline Bewick Art Exhibition
One of Ireland’s most acclaimed artists Pauline Bewick displays some of her huge collection as part of the St Patrick’s Festival. Open 9am-5pm. Free entry. City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, Borough, SE1 2AA. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 1 March – 6 May : Somnai
Experience a live, multi-sensory experience with immersive technologies. Somnai is said to be the biggest theatrical event since Punch Drunk and offers a ‘lucid dreaming’ experience. Over 18s only. 90 minutes long. Times vary. Tickets: £50. 2 Pear Tree Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 3SB. Nearest stations: Old Street, Barbican or Farringdon. For booking and more information, visit the Somnai website.
- 2 – 3 March : Movie Nights at the Museum
Watch a film under Hope the whale in the Hintze Hall. Movies include Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A Force Awakens. Screenings at 7.15pm and 10.15pm. Tickets: £28. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For booking, visit the NHM website.
- 3 March : Magic of India Holi Festival
Family friendly festival to celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi. Featuring dry colour powder play, DJs, drummers, giveaways, hot Indian food and more. 11am-3pm. Tickets: £12. Exact location to be revealed nearer the time. Nearest station: Swiss Cottage. For tickets, visit the Funzing website.
- 3 March : RA Lates – Night at the Palace
Late night party at the Royal Academy of Arts inspired by their upcoming Charles I exhibition. The RA will be transformed into the King’s Whitehall Palace for dancing, feasts, art, music, immersive experiences and creative activities. Dress code: Courtly decadence. 7pm-11.45pm. Tickets: £25-£40. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website.
- Now until 4 March : Vault Festival
Six week arts festival in the tunnels beneath Waterloo across three venues. Entertainment includes live music, theatre, film, dance, comedy and late-night parties. Open Wed-Sun. Ticket prices vary. The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo and Lambeth North. For booking, visit the Vault Festival website. To find out about this year’s highlights, click here, or for a review of Neverland, an immersive theatre show, click here.
- Now until 4 March : Snow Kingdom – Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema have created a wintry immersive cinematic experience in the foodie surrounds of Mercato Metropolitano. Travel through an ice cave and across a frozen lake to watch new and classic films in the atmospheric Snow Kingdom. Tickets from £17. Backyard Cinema, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.
- Now until 4 March : Ovo by Cirque du Soleil
The newest touring production from the Cirque, a spectacular exploration of the ecosystem, with insects working, playing, fighting and looking for love. Tickets range from £25-£231. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: South Kensington, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the Cirque Du Soleil website. Read the rest of this entry
Backyard Cinema Snow Kingdom review: Travel through an ice cave to a fantastical festive film screening
Now November is here and the clocks have gone back, it’s all getting a bit festive. The nights are drawing in and it’s getting a bit cold and gloomy outside, so no wonder we have a need to brighten up our evenings. The appeal of cosying up in front of your favourite movie seems that bit more appealing. This winter, roaming cinema club Backyard Cinema’s new Snow Kingdom theme is bringing a bit of fairy tale magic to your favourite festive film.
To those uninitiated, Backyard Cinema create immersive cinematic experiences in various unique venues. I’ve previously watched their Romeo + Juliet screening accompanied by a live choir in a church and their ‘Lost World’ and ‘Miami Beach’ themes in their current home at Mercato Metropolitano. The premise of their latest theme is a ‘hidden ice kingdom buried in London’.
Backyard Cinema is located in the street food haven of Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. There’s a host of Italian and other international food and drink stalls, so you could easily make a night of it and come for dinner before watching a movie. The entrance to Backyard Cinema is certainly intriguing with a small tunnel beckoning you in. An attendant outside offers you a lamp to guide you on your journey through to the Snow Kingdom, which certainly adds a touch of magic to proceedings and provides good Instagram fodder. The entrance and the subsequent ice cave are fabulous, you’ve really got to applaud BC for their great set design. We carefully edged our way over the moving drawbridge through the ice cave, before arriving at the warm enclaves of the screening room.
Before heading to our seats, we popped to the bar serving a choice of winter warmers, craft beer, bubbly, snacks and other refreshments. As it was still quite warm in the capital on the night of my visit, I wasn’t quite ready for a hot toddy so opted for my usual g&t with a packet of sweets and gourmet popcorn to share. The screening room itself was decked out like a ballroom in a grand castle, with chandeliers, tapestries and a throne. On the night in question, we were there to seeing the new live action Beauty And The Beast. We grabbed a pair of bean bags loungers near the front and settled down to watch Emma Watson and co. The surroundings of the Snow Kingdom could easily be the film’s setting of the Beast’s castle so they complemented each other well.
Through a combination of the setting and the film itself, we were certainly transported to a magical kingdom for the evening, so I would definitely recommend to everyone for a festive and fun night out. Children in particular will love the journey through the ice cave, while Instagrammers have a lot of posing potential with the throne and the drawbridge. Over the season, BC will be screening a selection of festive and family classic to new releases, such as the Princess Bride, E.T., Labyrinth, Harry Potter, Baby Driver, La La Land, so there’s something for everyone. A lot of screenings running up until Christmas are sold out already so I’d advise booking asap if you’re interested.
- Backyard Cinema: Snow Kingdom is on from now until early 2018. Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. Tickets from £17. For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For the latest what‘s on guide, click here.
Yes, autumn is here. The clocks have gone back, the temperatures are dropping and it feels like we’re on the countdown to the festive season. However, there’s plenty of non-Christmas events on around town to keep you living in the moment. With cosying up with a good book particularly inviting prospect at the moment, there are several literary festivals taking place around the capital. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best festivals and special events in the capital this November.
For a guide to London’s open-air ice rinks, click here.
For a guide to the capital’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
- Now until 1 November : London Literature Festival
The London Literature Festival returns to the Southbank, with renowned writers, futurologists and transhumanists discussing the future in these uncertain times. Among the highlights include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Hanks, Philip Pullman, Annie Leibovitz and a live reading of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs. Many events are free, but tickets go up to £70. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 1 November – 23 December : The Ethicurean at The Gardening Society
Festive pop-up on the roof of John Lewis in Oxford Street, featuring food from the award-winning Ethicurean restaurant, an immersive theatrical dining experience ‘The Poisoned Garden’, bookable lodges and Christmas cocktails. Open Sun-Wed 12pm-9pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-11pm. Free entry, booking advised for the restaurant or lodges. John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX. Nearest station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 2 November : Cantina Laredo’s Dia De Los Muertos
London’s new tequila and guacamole bar Cantina Laredo host a Day Of The Dead celebration with a one-off ofrenda four-course menu, cocktails, face-painting, DJs and more. 5pm-late. Tickets: £55pp. Cantina Laredo, 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB. Nearest station: Leicester Square. For booking, visit BookATable.
- 2 – 4 November : Wahaca’s Day Of The Dead @ The Vaults
Three day festival to celebrate Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos featuring Mexican food, drink, live music, DJs and culture in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station. Fancy dress encouraged. 7pm-2am (family day from 1pm on 4 Nov). Tickets: £15-£25. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Wahaca website.
- 3 – 20 November : World Press Photo Exhibition
The shortlisted entries for the annual World Press Photo completion go on display in the Royal Festival Hall. Open 10am-11pm. Free. Royal Festival Hall, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX. Nearest station: Embankment or Waterloo. For more information, visit the World Press Photo website.
- 3 – 29 November : Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival
A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough. Featuring workshops, talks and Q&As from authors, including David Starkey, John Grindrod, Andy Friend, Henry Hemming, Peter Snow, Ann MacMillan, Hilary Spurling and more. Venues include The Bingham, Marble Hill House, Old Town Hall, Strawberry Hill House, Teddington Library and more. For booking, visit the Richmond Literature Festival website.
- Now until 4 November : London Horror Festival
Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, Zombie weekends, midnight performances and a short horror play competition. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- Now until 4 November : Kilburn Literary Festival
The North West London suburb of Kilburn hosts their third literary festival, featuring talks, workshops, readings and competitions. Events range from free to £10. At various venues across NW6 including the North London Tavern, Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn Library and the Sheriff Centre. For more information, visit the Kilburn Literary Festival website.
- 4 November : Regent Street Motor Show
Three hundred cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day. Featuring entertainment and interactive displays. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic. 10.30am-4pm. Free. Regent Street, W1B 5TD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street Motor Show website.
- 4 November : Winter Wine Festival
One day wine festival featuring a choice of 600 wines to taste. As well as tastings, there is also a free wine walk, masterclasses and discounts on wine shopping. 12pm-6pm. Tickets: £20-£25. The Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5DA. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Wine Gang website.
- 4 November : Spice World Screening with Live Orchestra
Spice Girls fans will love this immersive screening of their 1997 movie, accompanied by a live orchestra, with Spice Girls masks and photobooth on site. 7pm-10pm (guests can stay for the club night afterwards until 3am). Tickets from £10. Clapham Grand, 21-25 St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction, SW11 1TT. Nearest station: Clapham Junction. For booking, visit the Clapham Grand website.
- Now until 5 November : Spirit Of Christmas Fair
For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets: £20 (advance), £24 (on the door). Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
- Now until 5 November : Winter Art & Antique Fair
Arts and antiques event, featuring over 120 dealers showcasing their unusual objects and art and talks. Opening times vary. Tickets: £15-£20 (cheaper in advance). Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympian Antiques website.
- 5 November : London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 7.04-8/8.45am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route goes from Hyde Park Corner, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website.
The temperatures may be cooling as September sets in, but, if like me, you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, then it’s worth paying a visit to Backyard Cinema’s Miami Beach. To those unaware, Backyard Cinema create immersive cinematic experiences in a variety of unique venues. I’ve previously visited their outdoor screenings at Camden Market, Romeo + Juliet accompanied by a live choir in a Marylebone church and last autumn’s ‘Lost World’ experience.
BC’s Miami Beach promised to offer a slice of Florida sunshine in south London. The cinema is located in a corner of Mercato Metropolitano – an Italian-style foodie market in Elephant and Castle. Despite the rainy weather the night of our visit, the buzzing atmosphere, the signs for gelato and Aperol Spritz certainly had a summery vibe. Fortunately, the cinema and a lot of the Mercato are under cover. Having visited Miami two years ago, the grand entrance to the cinema certainly evoked the vibe and architecture of South Beach with its baby pink, Art Deco design, palm trees and flamingos.
After entering through the ‘hotel door’, we were in the surf club, where we exchanged our shoes for brand new flip-flops (which you can keep afterwards). Although admittedly a rather unusual request from a cinema, the reason for this is to keep the sand clean. Finally, we arrived in the screening room, full of golden sand, a booming Eighties tracklist, a setting sun and a beach bar. The room is full of comfortable bean bags and blankets should you get cold (we didn’t… the temperature was perfect).
We headed to the beach bar to get fuel for the movie. The bar sells a selection of tropical cocktails, craft beers, wine and snacks. Many of the products on offer are from British independent producers which is always good to see. To get us suitably in the mood, we ordered some Pina Colada cocktails, which came served in palm tree glasses with a resealable straw, the latter I found very handy in protecting against a potential spilled drink situation which has happened to me more times than I can count.
Finally, we settled into our beanbags and got comfortable, watching the sun set before the main feature began. The film of our choice was the Oscar winner Moonlight, which tells the story of a gay African-American in three periods of his life. The movie is set in the Miami suburb of Liberty City so made a nice tie-in with the setting of the screening. It was quite surreal watching a movie on a bean bag while sinking my feet into the sand, but was a comfortable and relaxing experience.
Overall, it was a fun and quirky way to watch your favourite movie or a newer release. With only a few weeks less before the concept gives way to the upcoming Snow Kingdom theme (from 25 October), there isn’t much time left to visit so I recommend you book soon. With London’s September weather disappointingly colder than usual, it’s a great way to recapture that warm summery feeling… for a few hours at least.
- Backyard Cinema: Miami Beach is on until 6 October 2017. At Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. Tickets from £16.50. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.
Summer is here at last so London is in full celebration mode as it embraces the long days and the hot-ish weather. The festival calendar is in full swing with a host of alfresco fun on around town. The first few days of June are half-term holidays, so expect to see lots of family-friendly events on around town.
For London’s pop-up and open-air cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 – 4 June : Sundance Film Festival – London
The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, comes to London to showcase the best of independent movies, featuring UK and International feature film premieres, 15 shorts and special events. Individual tickets from £16 (£12 Picturehouse members) or festival passes for £150. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.
- 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture
A month long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘memory’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debates and conferences. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.
- 1 – 30 June : London Food Month
The Evening Standard presents the UK’s biggest food festival, featuring hundreds of events across the capital. Among the highlight includes a pop-up Night Market (7 – 18 June) in Perks Field in Kensington Gardens featuring food and drink stalls and live entertainment. For more information, visit the London Food Month website.
- 2 – 3 June : Mindful Living
Learn about the art of mindfulness and meditation and how it can help you in your life. Featuring keynote speakers Ruby Wax, Sharon Salzberg, Ed Halliwell, Katie Warriner and Etienne Scott MBE. Tickets: £32-£72. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the show website.
- 2 – 4 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb. Speakers include Tom Overton, Michael Rosen, Janet Ellis, Bee Wilson, Fernando Sdrigotti, Zoe Adjonyoh, Lopè Ariyo, Alex Bellos, AL Kennedy, Kate Pankhurst, Michael Goldfarb, and many more. Tickets range from free to £10. Venues include Clissold Park, Abney Public Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Abney Park Cemetery and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
- 2 – 10 June : Brockley Street Art Festival
One week long celebration of street art, featuring local, national and international talent. Featuring activities for adults and children alike, including colouring competition, mural painting, live DJs and talks. Various venues around Brockley, SE4. Nearest station: Honor Oak Park, Crofton Park or Brockley. For more information, visit the Brockley Street Art Festival website.
- 2 – 10 June : Brockley Max
Nine-day community arts festival featuring live music, dance, craft markets, poetry, art installations, film screenings, workshops, talks, interactive games and more. At venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Brockley Max website.
- 2 – 14 July : Zoo Nights
London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as getting to see the animals without the presence of screaming children, you’ll also get to enjoy the zoo lit up in neon, take part in Zooniversity Challenge or follow a forensics trail. There will also be entertainment and a world food market. 6-10pm. Tickets: £17.50. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website.
- 2 June – 28 July : Pavilion Lates @ Dulwich Picture Gallery
A series of late night Friday events at the 200-year-old gallery and its temporary summer pavilion. 6pm-10pm every Friday except 7 July. Free entry, but you must reserve a place in advance. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. To find out more, visit the DPG website. For Metro Girl’s review of a Pavilion Late event, click here.
- 2 June – 2 July : East End Film Festival
For its 16th year, the East End Film Festival has been spread out to five weekends. Featuring screenings, Q&As, a Twin Peaks-themed ball and more. At venues across East London, including a Masonic temple. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website.
- 3 June : Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival
Food and drink festival in Carnaby, with the area’s restaurants and bars serving signature and on-trend dishes and cocktails. Featuring offerings from Island Poké, Le Bab, Dishoom, Jinjuu, Cahoots, Ugly Dumpling and Darjeeling Express. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.
- 3 June : Blitz Party
Step back in time to the 1940s for a themed night of patriotic revelry, featuring swing dancing, big band music, cocktails, performers, dance classes and vintage makeovers. Dress code: 1940s glam, home front utility clothing and allied uniform. 8pm until late. Tickets from £30. In a secret East London bunker, with location revealed near the time. For more information, visit The Blitz Party website.