Category Archives: families

Soundtrack takes over Seven Dials for a free festival of music, food and fun

© Seven Dials

Soundtrack is a new festival for Seven Dials
© Seven Dials

Coming to the West End this month is a brand new festival from the team behind Citadel. Seven Dials will be taken over by Soundtrack, a free one-day music festival. Revellers young and old will find plenty to entertain, including music, comedy, theatre and debates. All seven of the interconnecting streets will be closed to vehicle traffic for the day with a pop-up lawn surrounding the iconic dial. The free event is taking place to coincide with the Mayor of London’s ‘Sounds Like London’ campaign, which aims to celebrate the capital’s rich music heritage and talent.

Throughout the day, the open-air main stage in the centre of Seven Dials will host a variety of music acts, including London singer-songwriter Rukhsana Merrise, The Voice finalists Into The Ark, indie group Pumarosa and vintage-inspired rocker Ten Tonnes. Broadcaster and author Gemma Cairney will be hosting the action from 12pm-6pm. Meanwhile, funky choir Some Voices will be putting on flash mob performances around the area, while there will also be a free silent disco.

You can get into the festival spirit with The Gypsy Shrine on Monmouth Street, who will be offering free, eco-friendly glitter face painting all day. People can try their luck in an attempt to win festival tickets and more at the music-themed tombola, which raises money for charity partner Covent Garden Dragon Hall Trust. When you’re feeling hungry, you can head to the many street food and alfresco dining options, including independent café BOKI, pop-up pizza and prosecco bar from the Escapologist and Portuguese eaterie Canela. Many of the area’s establishments and shops, such as Rosa’s Thai, Rossopomodoero, Duke & Dexter and Club Monaco will be offering 20% off all day. There will also be a pop-up superfood smoothie bar from Neals Yard Remedies and a pop-up cocktail bar from Monmouth Kitchen.

While the festival is free to attend, its recommended you register for your festival map and ticket at Seven Dials’ website. As a ticket holder, you can pick up a free Mint Julep cocktail from the Hawksmoor Seven Dials x Evan Williams pop up bar on Earlham Street.

  • Soundtrack takes place on 23 June 2018 from 12pm-6pm. At Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register, visit the Seven Dials website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.

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Game on! Where to watch the World Cup and Wimbledon in London this summer

Wimbledon at St Katharine's Docks

Watch the action from Wimbledon on a floating pontoon in St Katharine’s Docks

It’s that time of year again. The football World Cup takes place from 14 June until 15 July, while Wimbledon is on from 2 – 15 July. They’re not the only sports on this summer, with the Tour de France, British Grand Prix and Royal Ascot also taking place. Around the capital, venues and parks are transforming into spectator villages with big screens broadcasting all the action live. Here’s a guide to some of London’s alfresco sports screenings this summer.

  • 14 June – 15 July : World Cup @ Skylight London

Watch the World Cup on the big screen against the backdrop of the London skyline. Skylight features three bars, street food, law games and DJs. Undercover areas too in case of bad weather. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm. Free entry, but table bookings recommended during the games. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Skylight London website. Read Metro Girl’s review of Skylight.

  • 14 June – 15 July : World Cup @ Merchant Square

Watch the action beamed live from Russia by the waterside on comfortable seating. There will be food and drink available from the on-site bar, street food stalls and nearby restaurants. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 18 June – 22 July : Summer Screens @ Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf will be hosting open-air screenings of many sporting events over the summer, including Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, Royal Ascot, Tour de France, Wimbledon and the British F1 Grand Prix. Times vary. Free. Cabot Square and Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 14 June – 14 July : World Cup @ Flat Iron Square

Head to Southwark’s street food hub to watch the matches on a 100in big screen in the garden. Free entry. Flat Iron Square, 68 Union Street, Bankside, SE1 1TD. Nearest station: Borough, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Flat Iron Square website.

Skylight London 2018 © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Watch the World Cup while enjoying skyline views at Skylight

  • 19 – 23 June : Royal Ascot @ Bluebird

Watch the horse-racing on the big screen in the courtyard of the Bluebird. The café will also be serving cream teas and champagne. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.
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Guide to London’s pop-up and outdoor cinemas this summer 2018

Rooftop Cinema Stratford © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Enjoy great views of the capital with Rooftop Cinema’s sky-high venues

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 AugustLondon 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 websiteRead the rest of this entry

Where to watch Meghan and Harry’s Royal Wedding in London

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in Windsor on 19 May

The countdown is on to Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018. The big day itself may be taking place of in Windsor, but plenty of Londoners will be taking to pubs and street parties to celebrate. With the special event taking part on a Saturday, that means many of us will be free to join in the revelry. It’ll be an early start with the ceremony itself kicking off at 12pm. Here’s a list of just some of the celebrations in the capital, with all taking place on 19 May unless otherwise stipulated. Fingers crossed for some good weather!

  • Royal Wedding Brunch Party @ Bluebird

King’s Road destination Bluebird will be hosting a brunch party in their sunny courtyard. Watch the wedding on the big screen surrounded by bunting, balloons and bubbly. Guests can enjoy a champagne toast to the happy couple before a BBQ-style brunch by Executive Chef Simon Gregory. A DJ will be on the decks until darkness, while mixologists have created a special wedding cocktail menu. Brunch: £25pp. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.

  • Royal Wedding 21st Century Tea Dance Party! @ Southbank Centre

The traditional tea dance is turned on its head in a special event hosted by Christopher Green and his alter ego Ida Barr. Expect a multimedia treat of live music, video, theatre, performance, storytelling, singing, dancing and the screening of the Royal Wedding. From 11am. Free. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • The Official Royal Wedding Party

Two set of festivities depending on if you’re a day or night owl in the stunning Grade II listed church. The day event will feature live streaming of the wedding, bouquet and corsage making, wedding cake decorating, Bloody Mary cocktail class, traditional British games, a hog roast and lots of champagne. There will be live big bands, first dance classes and a ‘Have I Got News For You’ style comedy panel. The evening event will feature dance classes, catch-the-bouquet, American food in honour of the bride, live tribute acts, a string quartet and wedding cake. Day event 11am-5pm, tickets £25. Night event 7pm-2am, tickets £30. One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 4AQ. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Regents Park. For tickets, visit the Official Royal Wedding Party website.

  • The Royal Wedding @ National Maritime Museum

Watch the happy couple tie the knot on the big screen in the lawn in front of the National Maritime Museum. Royal fancy dress encouraged. 10am-3pm. Free entry. National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest station: Maze Hill, Cutty Sark or Greenwich. For more information, visit the RMG website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Celebrate: There will be plenty of street parties to mark the Royal Wedding

  • Royal Brunch Party @ Aster

Celebrate Harry and Meghan tying the knot just a short distance from Buckingham Palace at Victoria dining destination Aster. Watch the ceremony on the big screen while feasting on a traditional brunch menu inspired by the couple and bottomless Prosecco. Also in the week running up to the royal wedding (14-19 May), Aster will be serving a special Royal Cocktail collection inspired by the pair, including The Jolly Ginger, the Botswana Sunrise, The Lost Bachelor and the Markle Sparkle. 12pm-4pm. Aster, 150 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1E 5LB. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Aster websiteRead the rest of this entry

Racing, food, music and more at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2018

© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Watch competing teams take to the water for the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

This summer, a celebration of Chinese culture and a good old-fashioned sporting competition is returning to the capital. The 23rd London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival comes to the Docklands on Sunday 3 June for a free day out for all ages.

The main focus is the dragon boat race itself, with 40 competing club, corporate and amateur teams taking part. Spectators can watch the spectacle as the paddlers fight to take home one of the six cups. The history of the dragon boat races dates back to ancient China on the banks of the Yangtze River, around 2,500 years ago. Today, the sport remains a popular water sport in its country of origin and around the world.

Meanwhile, on dry land, stalls will be selling a range of culinary offerings from China and South East Asia. There will be plenty of entertainment, including live music, martial arts displays, dance performances, Tai Chi and traditional Chinese lion dancing.

The festival is organised by the London Chinatown Lions Club, which raises money for its nominated charities. The event is supported by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, The Hong Kong Executives Club and The London Chinatown Chinese Community Centre.

  • The London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place on 3 June 2018 from 10am-6pm. Free entry. London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road, Docklands, E16 2QT. Nearest station: Royal Albert (DLR). For more information, visit the Dragon Boat Festival.

The London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place in Docklands in June
© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

For a guide to what’s on in London in June, 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.

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Feria de Londres 2018: The spirit of Andalusia comes to the South Bank

© Feria de Londres

Enjoy sherry tastings and summer cocktails with Tio Pepe at Feria de Londres this May Bank Holiday

Brits just can’t enough of Spanish culture, with an estimated 18million of us visiting the Mediterranean country last year. However, this May, you won’t have to wait until your holidays to sample the best of Spain’s entertainment and cuisine.

© Feria de Londres

Be entertained by traditional flamenco dancers
© Feria de Londres

The second May bank holiday will see Feria de Londres bringing the spirit of Andalusia to the capital. Bernie Spain Gardens on London’s picturesque South Bank will host a three-day long celebration of food, drink, music and dance. As you may know, Andalusia is one of the most popular regions of Spain, featuring resorts and cities such as Seville, Málaga, Marbella and Granada. Feria de Londres is inspired by southern Spain’s spring fairs, which date back to the Middle Ages.

During the festival, entertainers will dazzle in their striking, colourful traditional costumes as they sing, dance and play. Among the entertainment will be flamenco dancers, live bands and DJs. There will be the chance to show off your moves in Sevillana dance lessons to flamenco rhythm workshops. Meanwhile, families can get involved with child-friendly activities, such as face-painting, hair styling, arts and crafts.

Of course, no Spanish festival wouldn’t be complete without their fabulous cuisine. Visitors can tuck into delicious tapas, paella, Iberico ham and much more. Some of Spain’s top food experts and producers will be on hand, offering tastings and samples. When it comes to drink, the famous Tio Pepe will be hosting sherry masterclasses, as well as offering the traditional Andalusian cocktail, the Tio Pepe Rebujito. Guests can also enjoy a range of Spanish tipples, including Iberian beers and regional wines.

  • Feria de Londres takes place on 25-27 May 2018. At Bernie Spain Gardens, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars, Southwark, Waterloo East or Waterloo. Open Fri 25 4pm-9pm, Sat 26 12pm-9pm, Sun 27 12pm-8pm. Free entry. For more information, visit the Feria de Londres website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

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Food, fun and frolics at the Feast of St George at Borough Market

© Borough Market

Celebrate all things English at Borough Market’s St George’s Day festivities

The capital is a hub for world cultures, but how often do Londoners celebrate home-grown food and traditions? This month, why not head to London’s oldest food market to mark St George’s Day. Taking place a day earlier on Sunday 22 April 2018, Borough Market are hosting a celebration for the Feast of Saint George. Borough Market will be exploring the English and international heritage of St George through an afternoon of food, music, stories and theatre.

Foodies will be spoiled for choice with the market’s traders offering delicious St George’s day food to sample or take home. Choose from the best of English produce, from Colchester oysters and Tamworth pork to Melton Mowbray pies and Cheddar cheese. As St George is also the patron saint of other countries such as Georgia, Ethiopia, Greece, Turkey and Catalonia, expect to see traditional food delicacies from around the world. As St George is the patron saint of butchers and shepherds, chef Luke Mackay and Northfield Farm will be giving free butchery and cooking demonstrations to help you get the most from your meat.

Throughout the day, there will be plenty of family friendly entertainment. Children and adults can enjoy an interactive performance of St George and the Dragon by local theatre group The Lion’s Part. Of course, no St George’s Day celebrations would be complete without maypole dancing. Folk Dance Remixed will be performing a musical merger of traditional steps with hip-hop moves. Visitors will be invited to create ‘wraps ‘n ripples’ and ‘waves ‘n breaks’ around a bespoke 12ft maypole. The Castellers of London will be practising a Catalan tradition of constructing a human tower. Meanwhile, 4-9 year olds can learn about food provenance and the process of farming through games, interactive learning and activities with the National Farmers Union in the Discovery Barn.

As well as the St George’s Day festival, there will also be other foodie events for April’s St George’s Residency in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen. Leonardo Rivera Ruiz, group head chef of Brindisa Kitchens, will be hosting a Catalan cooking demonstration on 12 April. A week later, Alissa Tomoshkina, founder of KinoVino, will be exploring Georgian and Russian cuisine on 19 April.

  • The Feast of St George takes place on 22 April 2018 from 12pm-4pm. At Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
© Borough Market

There will be plenty of English and international cuisine available to sample or take home

For a guide to what else is on in London in April, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in April 2018

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Spring is here

Easter kicks off April with a long weekend and school holidays, meaning the capital’s attractions are pretty busy. As in recent years, the weather can still be unpredictable, so plenty of events are taking place indoors. Across the capital, there’s a host of foodie and booze festivals so there’s plenty of options besides chocolate. There’s also several cultural celebrations taking place, including St George’s Day and the Sikh New Year. Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best events in London in April.

For a guide to what’s on over Easter holidays, click here.

  • Now until 1 April : London International Ska Festival

Four day festival of ska music at venues across the capital, including the O2 Academy Islington and The Garage. Acts include The Clarendonians, Doreen Shaffer, Otis Gayle, Alpheus, The Spitfires, DJ Little Diane, Ranking Joe, Clive Chin, Oxman & Gladdy Wax Sound System and many more. Wristbands for the whole festival £140, individual gigs range in price. For more information and tickets, visit the London International Ska Festival website.

  • Now until 1 April : BFI Flare

The British Film Institute hosts the 11 day festival of LGBT film featuring Tali Shalom-Ezer’s My Days Of Mercy and Steve McLean’s European premiere of Postcards From London. Ticket prices vary. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XT. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the BFI website

  • Now until 1 April : Le Beat Bespoke

Indoor music festival returns celebrating 21st Century Modernist and Sixties inspired underground music culture. Featuring live bands, DJs, record fair, market, guest clubs, all-nighters and Go Go dancers. Tickets: Individual gig tickets vary from £7-£25, or three-day pass £59. 229 The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street, W1W 5PN. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Oxford Circus. For more information and tickets, visit Le Beat Bespoke website.

  • Now until 2 April : Ideal Home Show

A place of inspiration for homeowners including interiors, fittings and gardens. Includes plenty of opportunities to buy things both big and small for the house and food. Celebrity guests include Rosemary Shrager, Phil Spencer, Martin Lewis, Martin Roberts, Craig Phillips, David Domoney, Ryan Simpson and Liam Trottman and many more. Open daily 10am-6pm (Thurs lates until 9pm). Tickets: Weekday £14 or Weekend £16 (also includes free access to Eat & Drink Festival). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more tickets, visit the Ideal Home Show website.

  • Now until 2 April : Eat & Drink Festival

Next door to the Ideal Home Show is a new live experience, featuring modern cuisine, mixology and street food. Learn from the best at the Foodie Lab, Chef’s Table and Cook’s Academy. Tickets: Weekday £14, Weekend £16 (also includes free access to Ideal Home Show). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Eat & Drink Festival website.

  • 5 – 7 April : Cocktails In The City

Three-day extravaganza featuring some of London’s and Europe’s best cocktails bars coming together under one roof. A host of pop-up bars and food venues will be spread across four levels. Open 6pm-11pm. Ticket: £20 includes 1 cocktail. One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 4AQ. Nearest stations: Great Portland Street or Regents Park. For booking, visit the Cocktails In The City website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Cocktails In The City returns to One Marylebone

  • 5 – 15 April : London Games Festival

An event to promote gaming and interactive entertainment, including the Trafalgar Square Game Festival (7 April) EGX Rezzed at Tobacco Dock, the British Academy Games Awards, Now Play This at Somerset House, Games Finance Market and the Games Character Parade (14 April). For more information, visit the Games London website.

  • 5 April – 18 May : Sense Of Space

Multi-sensory art pop-up installation featuring four different rooms and a bar to help you switch off from busy London life. Rooms include The Doodle Room, The Motion Box, The Infinity Garden and The Zen Studio. Events include live doodle art, silent cinema, yoga, art talks and more. Free entry. Exchange Square, Broadgate, EC2M 3WA. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Broadgate website.

  • 6 April – 30 September : Underbelly Festival

Summer-long arts festival on the South Bank, featuring comedy, circus, cabaret and family shows at affordable prices in the inflatable upside down cow venue, international street food, open-air bar. Festival grounds open daily until 11pm. Ticket prices for show vary, but a majority are under £20, free entry to festival grounds. Jubilee Gardens (off Belvedere Road), South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Underbelly Festival website.

  • 7 – 8 April : Cask Beer 2018

Cask beer festival featuring some of the country’s top breweries. Featuring 60 casks from 30 breweries with all beer at £5 a pint. Tickets: £5 (include branded festival glass, welcome half pint and a souvenir brochure). Affinity Brewing Company, Railway Arch 7, Bermondsey, SE16 3LR. Nearest stations: Bermondsey or South Bermondsey. For tickets, visit BillettoRead the rest of this entry

Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars review: An intergalatic treat for sci-fi fans

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Prepare for blast off! Snuggle into your bean bag to watch your favourite sci-fi movie at Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars

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.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Will you pass security?

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.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Fancy a Cosmos-politan or a Stargarita?

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.

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Mrs and Mr Bateman: Explore fashion, design and more at this creative new pop-up concept

Mrs and Mr Bateman is a new pop-up concept coming to Soho

Soho is known for being the home to London’s creative, fashionable and flamboyant. So the area is the perfect location for a new pop-up concept. Setting up camp for four days this April will be Mrs And Mr Bateman, an art, fashion and interiors installation. Taking over the Victorian-fronted premises of 15 Bateman Street, The Batemans will transform the space into their ‘home’ for inspiration, discussions and shopping.

Mrs and Mr Bateman (note the Mrs appears first!) is a new project from three talented women – artist Selena Beaudry, vintage fashion dealer Clemmie Myers, and interior designer Natalie Tredgett. They have created the home of the fictitious Mrs and Mr Bateman, which is open to the public.

Throughout the four-day long house-warming, there will be plenty of creative opportunities for learning and inspiration. Events such as a panel discussion on creatives and their different processes, how social media and technology can be a good or bad thing for creativity, and how other art informs their work. There will also be an immersive creative writing evening (27 April, 6.30pm-8.30pm). Parents will be able to watch their children learn new skills (28 April, 11am-2pm), including hat-making classes with milliner Jess Collett, while Clemmie will be creating a fancy dress box for fantastical fun.

Art fans will have plenty to gaze upon, with Selena creating a wall installation specially for the show. Meanwhile, artists and makers from Europe and the US will be featured, including Barrie Benson, Jess Collett, Frederike von Cranach, Phil Goss, Iva Gueorguieva, Daniel Hernandez, Marie Jacotey, John-Paul Pietrus, James Shaw, Margit Wittig, Ian Vail and Bari Ziperstein.

Fashionistas will be able to check out Clemmie’s curation of vintage clothing throughout the home. She has also customised several pieces for the installation, as well as setting up a boudoir for guests to try on the Bateman wardrobe. Throughout the home will be the striking decoration by Natalie, featuring vignettes that celebrate objects as art. She will demonstrate her signature use of colour, pattern play and an amalgamation of old and new to fit the vibe of the Batemans.

The installation will kick of with an opening party on 25 April 2018 (6.30pm-8.30pm), with a multi-sensory experience from DJ Henri.

  • Mrs and Mr Bateman is open from 25 – 28 April 2018. Open to the general public: 10am-6pm. Mrs and Mr Bateman, 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road. Check out the Mrs and Mr Bateman website.

For a guide to what else is on in London, click here.

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