Backyard Cinema – LA Nights review: Frozen cocktails and palm trees as you watch your favourite movie at the beach
After returning from my holiday to Italy last month and being well and truly back in the daily grind of work and commuting, a little bit of beach action would be lovely right now. I was especially tempted by Backyard Cinema’s latest immersive film experience so went along to check it out this week. Having launched at the Camden Roundhouse last month, Backyard Cinema’s LA Nights is running for a limited time only.
If you’re unaware, Backyard Cinema is a themed, pop-up cinema company which hosts immersive screenings at special locations around London. They have given film fans the chance to roam the Lost World, get lost in a Labyrinth, be roused by a live choir in a church and fly with the Snowman, among their many other creative themes. For five weeks only, the BC posse have transformed the roof of iconic north London venue Roundhouse into a slice of sunny Venice Beach.
Guests enter through the Roundhouse itself and climb the stairs to the roof. It isn’t long before you are taken on a trail, with lots of neon, weatherboard beach signs, fairy lights and a pair of Instagrammable angel wings to pose against. The screening room is ‘the beach’, with golden sand, palm trees and plenty of comfortable beanbags. The space is fortunately covered over so you don’t need to worry about the temperamental British summer.
After selecting our seats, my sister and I headed straight to the bar to sort out our refreshments. A special drinks menu has been curated to complement the theme, with adults-only Slush Puppie cocktails, tropical cocktails and its own beer created by the Gipsy Hill Brewing Company. We were particularly drawn to the palm tree glasses so started with some Passion Fruit Martini, which were very fruity, but a little boozy. After collecting our drinks and snacks (there is a vegan ice cream stand, which proved popular), we were suitably put in the retro mood with lots of classic Californian and retro tracks keeping us entertained before the movie kicked off. Read the rest of this entry
Find out where the capital’s roaming cinemas will be located this summer.
With the evenings getting lighter and warmer, the thought of watching a film in the open-air or an unusual venue probably sounds quite appealing right now. If you’re looking for a difference experience than your local Odeon or Vue, why not pay a visit to one of London’s roaming cinemas. From rooftops to stunning royal backdrops to immersive experiences, you’ll be spoiled for choice this summer.
- 1 May – 31 August : Rooftop Film Club
Pop-up cinema returns to rooftops across the capital, screening new and classic films. At Roof East (Stratford), Bussey Building (Peckham) and Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch). Expect a mix of classics and new releases, such as Dirty Dancing, The Breakfast Club, Us, Love Simon, Aquaman, Clueless and many more. Screenings @ 9pm. Tickets from £14.95. For more information and tickets, visit the Rooftop Film Club website.
- 21 May – 9 July : Beach Club Cinema @ Fulham Beach
Riverside beach club hosts a film night every Tuesday throughout the summer. Movies include The Beach, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Top Gun, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook, There’s Something About Mary, Grease and Dirty Dancing. Also on site in bars, dining, shuffleboard, table tennis, minigolf and more. Tickets: £10-£30. Fulham Beach, 364 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For more information, visit the Neverland London website.
- 31 May – 9 July : Summer on Screen @ Wembley Park
Enjoy classics, latest blockbusters, live opera and Bollywood hits at open-air screenings in Wembley Park. Films include A Star Is Born, Hamid, Sister Act, Moulin Rouge!, The Greatest Showman and more. 7pm. Free, but first come first served for seating. Arena Square, Engineers Way, Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0AA. Nearest station: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.
- 31 May – 26 September : Luna Cinema
Luna Cinema will be popping up at various venues across the capital this summer. Venues include Danson House (Bexleyheath), Morden Hall Park, Marylebone, Fulham Palace, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Brockwell Lido (Herne Hill), Battersea Park, Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich), Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Opera Holland Park, Victoria Embankment Gardens, Dulwich Park, Kensington Palace, Chiswick House and Gardens, Kenwood House, Wandsworth Park, Alexandra Palace, Crystal Palace Park, Tooting Common, Wimbledon Park and Marble Hill. Tickets: Adults from £15.50, Children from £10.50. For booking, visit the Luna Cinema website.
- 4 June – 3 August : Movies On The River
Watch a movie while cruising down the River Thames. Films include Bohemian Rhapsody. Grease, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, La La Land, Black Panther and many more. Departures @ 8pm. Tickets from £29. Departures from Tower Millennium Pier, Tower Hill, City of London, EC3N 4DT. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or Fenchurch Street. For tickets, visit Time Out London. Read the rest of this entry
As the temperatures drop and the nights set in, cosying up in front of a good film is more appealing than ever. This autumn, Bluebird Chelsea is launching a weekly movie night with films, food and cocktails. Cointreau will transform the King’s Road venue’s cinema room into a wintry orangery.
Every Tuesday evening, film fans can enjoy hot food, Cointreau cocktails and popcorn as they settle down to watch a movie. Sit on a comfy sofa or chair surrounded by orange tress as you watch films that have been chosen for their popular soundtracks. Among those being screened include The Greatest Showman, Dreamgirls, Moulin Rouge! and Whiplash. By the time December arrives, things will be taking a festive turn with Love Actually and The Holiday.
On arrival, guests will receive a welcome drink of Cointreau Fizz (Cointreau, sparkling water and freshly squeezed lime juice). Cointreau will also be serving two popular concoctions from their wooden pop-up bar: Royal Sidecar (Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal, Cointreau and freshly squeezed lemon juice) and Hot Cointreau Mulled Cider (spiked Cointreau cider made with Cointreau, fresh lime juice, cider, star anise, cloves and garnished with a cinnamon stick and slices of orange and apple).
Meanwhile, your appetites are also fulfilled for as your ticket includes a Bluebird hot dog (spiced pork, pickled cabbage and chilli mayo) or a vegan burger (mushroom and edamame with sriracha mayo and baby gem). Additional food and drinks can purchased on the night.
The film programme is as follows:
30 October : The Greatest Showman
6 November : Dreamgirls
13 November : Moulin Rouge!
20 November : Whiplash
27 November : Love Actually
4 December : The Holiday.
- Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest station: South Kensington. Tickets: £25 (includes film, welcome Cointreau cocktail and a Bluebird hotdog or vegan burger). For more information, visit the Bluebird Chelsea website.
To find out what’s on in London in December, click here.
For the updated 2019 guide to London’s outdoor and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
While your latest cinema is sure to show all the latest releases, there’s not really that much atmosphere in modern screening rooms. Fortunately, parks, rooftops and other 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.
- 21 March until 6 September : 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 – 31 August : 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
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 6 September 2018. 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 – 6 September 2018. 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.
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 Christmas 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 a review of the Christmas 2018 Backyard Cinema Christmas Labyrinth, click here.
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.
Londoners don’t get anywhere near the amount of warm weather we would like. So when it is sunny, we all head outside. Of course, this leaves film fans in a predicament – who wants to be stuck indoors when the weather is so glorious? Over the past few years, pop-up and open air cinemas have been steadily rising in popularity and this summer will be no different. Of course, sometimes the weather isn’t so kind, so many roaming film clubs are hosting screenings in unique London indoor venues as well. Here’s a guide to the capital’s open-air and pop-up cinemas so you can enjoy some alfresco entertainment with an ice-cold beer or glass of wine… sounds good doesn’t it?
- 4 May – 30 September : Rooftop Film Club
The Rooftop Film Club is for rooftops only (obviously). Screening a mix of films including recent releases and classics. Venues include the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, the Bussey Building in Peckham Rye, Roof East in Stratford, Queen Of Hoxton in Shoreditch and Kensington Roof Gardens. Ticket includes headphones, blankets and deckchairs. Tickets: £15. To find out more, visit the Rooftop Film Club website.
- 23 May – 23 September : The Nomad Cinema
Travelling cinema company returns this summer with a new roll call of venues. Locations include Proud East, Paddington Street Gardens, The Hoxton Hotel, CityPoint, Grosvenor Square, Queen’s Park and Festival Gardens by St Paul’s Cathedral. Ticket prices £10-£25. For booking, visit the Nomad Cinema website.
- 6 June – 25 July : London Bridge City Summer Festival Screenings
Free film screenings every Tuesday throughout June and July. Get to the steps early to grab a spot. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the London Bridge City website.
- 7 – 18 June : Westfield Open-Air Cinema
Westfield will be hosting an open-air cinema during at London Food Month’s Night Market. A host of international street food stalls and bars will be serving grub and refreshments so keep you fuelled while you watch a mix of classic and new films. Cinema tickets are Adults £4, Children £2 when added to food market entry (Adults £15, Children £8). Perks Field, 7 Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, W8 4PU. Nearest station: Queensway or High Street Kensington. For booking, visit the London Food Month website. Read the rest of this entry
Returning to Waterloo this winter is the biggest Vault Festival to date. Now in its fifth year, the six-week long fringe event will be expanding to two further local venues in addition to its home beneath Waterloo station. There’s something for everyone with music, theatre, film, comedy, parties, food, drinking and more.
Among the highlights of the festival, will be the chance to step into Jay Gatsby’s world in an immersive theatrical experience of The Great Gatsby. Meanwhile, Superbolt Theatre return to the Vault Festival with two productions; their 2016 hit The Jurassic Parks, a hilarious spin on Spielberg’s blockbuster, and Mars Actually, a physical and funny vision of life on the red planet.
Turning circus on its head is Becoming Shades, a reimagining of the myth of Persephone using live music, aerial acrobatics, fire, dance and mime. The thought-provoking Thought To Flesh is a theatrical investigation into motor neuron disease (MND) using spoken word, multi-media and movement interpretation.
Meanwhile, movie fans will be able to enjoy the Vault’s Film Festival, featuring 20 different screenings. Among the premiers include dark_net staring Johnny Vegas and Love Comes Later, starring Sarita Choudhury (Homeland). There will also be a special screening of Red from award-winning director Branko Tomovic, a crime thriller about illegal backstreet surgery.
For party animals, the Vaults will be hosting late-night revelry every weekend, including the Galactic Love Valentine’s Ball, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), The Nudge’s Great Gatsby Party, as well as the festival’s opening and closing parties presented by Time Out London.
Aside from the entertainment, there are plenty of opportunities for drinking and eating. The Balkano Kitchen will be serving dishes inspired by chef Martin H Shaw’s travels in Eastern Europe. There will be five bars across the three venues, with two themed bars presented in collaboration with Meantime beer and Campari. One of the more intriguing drinking spots will be The Neath, an immersive, subterranean members bar for the supernatural produced and curated by the team behind The Crystal Maze.
- The Vaults Festival takes place from 25 January – 5 March 2017 at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN and Network Theatre, 246a Lower Road, Waterloo, SE1 8SJ. Nearest station: Waterloo. Shows will also be on at Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HT. Nearest station: Lambeth North (open from mid-Feb). For more information and tickets, visit The Vault Festival website.
For a guide to what else is on in March, click here.