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.
Backyard Cinema Film Festival @ Camden Market: Watch classic, new and indie films in alfresco surroundings
Returning to Camden Market this summer is the brilliant pop-up film club Backyard Cinema. Having already checked out their screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet earlier this year with a live choir, I was looking forward to their next alfresco venture.
For six weeks, Backyard Cinema are hosting not one, but two pop-up movie theatres on two nearby sites in Camden Market. The main stage in Camden Lock Place will be screening new and classic mainstream movies, while the intimate Cuban Screen will feature indie flicks, documentaries and foreign language movies.
Last week, I was invited to the launch of BC’s season at Camden with a screening of this year’s blockbuster Kingsmen: The Secret Service. There’s different ticket packages available, but we had the ‘Full Monty’ (£29), which included the screening, a drink and a burger. Screening only tickets – including seating – start from £14 (Cuban screen)/£16.50 (main stage) .
Accompanying all screenings over the festival, are food/drink stands and trucks, including Brooklyn Brewery, Honest Burgers, The Craft Cocktail Co and Chin Chin Labs Ice Cream. The cinema opened two hours ahead of the screening so we were able to chow down on the delicious burger and fries (with rosemary salt… gorgeous!) from Honest Burgers. We also enjoyed some Moscow Mule cocktails from the Craft Cocktail Co which were lovely and refreshing.
The screening couldn’t start until the sun went down so we headed to our seats shortly before. There’s a choice of deckchairs or beanbag loungers – we opted for the latter which were incredibly comfortable. As the night in question was a bit chilly, the usherettes brought out some blankets for us so I was incredibly cosy curled up on my bean bag watching the film. The movie was an action comedy, starring Colin Firth, Sir Michael Caine and newcomer Taron Egerton (my new celebrity crush now actually…), who managed to look incredibly dapper while kicking some major bad guy butts! A really funny film.
Overall, the whole evening was really enjoyable. Although the drizzle during our dinner threatened to ruin the evening, it fortunately stopped in time for the screening. The Backyard crew also have waterproof ponchos available if you’re unprepared. The food, drink, seating, staff and film were all great. I recommend getting down there this summer, as I certainly hope to be making a return visit. With screenings of films including Birdman, The Goonies, Pride, The Babadook, Empire Records, Dirty Dancing, It Follows, Mad Man and Northern Soul, there’s something for everyone.
- The Backyard Cinema Film Festival runs in Camden Market until 4 September 2015. Screenings take place in Camden Lock Place and The Cuban bar’s courtyard, Camden, NW1. Nearest station: Camden Town or Chalk Farm. Tickets start from £14 at the Cuban screen and £16.50 at the main screen. For more information and booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
For a guide to open air cinemas in London this summer, click here.
For the updated 2017 guide, click here.
Us Londoners don’t get anywhere near the amount of hot weather we would like. So when it is warm and 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 should see no difference. Here’s a guide to the capital’s open-air cinemas so you can enjoy some alfresco entertainment with an ice cold beer or wine… sounds good doesn’t it?
- 19 April – 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, Roof East in Stratford, Bussey Building in Peckham Rye, and Kensington Roof Gardens. Ticket includes headphones, blankets and deckchairs. Tickets; £14-22. To find out more, visit the Rooftop Film Club website.
- 26 April – September : The Nomad Cinema
Travelling cinema company returns this summer with a new roll call of venues. Locations include Belgrave Square, Grosvenor Square, Coram Secret Garden, Queen’s Park, Bushy Park, Fulham Palace, Brompton Cemetery, Hyde Park Lido, Hoxton Hotel, Hippodrome, Middle Temple Gardens and more. Ticket prices vary depending on package (some include food and drinks and other bonuses). To find out more, visit the Nomad Cinema website.
- 15 May – September : Pop Up Screens
Travelling pop -up cinema appears in both alfresco and indoor venues, with food and alcohol stands accompanying them. Locations include Morden Hall Park, Bishops Park Fulham, Mycenae House Blackheath, Ravenscourt Park Hammersmith, Manor House Gardens Lewisham, Coram’s Field Holborn and East Greenwich Pleasaunce. To find out about screenings and bookings, visit the Pop Up Screens website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Pop Up Screens at Morden Hall Park here.
- 3 June – September : Backyard Cinema
Watch a selection of classic or newer films on cosy beanbags or deckchairs as Backyard Cinema goes to various locations, including Camden Lock Market and the Lynx pop-up in Brick Lane. For more information and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website. To read Metro Girl’s review and details of the Camden pop-up (on over August), click here.
- 9 June – 7 July : Drive In Film Club
A drive in cinema at Alexandra Palace for cars and their occupants. Films including Grease (singalong), Birdman, Top Gun, Pulp Fiction, Back To The Future and 50 Shades Of Grey. Rollerskating attendants will bring hotdogs, popcorn and snacks to your car. Price: £22 per car (all occupants included). Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. For more information and tickets, visit the Experience Cinema website.
- 19 – 25 June : British Summer Time Film Festival
As part of the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park, there will be 10 free film screenings over five days (19, 22 – 25 June). Access is on first come, first served basis so grab a blanket and head down. Films include Wizard Of Oz, Pride, Casablanca, Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters and Singalong Grease, among others. There will also be a street food market on site and performances by theatre company Chickenshed. Screenings at 6pm and 8.30pm. Hyde Park, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the British Summer Time website.
- 20 June – 17 August : Pillow Cinema
Enjoy a cosy night in… outside on a giant pillow with snuggly blanket if it gets cold. Films include The Notebook, Birdman, Fifty Shades Of Grey, Clueless and The Imitation Game. Tickets: £12.50pp (2 people per bean bag). Pillow Cinema, SNAP Studios, Wimbourne House, 151-155 New North Road, Shoreditch, N1 6TA. Nearest station: Hoxton, Old Street or Essex Road. For more information and booking, visit the Pillow Cinema website.
- 1 July – 20 September : Luna Cinema
As well as venues outside London, Luna Cinema will be popping up at various venues across the capital this summer. Locations include Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park, Brockwell Lido, Crystal Palace Park, Dulwich Park, Hampton Court Palace, Hatfield House, Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens, Modern Hall Park, One New Change, Opera Holland Park, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Tooting Common. Blankets and wedges available at every screening. For more information and listings, visit the Luna Cinema website.
- 7 – 28 July : Vauxhall One Summer Screen
Vauxhall One host four free screenings over the summer in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Films include Clueless, Zoolander, Dazed & Confused and a public vote choice. There will also be street food from Grill My Cheese, Busan BBQ and Rotli Crew. 7pm onwards on Tuesdays in June. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (Entrance on Kennington Lane), Vauxhall, SE11 5HY. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall One website.
- 22 July – 9 August: Classic Films @ Canary Wharf
Watch digitally-restored classic films from the BFI National Archive on the big screen. Movies include Penny Points To Paradise, The Salvage Gang, Night Ferry, Godzilla, Let’s Go Crazy and others. Free. Screenings at 6pm and 11am on Saturdays. Canada Square Park, Docklands, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.
- 5 August – 4 September : The Regent’s Place Summer Cinema
Several free film screenings a week, including Mamma Mia, Grease, Frozen and Jumanji. Free. Screenings take place at 6.30pm Wed-Fri and 3.30pm Sat. Regent’s Place, NW1 3HF. Nearest tube: Warren Street. For more information, visit the Regent’s Place website.
- 6 – 7, 14 and 15 August : East Village Film Fest
East Village in Stratford have teamed up with Nomad cinema for a four day free film festival. Films including Thelma & Louise, Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind, The Lost Boys and Paddington will be watched on a big screen, while listening to headphones. Priority will be given to residents of East Village. East Village, Stratford, E20 1AT. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the East Village website.
- 6 – 19 August : Film4 Summer Screen @ Somerset House
The courtyard of Somerset House hosts two weeks of alfresco summer screenings. Includes screenings of premieres, double bills and classics. Movies include Gemma Bovery, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Graduate, Do The Right Thing and West Side Story. There is also an opportunity for film fans to vote for their favourite film to be screened on 19 August. Tickets start from £16. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Somerset House website.
- 19 – 21 August : Summer Cinema Series
The gardens of the Trinity Hospice in Clapham will be open to the public for screenings over three nights with screenings of The Breakfast Club, Casablanca and Mrs Doubtfire. Tickets sales go to the Hospice. There will be a licensed bar serving alcohol, as well as popcorn and cake. Tickets: Adults £15, Children £10. Trinity Hospice, 30 Clapham Common North Side, SW4 ORN. Nearest tube: Clapham Common. For more information and booking, visit the Trinity Hospice website.
- 27 – 29 August : Summer Love Weekend @ British Museum
Three open-air screenings from the BFI in the front courtyard of the British Museum. Featuring A Room With A View, Badlands and The Princess Bride. 8.15pm. Tickets: £15. British Museum, Great Russell Street, Holborn, WC1B 3DG. Nearest station: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road. For more information and booking, visit the BFI website.
- 2 – 24 September : More London Free Film Festival
There will be free screenings of films in The Scoop, near Potter’s Field Park. Films include The Imitation Game, Paddington, Ghostbusters, Frozen, The Thoery Of Everything, Moulin Rouge!, Big, Zoolander and The Sound Of Music. 7.30pm. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the More London website. While you’re there, why not get food or drink from the nearby London Riviera pop-up.
- 17 – 26 September : Hot Tub Cinema
Watch your favourite film while relaxing in a hot tub with your closest pals. Films include Bridesmaids, Dirty Dancing, Superbad and Free Willy. Fully licensed bar available. Tickets start from £24pp. 18 Warburton Road, Hackney, E8 3RT. Nearest station: London Fields. For booking, visit Hot Tub Cinema’s website.
- Once a month : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema
Although not outside, Trader Vic’s in the London Hilton are hosting monthly screenings in their Tiki-themed bar and restaurant. Movies include Dr No (8 June), 50 First Dates (13 July), The Rum Diary (10 August), Jaws (14 September) and Top Gun (12 October). Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader Vic’s, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader Vic’s website.
Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo + Juliet is an iconic 1990s film. The vivid imagery, amazing soundtrack and stunning performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes have made the film a modern classic. Personally I’m a huge fan of the film and soundtrack.
This month, fans of the film will be able to have the chance to watch the movie in a totally different way – accompanied by a live choir in a candlelight church setting. Roaming pop-up cinema company Backyard Cinema are setting up camp for three days at St Mary’s Church in Marylebone for a special screening of Romeo + Juliet. Singers from the Some Voices Choir will be performing some of the film’s most popular tracks, such as Kissing You and Everybody’s Free.
Depending on your budget, you can sit in traditional balcony seats (£20), on comfy sofas and deckchairs in the main seating area (£28) or on front row double beanbag with blankets and cushions (£65 for two people). To accompany your screening, there will be a choice of drinks and snacks, including Cream & Country luxury ice cream, Backyard’s posh and unusual flavoured popcorn while a licensed bar will be serving alcohol.
- Romeo + Juliet screenings by Backyard Cinema are taking place on 28, 29 and 30 May 2015. Doors open 7pm, Film screening starts 8pm. St Mary’s Church, Wyndham Place, York Street, Marylebone, W1H 1PQ. Nearest station: Baker Street and Edgware Road. For more information and tickets, visit the Backyard Cinemas website.
- 2016 news! The screenings are returning to St Mary’s Church from 29 March – July 2016. For a review of the 2016 experience, click here.
For the latest what’s on guide in London, click here.
See the best of awards’ season with a touch of Hollywood glamour as Backyard Cinemas comes to Altitude London
At Sunday’s Oscars, the great and the good of Hollywood gathered in Los Angeles to toast this year’s best performances. This year has seen a stellar turnout from British actors and film-makers, with Eddie Redmayne being named Best Actor for The Theory Of Everything and The Grand Budapest taking home four accolades. However, when it comes to watching the films on the silver screen, your local chain cinema couldn’t be further from the glamour of Hollywood.
With the Oscars capping off awards season, the team behind Backyard Cinema are hosting screenings of the some of the critically-acclaimed and award-nominated masterpieces from the past 12 months for those who haven’t seen them… or perhaps for those who love them so much they want to see them all over again. Guests will be given a red carpet welcome as they arrive at the Millbank Tower and are whisked up to Altitude London on the 29th floor. There you will be greeted by 1950s usherettes who will be on hand to serve cocktails and food during the movie. Bacardi and leading mixologist Ally Martin will be creating bespoke cocktails to add to the Hollywood glamour. There will be food available from the Skyloft restaurant, as well as popcorn and ice cream. Of course, prior to the screening, you will be able to enjoy the stunning views across the capital.
- Friday 13 March – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm.
- Saturday 14 March (matinee) – The Theory of Everything
Doors 1:30pm, Last Entry 2:30pm, Film 3:30pm
- Saturday 14 March (evening) – ‘71
Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm
- Friday 20 March – Boyhood
Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm.
Tickets: Screening £15, screening including glass of champagne £18 or Full Monty (Film, glass of champagne and food) £29.
- Backyard Cinema’s Awards Season runs at Altitude London, Millbank Tower, 30 Millbank, SW1P 4RS. Nearest station: Pimlico. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival 2014: Classic films and undiscovered talent comes to Lewisham
When you think of the word ‘film festival’, screenings and Q&As are generally what comes to mind, right? Well the New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival is so much more. Shockingly, the London borough of Lewisham doesn’t have any cinemas so this annual event provides residents to finally get the chance to watch movies in a grander setting than their front room.
Now in its third year, the NXDfff is bigger than ever, with 35 events taking place in 23 venues over nine days. The variety in events mean there will be something for everyone and the beauty of the festival is it’s all free.
Local buildings such as the The Hill Station, The Amersham Arms and Sanford Housing Co-Op will be transformed into pop-up cinemas for the predominantly evening events, with daytime screenings on during the weekends. Fordham Park in New Cross will be hosting bike-powered screenings of Attack The Block (Sat 26th) followed by a DJ set, while Telegraph Hill Park will have a bike-powered singalong of classic musical Grease (Fri 3rd).
One quirky feature on the line-up is Ping Pong, a film about octogenarian ping pong players, which will be screened at Old Tidemill School in Deptford (Sun 4th). Other highlights include Stateless – a mini festival within the festival (Wed 30th) – featuring screenings exploring the meaning of statelessness and a triple bill of films curated by London’s Film Africa Festival (Sat 26th). There will also be an experimental documentary screening of Surname Viet, Given Name Nam in the open air on 6mm film in Deptford’s Douglas Square (Wed 30th). No doubt proving a popular draw will be a screening of Coen Brothers classic O Brother, Where Art Thou? in Old Deptford Police Station – how fitting! – with live music from Danny & The Moonlighters and The Hellfire Orchestra (Fri 2nd).
- This year’s New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival runs from Friday 25 April to Sunday 4 May 2014. Full programme details of all screenings can be found on www.freefilmfestivals.org.