Christmas films aren’t only reserved for cold nights huddled under a blanket at home. London’s pop-up cinema scene has cosied up for the winter season with festive film events for young and old, from Narnia-esque venues to a festive sing-along and even a floating cinema. The Resident picks out a few favourites…
Words Andrew Zuccala
1 The Cinema in the Snow, Hackney
London’s original pop-up cinema, Pop Up Screens, returns with a programme of classic Christmas movies to delight audiences with The Cinema in the Snow, running 8-18 December. This year’s festivities will take place at the Hackney Showroom, where the audience enters the snowy cinema through a Narnia-esque wardrobe. And no film experience would be complete without the necessary food and drink smorgasbord. You’ll find popcorn from Drum and Kernel, as well as handmade brownies, craft beer, decadent hot chocolates and homemade mulled wine. Tickets: adults £20, under 10s £10 (family tickets – two adults and two under 10s – £50).
Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT; popupscreens.co.uk
2 Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden, SE1
Backyard Cinema, known for its detailed immersive productions and festival atmosphere, has built a beautiful, indoor enchanted forest to screen Christmas classics like Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life. To access the cinema, customers must venture through a magical wardrobe, found in the depths of the brand new Italian market Mercato Metropolitano, and continue down a secret tunnel of trees into the enchanted woodland. Customers will be able to snuggle up under a blanket with a warm glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Running from 18 November to 6 January.
42 Newington Causeway, Elephant and Castle SE1 6DR; backyardcinema.co.uk
3 Floating Christmas Cinema, St Katherine’s Dock
St Katharine Docks’ floating film festival is back with a week-long extravaganza from 5-11 December, showing top movie favourites that no festive period would be complete without, including Home Alone, Frozen, Love Actually and The Polar Express. Guests can hunker down on bean bags with blankets and heaters to enjoy the films with winter warmers including hot chocolate, mulled wine and hot food from the Dock’s onsite restaurants. Week-night screenings start at 7pm; weekend screenings start at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets from £11.
50 St Katharine’s Way, St Katharine’s Docks E1W 1LA; skdocks.co.uk
4 Winter Film Club, Peckham
The Rooftop Film Club, which takes residency on the roof of the Bussey Building in Peckham every summer, is taking shelter from the cold just next door at the Electric Theatre (one of the first pioneering electric cinemas, first opened in 1908) for the winter. After a battle to prevent the building becoming luxury flats, Winter Film Club has returned the space to its original purpose for one month only. Set against the beautiful, exposed original features, the cinema’s old ethos – To Elevate, Instruct and Amuse – has been brought back to life, too, with a varied programme from Ab Fab: The Movie and Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie to festive favourites like Elf and Love Actually, plus old school classics like Casablanca and Top Gun. There’s an onsite bar and food and drink will be available throughout the film (no BYO). Running 1-23 December.
133 Rye Lane, Peckham Rye SE15 4ST; winterfilmclub.com
5 Dalloway Terrace Film Club
The Nomad roaming pop-up cinema will brought a 30ft cinema screen to a small English country garden at the Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury from 19 November. Sit back, slip on the wireless headsets and grab a few cocktails playing homage to the film being shown. Watch family favourite Home Alone on 10 December, or the classic It’s A Wonderful Life on 17 December. Afterwards, head to the gorgeous Bloomsbury Club Bar for some sharing plates and drinks, served till 2am.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 3NN; whereisthenomad.com
6 Christmas Pyjama Party at The Prince Charles Cinema
Christmas isn’t Christmas without Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy fighting in Victorian England. So while this isn’t a pop-up, you’ll want to settle yourself in for the long haul as Home Alone, Elf, Die Hard, Gremlins, Scrooged and The Muppet Christmas Carol are shown in one epic night-time screening at The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. The first pyjama party will take place on 26 November for £20 per person. Also, on 3 December, the cinema will be screening a sing-a-long version of The Muppet Christmas Carol for those who just have to join in! Tickets £13.50.
7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY; princecharlescinema.com
7 The Berkeley’s Rooftop Winter Cinema
Throughout December, The Berkeley Health Club & Spa will be transforming its rooftop terrace into a cinema once again. Hotel guests and the public in general can book to watch Miracle on 34th Street or Santa Claus: The Movie on the big screen, while huddling up with cushions and hot water bottles. Towering high above bustling Knightsbridge and overlooking Hyde Park, this lavish outdoor theatre is London’s only private cinema with just eight seats. Tickets are priced at £65 per person including a welcome glass of mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies.
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge SW1X 7RL; the-berkeley.co.uk
8 Film Club at Charlotte Street Hotel
Throughout the Christmas period, Charlotte Street Hotel will be hosting a number of decadent Christmas film events. Head down to the luxurious private cinema on a Friday night for a 7pm screening followed by a three-course meal in the Oscar Restaurant for £40 per person. Or head down on a Sunday for a three-course lunch, dinner or afternoon tea followed by a festive film for the same price. You can even add a glass of Pommery Champagne for £50 per person. Running 20 November until 31 December with a special New year’s Eve screening of Golden Eye from 9.30pm (£95 per person).
15-17 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RJ; firmdalehotels.com
9 Electric Cinema
Again, Electric Cinema in Shoreditch and Portobello are certainly not pop-up venues, but both will both be showing festive films in the lead up to Christmas. Enjoy classic, modern and alternative films in this old-school cinema with mulled wine and hot toddies available from the bar. Book tickets to see old school clasics such as The Nutcracker, It’s a Wonderful Life or take the younger ones tot he kid’s parties showing The Grinch and The Polar Express. Electric Cinema is great for both a boozy, yet cosy, night out or for some traditional family fun.
191 Portobello Road W11 2ED & 64-66 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch E2 7DP; electriccinema.co.uk