There is something so special about family and friends getting together, snuggling on the couch and watching their favourite Christmas films – everyone has a family favourite. Though you won’t be able to watch from the comfort of your living room if you are holidaying in London this festive season, there are a number of worthy alternatives screening all the classics and favourites, from the South bank to Mile End.
Fill your schedule with an afternoon tea in London Paddington (check out our menu here!) or even a brisk stroll around Hyde Park in all its Winter Wonderland glory, and you have got yourself a winning festive plan that will motivate you to keep coming back to the city at Christmas-time.
Southbank Center Winter Pop-Up
On the south bank of the River Thames, you will find the South bank Centre, which is an absolute beacon of entertainment and performance in London. Located next to the National Theatre, you really do not have to go very far from Waterloo Station if it is film and culture you are after. Year round, it plays host to literary festivals, classical music, gigs, dance and from 11 November until 29 December 2019, there is a secret pop-up cinema that is screening all-things-Christmas. From inside the venue’s Circus Bar, alongside the river, sink into a squishy bean bag and kick back to the classics, munching on popcorn and slurping on a wide range of drinks whilst enjoying scenes from the likes of Home Alone to Love Actually.
The only way your trip could get more relaxing is if you spent some time lounging in a spa in Paddington.
Closest train station: Waterloo
Genesis Cinema is a quirky cinema that has a real old-school picture house feel about it and an independent business worth celebrating and supporting. It screens both old and new films and is located in London’s east end, right by Mile End tube station. It is both a homely yet artsy, alternative place to visit and to see new releases, making it a great alternative to just visiting one of the city’s numerous chain outlets. Just picture it: you snuggled in relaxed sofa-chairs, eating one of the delicious hot dogs on sale, and a fully stocked bar to watch brand spanking new films like Frozen II and Last Christmas, as well as old-faithfuls like Die Hard.
Address: 93-95 Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, London E1 4UJ
Closest train station: Mile End
The Backyard Cinema in Wandsworth brings you a Christmassy haven in which to watch all the films of the season. Surrounded by twinkling fairy lights and families wrapped in blankets, you can watch all the favourites – A Muppets Christmas Carol, Die Hard, Love Actually, Elf to name a few. You step through a magical Narnia-themed cupboard at the entrance, and on the other side emerge in a snowy paradise of winter wonder and merriment. They certainly aren’t calling it The Snow Kingdom for no good reason! It is indoors, so don’t worry about getting too cold or being limited by the weather.
Address: Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, 13 Wandsworth Plain, London SW18 1ET
Closest train station: Wandsworth Town
As if Kensington Palace wasn’t a desirable enough part of London to visit as it was, its majesty is enhanced ten-fold by the pop-up Luna Cinema, which is an outdoor extravaganza. These events are an absolute unmissable stop. For four nights over December, there will be film screenings and gourmet on-site food and drinks set to the backdrop of one of London’s most regal abodes. The screen sits in front of the palace itself, so expect to be taking reels of photographs and feeling like you are on a film-set rather than real life.
Not to mention, it is walking distance from all hotels in Paddington – the closest tube station is Queensway, so you really might as well walk. Given that Kensington Palace is part of Hyde Park, you could even take a stroll through its Winter Wonderland festivities en route to this cinematic outdoor experience. Dress warmly and make sure you have money to tuck into the mulled wine!
Address: Kensington Gardens, Kensington, London W8 4PX
Closest train station: Queensway
Rivoli Ballroom is one of London’s last remaining original ballrooms and is a sight to behold – just being inside it feels as if you have made an outing. This is completely kicked up a notch when visiting at Christmas time, as a classy pop-up cinema has been thrown into the mix by Crofton Park Pictures. From this architecturally beautiful hotspot in the South East of London, you can watch Christmas film screenings at 5pm and 8pm from 11 December. It is a great way to explore this part of London, which often people overlook when focusing on what is happening in Central London. Ticket prices start at as low as £5 – so get booking to ensure you get a spot at a steal to watch the Grinch stealing Christmas, or marvel at what happens when kids are left at home alone at Christmas time…
Address: 350 Brockley Rd, Brockley, London SE4 2BY
Closest train station: Honor Oak Park
So between your trips to iconic London landmarks like Big Ben or The British Library, and scrumptious meals at your hotel’s top-quality restaurants or in the restaurant-dense surrounds of Paddington, visit one of these cinemas and you will feel well and truly submerged in the festive spirit. On all accounts, you can expect a good, Christmassy time – from the food and drinks to the decor and entertainment. So, whether it is the classic Christmas films you are after, or maybe even some new releases to add to your seasonal list, you are sorted with these top five locations.
Book your stay with us over the Christmas period now and don’t miss out on these festive flicks!