By now, every Londoner will have heard of Backyard Cinema. Why? Because it’s bloody awesome!
What started off as a simple idea in someone’s backyard quickly caught on and since that night, Backyard Cinema has been taken from someone’s backyard to London’s. It’s been popping up all over London in the last few years but they now have a permanent venue, and I was lucky to have a ticket to experience if it was up to the hype. I’m happy to report, it most definitely is.
It’s been popping up all over London in the last few years but they now have a permanent home (for the next two years at least in Borough, South London). I was lucky to have a ticket to experience if it would live up to the hype. I’m happy to report, it most definitely is.
Only a few minutes walk from either Borough or Elephant & Castle tube station, Backyard Cinema is all about theatrics and immersion. It’s not an open-air cinema as you might be thinking but inside some sort of pop-up tent that’s been transformed to look like a completely different world. Don’t worry, it’s not cold inside – you’re well insulated from the elements outside and you can hire blankets.
On my visit, the cinema was themed around the “lost world“. A Jurassic park feel to the place. Even before you enter the theatre, you have to scramble through a small opening ominously signposted “Lost World” before having to sense your way through the jungle before emerging unscathed on the other side where the show starts. It’s a super cool and quirky way of helping movie-goers leave the real world behind.
Make sure you return every season as the design and theme will change to reflect the time of year. Chatting to the lovely lady at the front before I entered ‘the jungle’, the theatre will be transformed into an enchanting Winter Wonderland just in time for Christmas.
The seats come in the form of giant bean bags. They are super comfy and you’ll literally sink right in. I was virtually on my back through the entire the show and just like the entrance, the theatre has been transformed to look like you’re in the middle of a jungle rather than a backyard in London. No cinema experience is complete without the appropriate snacks. If you’re feeling peckish, the well-stocked bar at the back of the theatre means you can grab the obligatory popcorn without leaving the theatre and also means you don’t have to ask your friends “what I missed?” on your return.
The only downside? It’s a bit pricey at £16.50 a ticket. But you’re guaranteed a cinema experience unlike any other in London. It’s great for an evening with friends, and great for dates too. I highly recommend catching a movie inside the lost world of Backyard Cinema.