If you’re planning a trip to London this summer, why not take a leaf out of the Kim Kardashian playbook and spend some of your vacation watching a movie? Sure, it may not be as culturally significant as a visit to Buckingham Palace, but the capital offers some unique cinematic experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
If Hollywood is the home of movies, then London is fast becoming the best place to watch them. Below are some of the most unique places to watch films in the city. Just don’t blame us if you wind up spending all of your vacation in front of a screen…
A TIME favorite, Secret Cinema was launched in 2007 before arriving in New York last year. The popular event offers audiences a thoroughly immersive viewing experience that’s completely unique. Guests are required to come in costume to a secret location designed to resemble a setting from the film; once “on set,” audiences are encouraged to explore their surroundings and interact with actors and fellow viewers before the screening begins. Secret Cinema’s next event will be a showing of Back to the Future where audiences will be taken to Hill Valley, encouraged to perform in a battle of the bands contest, and invited to an after-party venue for the film’s famous “Enchantment Under The Sea” prom.
Tickets: Back to the Future is showing from July 24-August 10 and August 14-August 31, tickets cost £53.50 and can be purchased here
Movie theaters serving food is hardly a novel idea: it’s become increasingly common to have waiter service while watching a film or to be offered gourmet snacks instead of stale popcorn. Edible Cinema pushes this trend a little further by providing audiences with a tray of food and drink to complement and enhance the movie — viewers receive numbered cups and parcels to be consumed when the relevant number is displayed during the film. At their most recent screening of Romeo and Juliet, audiences received, amongst other things, a “vial of poison” (a gin cocktail) to drink as Juliet downed hers.
Tickets: Edible Cinema are yet to announce their next film but you can check out past events on their website
Hot Tub Cinema
Bear with me on this one. Hot Tub Cinema places its audiences in outdoor hot tubs from which they can enjoy the movie. The cinema launched in London in 2012, and opened in New York last month to rave reviews; it has a waiting list of 1,700 for its next screening. The hot tubs, which seat between six to eight people, can be hired by a group or shared with strangers, which is one way to make friends. The hot tubs come with waiters to ease any social awkwardness with Dutch courage.
Tickets: Hot Tub Cinema is showing a range of films throughout June. Individual tickets are £35, hiring a hot tub costs £210 and tickets can be purchased here
The Floating Cinema
Unique to London, The Floating Cinema takes the form of a canal boat designed by Duggan Morris architects. The boat travels along London’s waterways, stopping to show outdoor screenings or host on-board talks, workshops, and performances. This summer’s program of events has been designed by artistic duo Somewhere and follows an “extra-international” theme, focusing on themes of migration and how the UK is perceived in other territories.
Tickets: All the events are free, though booking is essential and can be done here
Going back to basics, Backyard Cinema have attempted to create a homemade cinema experience that’s more intimate than a regular movie theater. Guests sit on deckchairs, beanbags, and sofas, and are encouraged to sing and dance along to the movie, while being served high quality food and cocktails. The cinema moves around London and offers both indoor and outdoor screenings.
Tickets: Backyard Cinema is showing a range of films throughout July and August; standard tickets are £15 and can be purchased here