Quirky Cinemas Around the Capital

Being a big fan of quirky places to screen films, some gorgeous ‘cinemas’ have been popping up all over the place for some time now. Here’s a handful of my favourites:

The Portobello Pop Up

Nestling under the Westway motorway, this Pop Up has proper cinema seats salvaged from a cinema in Liverpool, the projector is housed in a recycled shipping container and the ticket office is an old popcorn booth from Bognor Regis (all bought on e-Bay). Over the past five years it’s shown some crackers from Il Postino, Wings of Desire and In the Mood for Love to Julian Temple’s cityscape London, the Modern Babylon, Passport to Pimlico and Withnail and I.


NB. The Portobello Film Festival has now started! (28th Aug - 14th Sept). It's free and is showing some of the finest frontline London, UK and International films. www.portobellofilmfestival.com

The Floating Cinema

Drifting through the London canals on board this specially designed boat ranks as one of my most pleasurable cinematic experiences this summer. Sipping a glass of wine, watching fascinating old footage shot on London’s waterways as the dusk descended – pure heaven, in my book.


  Photo by Jack Hobhouse

Photo by Jack Hobhouse

Rooftop Cinema

Perched high above the city, these rooftop cinemas rank pretty high on the list of thrilling places to watch a film. A multi-storey car park in Stratford and a 120 year old warehouse in Peckham (just 2 of the sky-scape locations) showing films as diverse as; Amelie, Under the Skin, and Dallas Buyer’s Club along with old stalwarts The Big Lebowski and True Romance.


  Photo by Matt Badendoch

Photo by Matt Badendoch

The Lexi Cinema

The Lexi is a ‘bijoux’ cinema with a big heart and a brilliant little bar at the back. Over the years, I’ve seen some extraordinary films here from Rust and Bone and Philomena to The Third Man and It’s a Wonderful Life. They also had a Truffaut season last year and I love them for that. 100% of their profits go towards sustainable living and educational projects in the village of Lynedoch, South Africa.


  Photo by a very happy customer

Photo by a very happy customer

51 Zero

A roving ‘cinema’ which seeks out delightful locations in Kent and the Medway (and this year in Northern France as well). Al fresco screenings for October 2014 include one on the Sun Pier on the river Medway in Chatham, where, a little boat will turn into a miniature cinema for two (adults - or three little people). Secret nocturnal projections will transform empty shop windows/doors so passers by will encounter quirky little movies such as floating red fish or a curious mouse scurrying around the door frame (by French artist Bertrand Gardenne).

51 Zero Festival runs from 10th – 12th October with a programme of screenings and performances, along with talks by emerging and established filmmakers, artists and musicians.

 51 Zero's screening at the Neptune in Whitstable for the Biennale.

51 Zero's screening at the Neptune in Whitstable for the Biennale.

Whitstable Biennale's screening of a Clio Barnard (Selfish Giant, Arbor) film, at dusk on the Kent Marshlands for the Whitstable Biennale. Audience were the passengers of a single passing train.