Hidden away in Wandsworth, southwest London, is the most magical cinema I’ve ever stepped foot in. If you’re looking for that extra something special when watching the new, biggest blockbusters or your old, favourite films, this is the place to go.
When my friends and I booked these tickets randomly one evening, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seeing plenty of adverts about it online and it looked really beautiful: decorated in ivy and fairy lights, you could already tell that this was different to most normal cinemas. What I can safely tell you is that this experience went beyond my expectations. If someone combined Alice In Wonderland and Narnia, this is what it would look like.
Stepping in, you’re immediately greeted by friendly staff and a temperature check (safety first, obviously). There are social distancing markers everywhere along with one way systems, so it’s pretty Covid safe. You’re also required to wear masks until you get into the actual cinema room.
After tickets are checked, you’re guided into this room and you’re immediately transported into this old library-esque room, with funky wallpaper and antique furniture. Without giving away too much of the experience, the fun begins here. You then go through the wardrobe (yes, I absolutely did live out the little girl in me’s dreams of going to Narnia) and find yourself in this ivy and rose adorned passageway, with lights guiding the way to your upcoming adventure. Whilst I want to tell you every single moment that happened step by step, it kind of gets rid of the magic of it all, don’t you think? This is something you want to be surprised with and really take in all it has to offer.
You eventually get led into the cinema room, which is furnished with antique chandeliers, cushioned sofa chairs, roses lining the sides of the screen and structures on either side of the screen that almost gave me ‘Romeo and Juliet’-esque vibes. If I had to criticise one thing (and this is me being super critical!) is that the videos online made the Winter Night Garden appear to be super long, when it wasn’t that long at all. Everything was absolutely stunning though, the cinema room included, to the point where I had multiple people ask me where it was when I posted a picture of it so that they could also go!
Whilst we waited for our film to start, we stopped off round the back of the cinema at the Honest Burgers shack and the bar opposite. When entering the bar opposite, it appears to have a stage with a piano, which makes me believe it is in use during the evenings (we went during the day, so I’m not sure). The cinema room also holds a snack and drink room, where you can pick up a drink of your choice and selections of popcorn and sweets.
Just when you thought the main experience was over before the film, we sat down and watched the ‘ads’ where they told us more about the story of Backyard Cinema. My friends and I agreed this was a great touch compared to just showing normal ads as we really got to know the history of the place, how it came about and what different themes they do, which was so interesting. But beyond that, they had this voiceover that starts before the film, which includes a great surprise of in-room effects such as sparks flying, lights and balloons, which just added to the magic that this place has to offer.
At the grand price of £15 per ticket, I can’t wait to get back here and watch more films. This is so much better than your average cinema, and honestly not that much more expensive. Backyard cinema offers old classics, to seasonal favourites, to new releases and even singalongs. There’s great transport links into the cinema and it really was a great experience (and a great option for a date, especially as they’re only offering a maximum of groups of 3 at the moment). I’m really interested to come back when they change the theme, but honestly I’d come back here again fairly soon to experience it all again. A definite must visit at least once.
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