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Christmas pop-up cinema in London

Yes, ‘Elf’ is awesome, but Will Ferrell screaming ‘Santa’ isn’t the only festive film highlight in our round-up of pop-up Christmas screenings

Summer isn't the only season that can do quirky film pop-ups. Sure, the wine may be mulled rather than sparkling and you'll draw a few odd looks if you turn up with a picnic. But with no weather and no wasps to worry about, we reckon this selection of Christmas screenings could be even more of a hoot.

RECOMMENDED: For more festive fun read our full guide to Christmas in London

Christmas movie screenings in London

Backyard Cinema at Winterville

Winterville in Victoria Park promises to be the classy choice for family fun this Christmas, replacing the drunk Santas and overpriced chocolate reindeer with figure skating and circuses. The film pop-up – curated by Backyard Cinema – leans heavily on the classics, but at this time of year we wouldn't want it any other way. Basically, anything even slightly festive is fair game, not just seasonal smashes like 'It's a Wonderful Life', 'Gremlins', 'Die Hard' and both 'Home Alone' movies, but anything with snow ('Frozen'), children singing ('Bugsy Malone') or Jesus parables ('The Lion King'). Okay, so they're pushing it a bit with 'Jurassic Park' (the creationists will totally kick off), but overall this is a sterling selection of family faves in a special location.

Until Dec 23. 

Book tickets through Time Out

Christmas at BFI Southbank

Even the BFI – where London’s arthouse lovers go to escape blockbusters – is giving itself over to seasonal fun, with a full re-release for the terrific 1951 'Scrooge' with Alastair Sim. Plus there’s cockle-warming 'It's a Wonderful Life', loveable 'Santa Claus: The Movie' and a programme of festive Disney cartoons.

Until Dec 30.


Christmas at the Prince Charles Cinema

This year, the Prince Charles have turned almost their entire December programme over to festive favourites, with a two-week sing-along run of the glorious 'Muppet Christmas Carol' and regular screenings of the likes of 'It's a Wonderful Life', 'Die Hard' and 'Elf'. They're great for post-Christmas screenings too, with brilliant all-dayers including the 'Back to the Future' trilogy and the 'Fistful of Dollars' trilogy in that dead space between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Until Dec 30.


Christmas at the Underground Film Club

This winter pop-up has transformed The Vaults – a series of tunnels under Waterloo – into a picture palace with plush velvet seats and cockle-warming cocktails. Over Christmas they’ll be showing ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, a live screening of the Royal Opera House’s ‘The Nutracker’ and more.

Until Dec 13, £15.


Christmas movies in the snow

Here’s one place you can guarantee snow at Christmas. This pop-up will transform Notting Hill’s grand old 20th Century Theatre into a grotto, screening some of our favourite festive films – including ‘Elf’, ‘Home Alone’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. Best of all, since you’re in Notting Hill, all twinkly and lit up for Christmas, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve just stepped into a Richard Curtis film.

Until Dec 23, £10.

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Free movies at London Bridge Christmas Market

Pick up your Crimbo shopping and catch a festive film at London Bridge’s Christmas Market. They’ve got a heated canopy to keep things toasty and there’s a bar serving hot Christmas cocktails, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Films are free and start at 6pm. ‘Elf’, ‘Love Actually’, ‘Home Alone’ are screening. The market itself is old-school German-style with wooden chalets and more than 100 stalls.

Until Dec 22, free.


Merry Movies at The Hoxton Hotel

Enjoy a classy Christmassy moment sipping a cocktail while watching a classic at either the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch or Holborn. Right through December, both will be screening Crimbo chestnuts including ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘The Grinch’ for the nice price of £10 including a cocktail and popcorn (mince pie flavour, a good thing? Discuss).

Until Dec 27, £10, including a cocktail and popcorn.


Nomad at Eccleston Place Courtyard

Anyone putting on outdoor cinema in winter is a sadist, right? Not in the case of Nomad, who are behind some of our favourite alfresco pop-ups. They’re bringing in heaters and a tent for their four-day festive film extravaganza near Victoria. There’ll also be winter-warming food from Madame Gautier and films include ‘Gremlins’, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Dec 10-13. £11-£27.50.


Discover more Christmas movie magic

The 50 best Christmas movies

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but is it the most wonderful time at the movies? Christmas films have something of a shaky reputation, conjuring up images of apple-cheeked brats, poorly animated reindeer and Bing Crosby in a dodgy cardigan. But the best Christmas movies have so much more to offer: in our list you’ll find psycho Santas, machine-gun terrorists and home-invading thieves – plus, of course, all the cockle-warming sentiment, feel-good frolics and classic Christmas movies for kids we demand for our festive viewing. 

Read more
By: Anna Smith