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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 list of pop-up Christmas screenings

Sarah Cohen
Written by
Alice Saville
&
Sarah Cohen
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What’s your favourite Christmas film? Are you a ‘Home Alone’ fan or more of a ‘Love Actually’ devotee? Do you think vintage classics like ’It’s a Wonderful Life’ conjure up festive feels more than genre fare like ‘Die Hard’ or ‘Gremlins’?

Whichever seasonal movie is closest to your heart, it’s bound to be screening in London over the next few weeks. Pop-up cinemas are, er, popping up all over the city and many of our beloved independent picture houses have curated ace Christmas-themed seasons and special events.

Settle down with a mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine and get caught up in festive big-screen nostalgia.

RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to Christmas in London.

Christmas film screenings in London

  • Film
  • Comedy
  • Leicester Square

The Prince Charles Cinema Christmas all-nighter is back this December, with five festive flicks: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, ‘Elf’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Die Hard’. Don your best PJs (Christmas-themed for bonus points), bring a cosy blanket and settle in. The bar is open until midnight, and the kiosk will be open all night for snacks, coffee, water, and other goodies. The event runs from evening until the next morning, with the five classics playing back-to-back. Between each film, there’s a short break for you to stretch your legs, visit the loo, or sing some carols. Which all sounds dandy. Just one question from us: Where’s ‘Scrooged’? Hmm? Book tickets here.

  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Kensington

What a better setting for a wintry cinema experience than the Orangery Lawn of Kensington Palace? Cosy up in the Pavilion and catch Christmas classics like ‘Home Alone’, ‘Elf’, ‘Love Actually’ and ‘It's a Wonderful Life’. Or alternatively, make for south London icon Battersea Arts Centre, which is hosting festive films for the first time in its gorgeous red-brick gothic surrounds. Both venues will be souped up with Luna Cinema’s signature theming: giant Christmas trees, falling snow, and plenty of suitably festive food and drink options. Book tickets here.

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  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Limehouse

Backyard Cinema is taking over much-loved art deco cinema the Troxy this December with spectacular nights of films old and new. It’ll deck out the venue with Christmas trees, seasonal decorations and plenty of surprises for audiences who gather to watch ‘Love Actually’ ‘Elf’ or ‘Home Alone’. And in classic Backyard Cinema style, it’s also created a surprise to sit alongside the movie: George the Poet’s take on Christmas traditions will air with a live soundtrack from choir Some Voices. If this double helping of Christmassy delight gets your taste buds going, rest assured there are plenty of refreshments on offer, including mulled wine and mince pies. Book tickets here.

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Wapping

As well as cosy igloo-shaped pods, an ice rink and stunning skline views, Tobacco Docks’ rooptop playground, Skylight, is fitting in a Christmas Cocktail Cinema. From November 26 to December 24 (plus New Year’s Eve), you can sip hot or cold drinks in front of festive flicks like ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, ‘It's a Wonderful Life’, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ and many other classics. Book tickets here.

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  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Tower Bridge

Enjoy a shipshape night of cinema on a gently bobbing pontoon at St Katharine Docks’ Christmas Floating Film Festival, which offers flicks and gorgeous vistas over the water. There’s nothing to rock the boat in the fest’s film choices, which include much-loved family favourites such as ‘Home Alone’, ‘Love Actually’ and ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’. But the setting offers lots to shout about: there’s a gigantic Christmas tree, twinkling fairy lights reflected in the dock’s waters and pretty boats galore. The fest offers lots of creature comforts too, including cosy blankets, mulled wine and hot chocolate to warm your cockles. Book tickets here.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Greenwich

There’s a lot going on at Greenwich Peninsula this Christmas. You can browse fresh, local produce at the seasonal edition of Flow farmers’ market or sample festive street food from around the world at the Design District Canteen food hall. Check out lighting collective Squidsoup’s ‘Wave’, an audio-visual, interactive light display made up of 500 suspended orbs. Or settle down in front of a Christmas classic like ‘Love Actually’, ‘Elf’ or ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ in Design District’s Winter Movie Nights season (weekends from December 4 to 19). You’ll never want to leave. Book tickets here.

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  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Marylebone

A very charming secret roof terrace, right close to Marylebone. but also a stones throw away from Baker St station, is providing a posh movie pop-up this winter. Films include iconic titles like ‘Home Alone’, ‘Love Actually’, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. There’s more to it than movies though. The Kitchen at Holmes’s seasonal winter tasting menu (with a complimentary glass of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut)‚ sounds pretty great: smoked burrata, smoked ink cuttlefish croquettes and grilled octopus. Films are shown in a ‘Narnia-esqua wonderland’, accompanied by popcorn, fairy lights and fur throw heaven. Book tickets here.

Discover more Christmas movie magic

The 50 best Christmas movies
  • Film

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. 

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