Kensington is one of London’s classiest districts and the cinema experience here is certainly no different. If you’re looking for an attraction near Kensington after you’ve spent an afternoon walking around the gardens where you can put your feet up in front of a good film, cinema is certainly a great option and, in fact, a very traditional London pastime.
Whether you want to catch an old classic or that new release you’ve been meaning to see, Kensington is the place to watch some good old cinema.
Situated just north of Kensington Gardens in the district of Bayswater is Whiteleys shopping centre. Now Whiteleys has an incredible history as a destination for the rich and famous, but it also has some absolutely prime entertainment, including bowling and excellent restaurants. Top of the lists though is the Odeon-run Lounge cinema, which aims to revolutionise the practice of cinema and give it an altogether more classy reputation. And that starts with the food. Expect restaurant-style service either in the dining room or, if you prefer to watch the film while eating, in front of the screen itself. The venue has been cleverly designed so that the waiters can get to each and every seat without disturbing the people behind during the show. So whether you want to see what’s for pudding or just think this action sequence with Liam Neeson would go down much better with a beer in hand, there’s no need to rush to the lobby.
It’s always worth seeking out a Curzon cinema in London if you’re into film. Even if you don’t enjoy the film itself, the facilities are second to none. Indeed, the bars and cafes have attained such fame that you’ll often see hipsters and university students chilling out there with their laptops without any intention of seeing a film. Drink selections tend to the themed – the Soho venue carries a number of great Czech beers that are just exquisite accompaniments to the film while the Victoria Curzon (which is nearer to Kensington) goes for more local fare with British-based drinks.
Curzon specialise in arthouse and European films but more often than not screen a selection of big Hollywood hits as well.
Ever looked around your local cinema and thought, ‘You know, the only way this could be better is if it was on a rooftop’. No? Get over – everyone thinks it at least once in their lifetime. Well, someone at the Rooftop Cinema team certainly thought it – and took it one step further and even made it a reality. Rooftop Cinema tours around London showing off an exciting programme of old favourites that you might want to indulge in. Inclusions vary dramatically in drama and age – one night you might be watching Back to the Future, the next it might be an adult singalong for Disney’s Frozen.
Although Rooftop Cinema moves around the capital, one of its regular homes is at Kensington Rooftop Gardens. Tickets often include barbecued food and heaters are provided, but even so – bring a jumper since London is far from the warmest city in the world at this time of year! And you never know – you might find yourself looking around looking around thinking ‘You know what would make this better? Hot tubs.’ What? They already did that? Oh.
Spacious and luxurious, Odeon cinemas are your best bet if it’s new releases that you’re after. They’re always up to date with the latest offerings from Hollywood while their experienced staff are great at ushering you to your seat – via the snack bar first, of course. Pick up popcorn (which one do you prefer, sir? Sweet or salty?) or a packet of M&Ms before taking your seat for a couple of hours of pure escapism.
If you prefer your cinema viewing to be a little more educational, then the established and famed Science Museum in Kensington’s museum quarter is your best bet. Its enormous screen offers incredible 3D viewing for a range of exciting documentaries. Check the programme before showing up – the best ones are generally the animal-based ones, which are such an incredible experience that it feels like you can practically reach out and touch the animals.