The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, there’s a sprinkling of festive magic in the frosty air and streaming services are being taken over by rosy-cheeked Santas, oversized elves and hopelessly cheesy Hallmark romances. Any film lover will be in their element this winter, escaping the bitter chill to cosy up in front of the screen and be transported inside captivating stories. But if a mere rewatch doesn’t quite hit the spot for you, you can take it a step further, as London is brimming with fantastic film-related things to do, from immersive experiences to candlelight concerts. ‘Tis the season to indulge your love of film and television.
This year dinosaurs don’t just exist on the big screen, they’ve stomped their way into reality for a while, rippling the waters of London with the epic Jurassic World: The Exhibition. A perfect experience for people of all ages, you’ll not only encounter the toothy grin of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and stare into the icy eyes of the Indominus Rex but you’ll melt at the cuteness of the baby dinos and explore where it all began – with the amber-trapped mosquito in Hammonds Lab. Found at Excel London, this exhibition is ideal for any fans of the much-loved franchise.
Ok, it may not be a film but you can’t deny the cinematic series wouldn’t be out of place on the big screen. Actually, Stranger Things: The Experience takes things one step further; a rift has torn a hole in North London’s Troubadour Brent Cross Studios and created a gateway into the Upside Down world of the hit Netflix show. You’ll be able to put yourself in the retro jackets and old-school sneakers of Eleven and co. as you uncover the ominous ongoings of Hawkins lab, meet familiar characters, take advantage of unmissable photo ops and tuck into themed food and drink – Surfer Boy pizza anyone? Of course, you’ll need to keep your wits about you, Demogorgons and shady lab workers lurk around every corner in this 80’s-drenched experience.
Speaking of otherworldly adventures, Avora: New World Cocktail Experience whisks you away into a magical realm, brought to life by incredible set design, live actors and mesmerising projections. Your journey begins in a laboratory where you’ll be equipped with a jumpsuit and given a colour-changing cocktail to acclimatise you to the new world, next you’ll enter a mystical woodland for your second concoction and then, as night falls, you’ll forage for spirit-filled ‘Juniper Berries’ and sip your third cocktail by the colourful glow of bioluminescent flora and fauna. Let’s just say, if you loved the vibrant world of Avatar, you’ll definitely love the world of Avora.
Buckle up Back To The Future fans, this exhibition is for you. Featuring Europe’s largest collection of memorabilia from the franchise – everything from costumes and props to behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew – this is a wondrous window into the world of Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Forget decked-out DeLorean time machines and plutonium, you’ll be transported back in time as soon as you step through the doors in Camden Market Hawley Wharf. The Back In Time Exhibition opens on November 26 and promises a memorable experience with photo ops – fulfil your dream of hopping on a hoverboard – interactive displays and even an uncanny replica of the DeLorean itself.
We all know the tale of Simba’s journey to reclaim his throne – seen it told through striking animated adventures as a child – but there’s nothing quite like experiencing the story unfolding on stage. An award-winning musical, The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is a spellbinding piece of theatre, enchanting audience members of all ages with powerful vocal performances, incredible props, stunning set design and songs you can’t help but sing along to. I mean, try saying ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’ in monotone with absolutely no melody – it’s impossible.
If you really want to feel the festive spirit, with (jingle) bells on, then this enchanting candlelight concert is just the ticket. You’ll be in Christmas film heaven, listening to twinkling tunes and holly jolly harmonies from seasonal classics such as Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually, It’s A Wonderful Life and many more. The concert takes place at the centuries-old St. Mary’s Church, where a sea of candles will illuminate the historic architecture and talented musicians with a soft, flickering glow. Sit back and relax as a string quartet gives these familiar festive songs a stunning acoustic twist.
7. Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps with a visit to Platform 9 ¾
A trip to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross station is a must for any Potterheads. Make sure to grab your cloak and charge your phone up beforehand as this is a prime photo opportunity; just look out for the luggage trolley half embedded in the wall (and just pre-warn you there’s occasionally a queue, especially in the festive period). Once you’ve got the golden shot of you about to embark on your journey to Hogwarts you can also swing by the gift shop, reminiscent of Olliver’s Wand Emporium, to stock up on xmas gifts for like-minded friends and family members.
Have you not seen this much-loved musical yet? Big mistake, huge. Pretty Woman: The Musical is currently lighting up the stage at The Savoy Theatre in the heart of London. You’ll get to experience the classic rom-com we all know and love live on stage, with an added dash of powerful vocals and catchy songs that will have you grinning from ear to ear throughout. Thanks to an award-winning creative team, this revival of one of Hollywood’s most iconic 80’s romances is sure to have you falling in love with the story all over again.
9. Catch a beloved Christmas film at Backyard Cinema
Few things beat a good trip to the cinema – a magical place where you can forget the world for a few hours and become immersed in a new story – and at Backyard Cinema the immersion is taken to a whole new level. This Christmas it has been transformed into a winter wonderland, where you can board the Arctic Express for a wondrous journey past twinkling lights and snow-covered trees to plonk down on a beanbag in front of a festive film. Choose from seasonal favourites such as Elf, Home Alone, The Greatest Showman and The Polar Express.
London is a hotspot for filming, with its collection of historic architecture, bustling streets and iconic landmarks serving as a perfect backdrop to unlikely romances, witty comedies and slick spy capers. To explore one particularly cinematic spot look no further than this tour of the Old Royal Naval College, one of the world’s most popular filming locations. Over the course of 60 minutes you’ll find out secrets from behind the scenes, live out moments from films such as Four Weddings And A Funeral and Thor: The Dark World, and even walk the very halls Meryl Streep once strode through as the iron lady.
If you fancy spreading a little holiday cheer this Christmas why not give your loved one a Fever gift card? With it they can go to one of the many fantastic film-related experiences that can be found on the Fever website – including the aforementioned Stranger Things: The Experience and Jurassic World: The Exhibition. Plus, they don’t just have to stick with London, those looking to be spellbound can use it to meet the mystical creatures of Harry Potter: The Forbidden Forest Experience, located in Cheshire. All the power is in their hands.
12. Take a selfie with the film stars at Madame Tussauds
Ok so they might not be the real deal, but some of the waxwork figures can be pretty uncanny and may even fool a few friends when you post a photo on Instagram; at the very least it warrants a double-take. If you’re one to watch a film for the actors starring in it, then this may be the closest you’ll get to the stars of the big screen: see how you measure up to The Rock, bust out your best heroic pose in the Marvel Hall of Heroes and take a seat beside wise-cracking Han Solo.
13. Top it all off with a stay in a film-themed hotel
If you really want to go all in on a film lover’s day in London, then you better book a stay at a hotel to suit the occasion. The Wizard Chambers should be top of the list for any Potterheads. Sequestered away down a portrait-lined passageway in the lower ground floor of the Georgian House Hotel, these bewitching rooms are decked out with velvet curtains, cauldrons and many charming curiosities that will make it feel like you have stepped inside the films themselves. Alternatively, ibis Styles London Ealing has paid tribute to nearby Ealing Studios with budget-friendly prices and film-themed decor – think corridor carpets covered in film quotes, Hollywood-style bulb lights and cinematic cocktails such as ‘Some Like It Hot’.