A unique & quirky Christmas cinema experience in London at The Underground Film Club

There’s a timeless recipe in the dating world that has transcended all generational innovations and that is the dinner and a movie formula. So this weekend, on the backdrop of an intensely fiery London sky, we decided to pluck out a classic tradition and give it our own special festive shake up. Instead of a date, we made it a double date. Instead of dinner and a movie, we flipped it to movie and then dinner and instead of a conventional cinema, we headed through a murky graffiti tunnel underneath a London train station to reach perhaps one of the quirkiest cinemas in London town. No, I haven’t inhaled too many of Pumpkin’s mulled wine fumes and all is about to be revealed.December London fiery sunset

The Underground Film Club

The Underground Film Club run by the brains behind the Rooftop Film Club experience is a pop-up film experience, which I stumbled upon whilst looking for a last-minute Christmas day out. You may remember me mentioning in one of my recent posts, how Pumpkin plays the role of Scrooge rather well whilst gradually thawing to the idea of Christmas the closer it looms. And what better way to facilitate that than to drag him to a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol at this most alternative venue.Bulmers Underground Film Club

Underneath London’s Waterloo station, we followed the instructions to get to The Vaults and that was where we found the graffiti tunnel.graffiti tunnel Waterloo

Quite how I never knew this existed remains a mystery to me but it was full of colourful murals, artists in action, spray cans scattered like litter whilst the owners spun their creative yarn and the fumes told their own tale. We walked into the entrance labelled The Vaults but found this was actually a small gallery and not the cinema we were searching for, whereby we finally swallowed our pride to ask for directions.

If you’re heading there and get stuck too, walk up the ramp in the tunnel, come out the other end, turn left and you’ll see a side road next to a branch of Iceland supermarket. We were ushered in by staff, who were clearly expecting lost cinema-goers to be straddling the streets.pop up underground cinema experience London

Upon entry to the slightly creepy underground space, we were handed our comfy, wireless headphones. These were to be the mode through which we would hear the film, displayed on a large screen in a small but packed out room (book ahead to avoid disappointment and head for the more soft seats at the back.

If you’re sensible, you’ll arrive earlier to make the most of the fabulous bar with a combination of sofas and slouchy chairs that you could almost fall asleep on or to grab yourself some cocktails, mulled wine, cherry tarts or stay classic with some salty popcorn like me.popcorn underground film club cinema vaults london

This semi-comatosed chap gave me the fright of my life when I first walked in and for a fleeting moment, I feared I may need to use some of my professional skills on this Saturday night to resuscitate him before realising, with a sigh of relief, that he was in fact fake. As we watched the film, we giggled at the endearing muppets and felt the ghost of Christmas present waft over us, only occasionally interrupted by the sound of the trains rumbling above us.drunk man chair underground cinema

We ended our experience by having a mess around in the retro photobooth, which created some rather unique Andy-Warhol style snaps of the four of us, which I’m sure we’ll cherish when we finally feel too old for these shenanigans. Something tells me that’s a long way away though, so for now, we’re happy to keep seeking out London’s exciting quirks – in a city like this, it can be difficult to remain intrigued and surprised when you’ve been so spoilt for choice so it’s just as well that it never disappoints.#livecolourful photo booth pop up underground cinema waterloo

Merry Christmas to you all!

Practical Tips for Visiting The Underground Cinema

  • Ticket prices at time of publishing this post were 14.30 GBP per person
  • Bookings are currently open for the late 2014/early 2015 season until Saturday 17th January with a whole range of great cinematic classics so if you’re after an alternative Christmas experience or just a way to see out the January blues, book your tickets here!
  • The Underground Film Club events are for adults 18 years and older
  • Seats aren’t allocated so head down early to avoid disappointment and to enjoy the lovely bar and lounge area

16 thoughts on “A unique & quirky Christmas cinema experience in London at The Underground Film Club

  1. I love the ice of the UndergroFilm Club. Even in cities like Amsterdam there are alternate theatres with alternate films. We have been toying with the idea of starting something like this in our own city… Let’s see.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 8:50 am

      Thanks so much for reading Paramvir! I would love to see Amsterdam one day as I haven’t been before so it’s great to hear they have something similar there! I think it sounds fantastic that you guys are thinking of starting something like this in your own city 🙂

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I never knew this was under Waterloo station either – shows how much of London there still is to explore no matter how long you’ve lived here! Hope Pumpkin is a bit less Scroogey after this 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 8:51 am

      Haha he certainly was! It was all just so different and unique that the film almost became a secondary issue! I know how much you love going to the cinema so you should definitely try and catch a screening here 🙂

  3. Katie@From Shores to Skylines December 23, 2014 — 4:30 pm

    This looks like a great and different experience in London. Getting there sounds like half the experience too! Love the street art. The bar is a nice touch too, haha. Hope you have great holidays! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 8:54 am

      Thanks so much Katie! Happy holidays to you too! You’re completely right about the journey there through the graffiti tunnel really adding to the experience! I loved how they managed to keep it retro and stylish without it being at all gimmicky!

  4. Looks like a lot of fun and I’d definitely bear it in mind for a different cinema experience. Merry Christmas

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 8:56 am

      Thanks Suze! Merry Christmas to you too 🙂 It’s definitely quirky and very unique, which in itself can be hard in London when there’s already so many great activities and events going on!

  5. So much fun. I completely agree – movie THEN dinner is the best way. You can discuss everything at dinner then 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 9:02 am

      Haha thanks Frankie – you’re absolutely right and on top of that, doing it in that order also means that if I’m feeling like an old grandma, I’ll probably get home a tad earlier too!

  6. You took such beautiful pictures! They are all so breath-taking! What was your favourite memory from the place? Wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! XxX

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 9:15 am

      Thanks so much Agness! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too! I guess the whole film experience was a great memory in itself 🙂

  7. What a great idea, so much more interesting that a trip to the multiplex!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 26, 2014 — 9:07 am

      Thanks Lucy! Isn’t it brilliant?! I love watching films but somehow never make it to the cinema even for films I want to see but tried to dash down within a few days of hearing about this because it sounded so quirky & quite well priced considering a normal cinema ticket in London isn’t much cheaper!

  8. I think this is the same place I saw the Alice in Wonderland experience. I love how they use that space for stuff like this.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 21, 2015 — 5:47 pm

      Oh watching Alice in Wonderland somewhere like that must have been fabulous Jaklien! It was definitely the most quirky place I’ve ever been to see a film and regular cinemas haven’t felt quite the same since then! Would love to see another production there sometime ☺

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