As the capital sees a rise in baby-friendly cinemas, we round up the best parent and baby screenings and cinemas in London.
As a new parent, it’s easy for once-avid cinephiles to forgo the idea of seeing the latest releases and settle into endless reruns of Homes Under The Hammer instead. After all, once baby is bathed and in bed, the idea of a two-hour showing at 9.30pm sounds less than appealing for tired parents. But a new bunch of baby-friendly cinemas and screenings are here to change that.
The first year of your child’s life could potentially be jam-packed with wonderful trips to the big screen, even if all the pair of you want to do is snuggle up and nap. London is filled with amazing baby-friendly screenings that even the most flustered new mums can settle into.
Unless you are lucky enough to be sitting front-row at the Lexi in Kensal Rise, eschew a pram (if you can) in favour of a carrier or car seat, and free up your arms with a backpack. Bring a couple of swaddles and blankets to create a cosy space for baby, and stock up on drinks and snacks on arrival so you can use this as an opportunity to eat your lunch.
Most importantly, going to the cinema is a great way to get you out of the house, even on rainy days, and make great daytime dates with dad or friends. With that in mind, here are our picks in the capital.
The Best Baby-Friendly Cinemas and Screenings in London
Electric Scream! at Electric Cinemas
Where: Portobello, White City
When: Monday mornings at Portobello, Tuesday mornings at White City
A former Notting Hill institution, The Electric now owned by private members’ club Soho House and has a sister venue in White City. The Electric has been lovingly restored to its former glory with leather armchairs and two-seater sofas, complete with cashmere blankets and footrests. Park your pram at the end of the row or at the back of the auditorium and bed down with baby while drinks and pastries are brought to your seat from the bar.
Book your baby-friendly cinema screening at The Electric: electriccinema.co.uk/
Cares & Babies Screenings at Lexi Cinema
Where: Kensal Rise
When: Monday at 11am
Going to the Lexi in Kensal Rise feels a bit like visiting an old friend’s house. The popcorn is in bowls, the tea is in mugs and the ticket prices are low, with all profits going to charity. Above the screen there is a gorgeous Bruce Munro light installation, which you may find has a hypnotic effect on your little one. Be sure to arrive early, as the prized seats are right at the front where you can park you pram by your feet.
Book into the baby-friendly cinema: thelexicinema.co.uk
Parent and Baby Screenings at the Barbican
Where: Barbican, London
When: Monday and Saturday at 11.15am
Nestled inside the sprawling concrete building, the cinema at the Barbican is surprisingly cosy. Prams are left at the back of the screening room, with plush chairs and excellent coffee and snacks to hand (if you’re feeling peckish, the crêpes are just the ticket). Lighting is left on, too, so there’s no risk of falling asleep.
Book the Barbican baby cinema: barbican.org.uk
Parent & Baby Club at Rio Cinema
When: Thursday at 11:30am
Set in a beautiful art deco building on Dalston’s Kingsland High Street, this community cinema may not be the most luxurious screening experience in London, but it is definitely one of the best. The bar offers exceptional coffee and artisan snacks – think chicken-salt popcorn, onion bhajis with a mint yoghurt dip and salted caramel, miso and chocolate ice cream sandwiches. It’s one to pack light for if you can, as prams are left in the lobby and you’ll need a free hand for all that snacking.
Book a baby friendly cinema screening: riocinema.org.uk
Olympic Studios Baby Cinema
When: Tuesday at 11:00am
Set in the heart of Barnes, Olympic Studios offers a sophisticated cinema experience. Prams are left by the door, so be sure to bring a blanket to curl up with your little one in the roomy, reclining seats. It’s a perfect place to meet up with other parents, as the adjoining restaurant is bright and spacious enough for even the bulkiest pushchairs, and offers an indulgent seasonal menu.
Book a baby-friendly screening: olympiccinema.co.uk
Baby Club at Everyman Cinemas
Where: Various locations across London
When: Weekly screenings. Times vary at each location.
Everyman cinemas pride themselves on their luxury feel and premium experience. And this is no different for the weekly Baby Club cinema screenings. Tickets come with a hot drink and a slice of cake, brought to your sofa-side table. Prams are parked at the end of the row, so bring a blanket to place your slumbering baby on. These mornings are very popular, so be sure to book in advance. If you can’t make a Baby Club event, babies under 12 months will be admitted free of charge to any U or PG film before 5pm, 7 days a week.
Book into an Everyman Baby Club screening: everymancinema.com/
Big Scream at Picturehouse Cinemas
Where: Various locations across the UK
When: Times vary depending on location
Low lights are left on in the auditorium and nappy changing facilities are available at Big Scream screenings at Picture House cinemas. Exclusively for parents or carers with babies under the age of one, the special screenings are a great time to meet with friends, or take some time out for yourself and indulge in a little screen time. Picturehouse Cinemas also offer a Kids Club on Saturdays, showing a matinee of a recent hit or an old favourite, plus fun activities for the tots. Our favourite Picturehouse cinemas for baby-friendly screenings are The Ritzy in Brixton, Greenwhich Picturehouse and Clapham Picturehouse.
Book Big Scream baby screening at Picturehouse: picturehouses.com/
Code of Conduct at Baby Cinema Screenings:
– If baby cries, you have a minute to try and sate her in your seat, at which point you should go to the end of the aisle and jiggle her. You then have another three minutes, at which point you should head into the lobby.
– Noisy snacks are encouraged. You deserve nachos, you’ve just had a baby.
– Preferably, nappy changes should happen in the bathroom, but during exceptionally interesting parts of the film a quick wet change is permissible.
– It’s fine to keep your phone on (on a dim setting) as chances are you will get distracted, miss critical movie moments and need to check the Wikipedia plot summary to keep up.
– No shushing, sighing or rolling of eyes – we are all in this together!
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