My birthday was just around the corner when I visited London this year. My sister and her husband, who live there, bought me the perfect gift – two tickets to the Rooftop Cinema at Bussey Building in Peckham.
To say that I was very pleased is a big understatement. When I travel, I am always on the lookout for cool and unusual things to do. This fit in perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
If, like me, you are looking for cool or unusual things to do in London, then read on. You’ll get all the information you need to have a great time.
As the name suggests, Rooftop Cinema means that you enjoy a movie in an outdoor setting on the rooftop of a building. Located in South London, in Peckham, the Bussey building is a fantastic place for this kind of experience.
What makes the location so great? The Bussey building is one of the highest building in the neighborhood. So, as you can see in the picture, you get unobstructed beautiful views of the London skyline. If you go there before sunset, you’ll get some amazing pictures!
Also, there’s a rooftop bar that opens two hours before the movie at 5:30 PM. So, you can relax and unwind at the bar and enjoy the view before your movie begins. If you are visiting during summer, I recommend that you try Pimms. It’s my favourite fruity drink to have during the summer.
There’s also a rooftop snack bar. So, you can grab a burger and fries to go along with your drink. For popcorn lovers, you can buy bottomless popcorn and the usual movie snacks like M&Ms at the Box office. If you don’t have time before the movie begins, you can take your drinks and snacks to your seats so that you can enjoy the snacks without missing the movie.
Along with your tickets, you are also given some blankets and head phones. The blankets are great to snuggle in when it gets colder during the evening. The headphones tune out most of the noise of the surroundings so that you can concentrate on the movie.
The seats are lounge chairs which are very comfortable. You can also book a rooftop love seat at the back of the lounge chair area which are better and have a clear view of the screen due to their higher positions.
The Bussey building is located at 133 Rye Lane in Peckham. The closest train station is Peckham Rye train station. Here’s a map to guide you.
My husband and I preferred to take an Uber to the intersection of Rye Lane and Bournemouth Road instead of the train. I loved the neighborhood’s ethnic and hip vibe. On a future visit, I would love to check out some shops there.
The entrance to the Bussey building itself is not very obvious. If you watch the number of the building closely, you’ll find a small arched doorway facing the Blenheim Grove with the words “133 Rye Lane, Copeland Park and Bussey Building”.
The arched doorway leads you to a narrow hallway that takes you to an open space. Walk towards the sign saying “Rye Lane Entrance A B C D’. Continue walking till you arrive at the sign Bussey Building B-Stairs . Take the stairs or the lift to the rooftop.
You can buy the tickets either online or in person at the box office. The box office opens an hour before the film starts around at 6:30 PM.
We booked our tickets online. This gave us a chance to have a look at what movies were being screened.
The Rooftop Film Club screens different movies on all days of the week starting at 7:30 PM during summer. This outdoor theatre screens not only brand new movies but also old cult classics.
We opted for “The Goonies”, a kids classic. Truth be told, we didn’t actually mind what movie was being screened. We just wanted to experience what it would be like to watch a movie in this setting.
We expected very few people to turn up for a kids movie. Surprisingly, the seats were almost completely booked! I could see why later. We had so much fun watching Chunk do his Truffle shuffle; it bought back some fond memories of childhood adventures..
The Rooftop film club, at the time of writing this, has two other venues in London. One at Shoreditch and another in Stratford. In my opinion, the rooftop cinema at the Bussey building is the best of the three.
The one in Shoreditch doesn’t have unencumbered views as the other two venues. Also, the movie screen has a backdrop of an office building. This, I think, can be very distracting. However, to be fair, I haven’t been to the other locations.
If you have been to the other locations or experienced some unique experiences in London, please feel free to comment in the comment section below. I would love to check them out and blog about it in future.
I hope you found this post useful. If so, please share it on social media and comment below.
Looking for a London Itinerary? Check out my 3 day London itinerary for first time visitors.
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