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Backyard Cinema: Mission to Mars

Forget the fold-down seats and put down the popcorn – cinema’s got a whole lot fancier. Immersive screening experience Backyard Cinema started, obviously, in a backyard, but they’ve scrubbed up a little since then (and moved indoors… well, mostly). Their latest theme has blasted off for spring – you’ll enjoy a journey to space, with classic sci-fi films to while away the hours as you travel.

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Safety first

You’ll start your Mission to Mars by going through intergalactic security, before you’re directed to the spacecraft itself, where you can settle into your (space-age) bean bag chair with some in-flight refreshments. Grab some space snacks and a cocktail from the spacecraft bar – try the Cosmos-politan or a Stagarita. Or both – it’s a long journey, after all.

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Intergalactic interactivity

Backyard Cinema create intricate sets to go with all their themes, featuring live actors and music (previous themes include Miami Beach, The Lost World and Romeo and Juliet), but this time, their real-life spaceship will actually take you into space* – before takeoff, explore the cockpit and have a go at driving yourself. Carefully.

*This may be untrue.

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In-flight entertainment

There is a wide range of everyone’s favourite sci-fi films on offer, including classics like Alien, The Fifth Element, Armageddon and E.T., thrillers like Star Wars, Minority Report and Blade Runner, plus family favourites including WALL-E, Space Jam and Men in Black. Keep an eye on that cockpit, though, in case it all gets a bit 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Local attractions

Backyard Cinema is conveniently located within Mercato Metropolitano, one of London’s best food courts – arrive a little early and munch your way around the vendors, where you’ll find Italian, Spanish and South Asian food as well as a number of bars. We recommend the gin cocktails to warm you up before your intergalactic adventure… and after, too, if you fancy.

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Get your Backyard Cinema tickets from £17.50 for an adult, and £9.50 for under-12s. You can also get date night packages, with your snacks, Prosecco and some blankets included, for £74 for two. No previous space training is required.

We love anything that can give a cinema experience that extra spice, and – we’ll be honest – they had us at ‘beanbag chairs’.

Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR