Visiting the cinema has, and always will be, a go to day out. Whether it’s to pass the time on a rainy day, to finally see a highly anticipated film whose adverts you can’t escape, or for that nerve-wracking first date, it is an entertaining experience that rarely disappoints.
The go to places seem to be popular chains such as Cineworld or Odeon cinemas. Although these are fairly local and easily accessible, as students in a new city, you may want to try a different, and even some times cheaper cinematic experience. Liverpool is known for it’s love of arts and culture, and still thrives in its alternative, independent, and often unheard of cinemas and pop-up events. Many have stood the test of time and are still very-much loved by locals, so here are five examples of hidden gems around Liverpool that you have to visit.
FACT: Wood Street, Ropewalks quarter
FACT Liverpool (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is located just off Bold Street, and offers exhibitions, films and participant-led art projects, as the UK’s leading media arts centre. With four state of the art film screens and intimate sofa seating, FACT shows incredible and popular independent and mainstream films, through its partnership with Picturehouse. If you’re sick of the sight of Iceblasts, refreshments can be bought in the cafe, which is operated by the team behind LEAF, or at the bar. Slightly out the way from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, but in perfect walking distance from campus, FACT is reasonably priced and definitely worth a visit.
St Luke’s Bombed Out Church:
More formally known as ‘Bombed Out’, St Luke’s church is more than just a taxi drop-off point or a place to eat your take-away after a night out. The former Anglican Parish Church was completed in 1832 and is located on the corner of Berry Street and Leece Street, directly facing Bold Street. After being badly damaged in 1941 during the Liverpool blitz, the former church is a roofless ruin which stands as a memorial to those lost in the war, and also a venue for events after multiple restoration projects. In May 2017, Liverpool City Council gave a 30 year full repair and maintenance lease on St Luke’s, allowing it to continue to flourish and host music, arts festivals, and even a pop-up cinema. Sometimes as cheap as £5, Bombed Out Church showcases monthly screenings of much-loved classic films, in an unusual outdoor environment. It has become an arts venue which interacts with the community hosts unique events, so keep your eyes peeled for the next film announcement.
Woolton Picture House:
A little further afield from the city centre, Woolton Picture House, the oldest independent cinema in Liverpool, has retained its timeless charm. Built in 1926, Woolton Picture House is still popular with locals and tourists alike, with its old-fashioned decor attracting thousands every year. The cinema has a long history, from remaining open throughout the war years to provide Liverpudlians with a window to the frontline, to moving on with the times in 2012, with a new screen and digital projector installation. The music of Mantovani plays before the main programme and in the interval, with the opportunity to buy ice-cream from usherettes. For students, this is a great way to soak up some history of the city and watch a new film in a traditional setting. When providing student I.D, tickets are as little as £6.50, and you’re also in the prime location to venture around Woolton village. The village is filled with quirky cafe’s, eateries, pubs, and small shops nestled in back streets and alleyways. Lennon and McCartney are known to have met here, with Eleanor Rigby being buried in the nearby graveyard. Not too far from strawberry fields, Woolton Picture House is but one excuse to travel to this part of the city.
Right on our campus’ doorstep, The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall has hosted a multitude of world class artists. The Philharmonic was founded in 1840, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra hosting over 80 concerts each season in Liverpool, throughout UK venues, and globally. With all of its achievements, the Philharmonic Hall is more than just a venue for music. Aside from concerts, gigs and festivals, the venue space is also hired out for events such the University’s Graduation ceremonies, and reaches new audiences when it doubles as an alternative multiplex cinema experience. For a truly unique twist when going to see a classic, or even a popular film that has recently left cinemas, the last remaining Walturdaw cinema screen in the world raises out of the stage before every screening. Accompanied by resident organist Dave Nicholas, the screen loads the traditional 10 to 1 countdown, allowing the audience to build on the anticipation before the film begins. Plus, you avoid the 15 minutes of advertisements. For between £8 to £12, The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall gives you a last chance to see an anticipated film before you miss out, and get familiar with the venue and all the historical success which comes along with it.
Palm House Sefton Park:
Fancy watching one of your favourite films on a giant screen amongst exotic palms and botanical flowers? Say no more. The Palm House in Sefton Park – the magnificent Victorian glasshouse which displays plants from all around the world, can offer you just that. After the final stages of restoration, the Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust, a registered charity set up in 1996, took over management of Sefton Park Palm House. Since then, the venue has flourished, the picturesque scenery hosting markets, weddings, and even a pop-up cinema to name a few. The ‘film nights under the palms with blue air’ showcase award-winning favourites, anything from Pretty Woman to Cinderella, you name it. Prices are usually around £7.50 -£10, depending on the film or themed event, and is really an experience like no other. You get to watch a classic film under the glass dome, and it is the perfect location to venture around afterwards. Whilst in Sefton Park, which isn’t too far from some student accommodations, you could visit Lark Lane afterwards for food and drinks. Ideal for students with its famous bohemian reputation, Lark Lane is a hidden gem of Liverpool, filled with quirky cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, and shops. Located between Sefton Park and Aigburth Road, you cannot live in Liverpool for your studies and not have visited it at least once. So if you’re a lover of films and all things green, tickets for the under the palms events can be bought on their website, through their Facebook events, and often on Skiddle. If you’re looking to do something a little bit different or branch out around the city, this is definitely a great alternative for all you film fanatics.