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Discovering England’s Oldest Working Cinema – Kinema in the Woods

by | Feb 18, 2024 | England, Things to see

kinema in the woods

As a traveler who enjoys immersing in local culture wherever I roam, I was delighted to recently discover a hidden gem in the Lincolnshire countryside that offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into England’s cinematic history. Tucked amid woodlands in a quaint market town, the Kinema in the Woods stands today as the country’s oldest working cinema. This family-run establishment first welcomed audiences in 1922 – over a century ago!

Venturing to this charming locale provided a whimsical evening relishing in the ambiance of cinema’s early 20th century heyday. From the fixtures to the films, stepping inside these doors feels like time traveling straight back to the glitzy days of Gatsby and ginger ale. If you find yourself nearby this unique institution, be sure to stop for a show! Here’s everything you need to know to plan a memorable visit to the Kinema in the Woods:

The Origins & History of Kinema in the Woods

Local businessman William Henry Everard first erected the Kinema back in 1922 within a pine forest on the outskirts of Woodhall Spa. The 300-seat cinema was intentionally built among nature as a peaceful respite for recovering soldiers residing in nearby convalescent camps after WW1.

Right from the early days, avant garde design created an enchanting escape – twinkling fairy lights lined the pathway through woods to the Kinema’s doors. Inside, an indoor courtyard with a central fountain welcomed patrons beneath the open sky. Everard wanted to transport audiences far from the troubles of reality.

Today, the Kinema amazingly maintains virtually all the same magical details for visitors to admire. Its secluded locale and quirky Tudor-style architecture still allow you to feel worlds away. Stepping inside the cosy timber and brick building capped with Spanish red roof tiles takes you back generations while iconic neon lights flash retro charm.

Taking In A Show at Kinema in the Woods

The best way to soak up the atmosphere at the Kinema is by catching a screening of course! The theatre has operated continuously since its opening night a full century ago, surviving despite cinema ups and downs. It remains committed to showcasing a wide variety of films from all eras to entertain loyal crowds.

On any given week, you can catch everything from recently released blockbusters to special throwback showings of classic flicks from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Keep your eyes peeled for fun themed events and children’s activities as well.

I felt utterly transported watching an Abbott and Costello comedy from the 40s flanked by vintage film posters and art deco wall sconces! Almost like experiencing the movie twice – onscreen and all around me! Other visitors have even reported sightings of Everard’s helpful ghost still roaming the aisles.

Snacks and Nosh

No trip to the cinema would be complete without snacks, and the Kinema’s old-school sweets shop stacks up to any modern concession stand! Stock up on retro treats like popping corn and candy before the show. I couldn’t resist taking home a container of their signature melted butter flavored popcorn – so deliciously addictive!

For heartier appetites, two new eateries adjoin the theatre – Lucia’s Street Kitchen and Everard’s Restaurant. Lucia’s offers quick Mexican-inspired bites like tacos and quesadillas that you can bring in to munch while watching flicks. Everard’s is a lively brasserie and cocktail spot perfect for lingering over dinner pre or post-show. I loved imagining the space crowded with stylish patrons decades ago!

Insider Tips For Visiting

If a trip to the Kinema in the Woods sounds up your alley, here are helpful tips:

  • Check film schedules and book tickets online in advance since showings often sell out quickly at the intimate venue
  • Allow extra time to explore displays in the onsite museum covering cinema history before the movie starts
  • Dress for the setting! Don your best retro frock, suspenders or fedora to match the vintage theme
  • Monday nights at 7:30pm offer bargain seating – all tickets just £4!
  • Special events like outdoor screenings, wine tastings, comedy acts, theatre performances, live orchestra shows, children’s clubs and more occur year-round so keep an eye out.

A One-of-a-Kind Travel Experience

After my enchanting evening relishing in nearly a century of cinema history at the Kinema in the Woods, I find myself eagerly awaiting a return visit. Like a trip back in time with a modern twist! From the secluded woods setting to the carefully preserved heritage, this charming institution offers more than just a movie screening – it provides precious insight into Lincolnshire life throughout changing times. An absolute must-see for travelers intrigued by culture and nostalgia!

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