Londoners have had to give up on many dog-friendly cinema experiences, this year, due to theatres being shut for Covid. But there is some good news for humans and pooches of London: Openaire, Mechant Square and dog-friendly GoBoat have joined forces and will be offering a new experience: a dog-friendly floating open-air cinema on the Regent’s Canal. [Cover photo credits: Openaire / Merchant Square]
Dog-friendly floating open-air cinema on Regent’s Canal
The “float-in” cinema will take place from 2nd September until 27th September 2020, on Paddington Basin Canal just by Merchant Square. The seating plan will involve 16 GoBoat electric boats, providing seating for up to 128 people (max 8 people (and dogs) each), with the chance to go for a self-driven ride on the Canal before the show. However, if you prefer to stay on land, dozens of deckchairs will be placed on the canalside. And the great news is that well-behaved dogs (no barkers) will be welcome to the shows!
With two screenings a day, Wednesday to Sunday, starting at 5pm and 8:30pm, and a good programme with selected blockbuster hits, it can be a chance for a lovely evening out.
What to expect
Boat or deckchair? To get the most out of the experience, you can get a ticket that includes hire of one of GoBoat’s dog-friendly electric boats for you and your family/friends and doggies (sits 6 to 8 people including dogs, of which max 2 households or 4 individuals from different households maintaining a 1-meter distance). The ticket includes a 3-hour hire, which will give you the time for an optional 1-hour trip on the canal around Little Venice (being your own captain) before mooring to watch the screening. We had previously been invited for a dog-friendly trip along the Regent’s Canal with GoBoat and it is a lovely experience that we’d recommend.
Alternatively you can purchase a seat on the deckchairs.
The programme. From Titanic to Grease, the Rocketman to Joker, The Lion King and Knives Out, The Greatest Showman and Lala Land, there is a good range of choice for your evening.
Screen and audio. A giant 6x3m Hi-res LED video screen facing the water will show selected blockbuster hits and high-quality audio will be provided via sanitised wireless headphones.
Food. Of course there will be food and drinks! Popcorn and snacks will be available to order via a dedicated app and delivered straight to your boat or deckchair.
Well-behaved dogs are allowed at the screenings (on the boats on on land), however life jackets for them will not be provided. Therefore, we would recommend that you bring your own dog lifejacket or, at least, fit them with a harness with a handle in case they were to jump into the canal (we have had a previous experience of the kind…).
In order to ensure that everyone can have the best time at the show, the organisers add “if your pet is notoriously noisy then we politely request for you to leave them at home.” I think this may rule out for many the Rocketman sing-along show in case your dog is particularly inspired to join the choir, unless he/she is particularly tuned and talented…
Tips for your visit
- If you go to the evening show, bring something warm to wear! At a previous outdoor evening cinema screening we found that blankets were very essential to get through the evening.
- We are not sure whether dog bowls will be provided – in doubt, bring your own.
Dog-friendly float-in cinema | Key info
Where: Paddington Basin Canal just by Merchant Square (postcode W2 1AS).
When: 2nd September 2020 to 27th September 2020, Wednesday to Sunday, two screenings a day. Rain or shine.
- Tickets cost from £200.00 which includes boat hire for six people and film. Additional passengers will be charged at £25 per person and max capacity is eight people per boat. Buoyancy aids are provided for people, but not for dogs. Included is an optional one hour of cruising time before returning to settle in and enjoy the film whilst remaining on the boat. Your arrival time will dictate how long you can play skipper, you must be moored up in time for film start.
- Deck chair tickets are available for £5.00.
How to book your ticket: Full programme and bookings on Openaire’s website.
How to get there: By public transport, the nearest station is Edgware Road and Paddington station is a short walk away. You can get the shortest route using the Citymapper map below (opens in your own app if you have it installed).