As views of London go, you’d be hard pressed to find many better than the one from this location. It’s not exactly a hidden gem or secret discovery, but it is still breath-taking to behold.

Elements like this actually make a big difference to the viewing experience of any movie.Imagine how disappointing it would have been to travel across London to a nondescript multiplex in the middle of a business park or hurrying home from a late night screening across a dodgy part of town?

Beats the average walk to the cinema

The setting is perfect. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is home to London’s only planetarium. As part of the entry fee for the film season (more on that shortly), you also get access to the planetarium and observatory itself. Think of it as an after hours look around a museum, which in all honesty is a dream for most of us in itself.

The view from up top. Worth a visit on their own.

The staff on hand couldn’t be more welcoming. Happy to point out some of the many highlights, and even encourage you to see more.

The atmosphere for the screening was fantastic given the build-up, and this was before we had even set foot in the planetarium itself where our chosen film was to be screened.

The film was to be projected onto a portion of the dome roof above us. As uncomfortable as this might initially sound, don’t be put off. The seats are slanted in such a way that you get a perfectly natural view of proceedings. The seats are also very comfortable and roomy, much more so than your average cinema would offer.

Perfect views for every seat in the house (Picture: ©National Maritime Museum)

We were given a short introduction by one of the resident astronomers. Our host told us about the sci-fi season being something of a passion project for himself and his colleagues, and the film we were about to watch was one of his personal favourites.

Silent Running, the film in questions, was one I have had on my need-to-see list for decades now. It’s been referenced as a classic in the genre with its environmental message and themes of conservation becoming more relevant with each passing year.

In July the animated thriller, A Scanner Darkly, will be gracing our screens as Richard Linklater directs Keanu Reeves as an uncover cop in a future ravaged by mass drug addiction and excessive police surveillance. August and September showcase George Lucas’ lesser known THX-1138 and creator of Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton’s Westworld.

As a brief review, I can’t talk highly enough about the movie we saw. It’s smart and introspective yet manages to avoid any navel-gazing tropes that have followed since it was first released in 1972. Bruce Dern makes for an unconventional lead, who is clearly unhinged by the point we first meet him, yet utterly the focus of the film.

No, don’t worry. This wasn’t taken during the film, but at the presentation afterwards.

It’s a sci-fi masterpiece, and we were treated to a fabulous scientific breakdown of the scenes we had just watched in a lengthy presentation afterwards.

Again, don’t be put off by that. The enthusiasm with which our host spoke, and the humour he brought to it, made for a pleasing finish to a fantastic night. It felt like the best film club event I had ever been to.

The night before I had spent the evening at Secret Cinema. Although much has rightly been made of the financial costs of event cinema, Silver Screen Sci-Fi is an entry level experience which is arguably better than the more expensive alternatives.

I’ll be going back later this year, and throughout the summer.

London’s only planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is currently hosting a Silver Screen Sci-Fi Season playing cult films featuring deep space, dystopia and defective androids.

For more information and to book tickets for the next screening, please visit: