Recently I treated Steve to a early birthday surprise, by taking him to a drive-in cinema in London, put on by Experience Cinema who organise outdoor cinema events in various places throughout spring and summer. I knew that he’d love to go to a drive-in because anything that incorporates retro american culture and classic cars will always be a hit.
We went to see Grease, which was perfect! Steve literally knows every line word for word and not just the songs! I hadn’t seen it in years but it never ever gets old. The company was to change from hosting drive-in cinemas to rooftop cinemas after that night so I had to do things a bit earlier than originally planned, but this worked out well anyway, as Steve’s Capri was just back on the road and was ready for a road trip to North London.
We set out on the Sunday evening and stopped off at Bluewater on the way to try out the new Five Guys diner. I was really excited for Steve but worried he would think it was a lame surprise, especially as he took me to Disneyland Paris for my birthday. How could I beat that!? Eventually we drove near the hotel and he realised where we were staying.
‘The Pillar‘ – is a Kosher Hotel in Hendon. Neither of us are Jewish but the hotel was ideally located and looked lovely on their website, with great reviews and reasonable pricing – when I took into account the free secure parking. It turned out to be a great choice, we really enjoyed our stay – the staff were lovely, the free breakfast was great and the room was clean and beautiful so i’d definitely recommend. We stopped at the hotel briefly to freshen up and leave our overnight bags, then we got back in the car to head to the drive in!
I think Steve cottoned on to how we’d be spending the evening when we were at the hotel and I was reassuring him that his car wouldn’t be left unattended where we were going, plus, as the sat-nav took us closer the big signs kinda gave it away! We parked up early to get a good space and I revealed the hamper I’d brought along with all of his favourite drinks and snacks to make it a bit more special, with a couple of pillows for comfort. The only thing I regret not bringing with us was a blanket, as it was a cool evening and a bit drizzly so it would have been nice to put one round our shoulders.
Experience Cinema had really thought of everything! There were people on roller-skates to bring you cinema snacks and some hot street food style kiosks in the car park. They gave out headphones for those who couldn’t tune their radios to the right frequency and provided jump leads for you if you ran your car battery down!
Even though it rained a little, there was such a nice romantic atmosphere and the rain didn’t ruin it at all. Steve loved every minute and seemed really excited the whole time which made all the planning worthwhile. (Girlfriend points!) I would definitely recommend anyone to spend a night at the drive-in, it’s such a awesome way to spend an evening, doing something simple that feels somehow special and adventurous.