Rainy day + kids on holidays = cinema time.  But not your average mulitplex for us this time, oh no.  Into the heart of Castlemaine* we journeyed, to enjoy ourselves at The Royal.

Photo source: Adventures in Biography

Photo source: Adventures in Biography

Gourmet ice-cream (I can vouch for the apple crumble flavour), good coffee and a comfy cinema full of atmosphere.  Oh, and the movie was OK too.

Originally a rough canvas and timber theatre established in 1852, The Royal is now the oldest continually operating theatre on the Australian mainland.  A few fires and a 1920s Art Deco update transformed the old girl, although in the seventies she fell on hard times.  Luckily many people loved her enough to bring her back to life and today she hosts regular national and international touring artists and live performers, an array of quality films, National Theatre Live screenings, MET Opera screenings and regular community events and private functions.

Even more importantly for the kids, in 2013 The Royal received a major upgrade with new seating, lighting and speakers as well as a conversion to full-HD digital cinema projection and 7.1 Dolby surround sound.

She’s not flash but she’s definitely funky.  Read all about the history of this wonderful theatre here.  Well worth a visit.  There is also an excellent bookshop, Stonemans Book Room, just a few doors along.

*Castlemaine is a beautiful former goldmining town in central Victoria, Australia.  And no, I am not member of the local tourism association!