Five of the best outdoor cinemas in London this summer

With a predicted heatwave just on the horizon, this summer promises to be one of the hottest in living memory. And on a balmy London evening, nothing beats watching a film under the stars, with a slice of pizza and a glass of Pimm’s to keep you company. We give you a run-down of the five best spots to park up in the sun and catch your favourite flick.

Image courtesy of Rooftop Film Club

Rooftop Film Club

Great films deserve great locations, and this unbeatable concept has become something of an institution, with screenings held at the Queen of Hoxton, Peckham’s Bussey Building and Stratford’s Roof East. The views from all three are picture-perfect, but we’d recommend heading to Peckham’s establishment at sunset for Instagram-friendly panoramic views of London. The 2019 season has already kicked off, and you’ll be able to keep watching films until the end of June. Showings combine classics such as ‘Grease’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ alongside modern additions such as ‘Us’, ‘Detective Pikachu’ and ‘A Star is Born’. As well as the views, you’ll also get the chance to really get in the zone with comfy deckchairs, blankets and state-of-the-art wireless headphones so you can really get engrossed in the magic of film. New for this year at the Stratford establishment is the House of Foos, a VR mix of traditional football and table foosball that is a first for the UK and exclusively available at Roof East.

Image courtesy of The Luna Cinema

The Luna Cinema

The beauty of this travelling cinema is in its location, with incredible venues such as Alexandra Palace, Westminster Abbey and Kensington Palace taking centre-stage alongside Dulwich Park, Tooting Common and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, to name but a few. Even more unique venues include Brockwell Lido, where you can get the chance to watch films such as ‘Jaws’ or ‘The Meg’ whilst floating on a dinghy. Unlike most other open-air cinemas, you’ll be able to bring your own picnic, and cheese boxes and other snacks are available for those with big appetites but lazier moods. You can also bring your own drinks (as long as they’re not in a glass container), and there are also bars serving up a range of wines, soft drinks and Estrella Damm beers guaranteed to wet your whistle. You can even book blankets and backrests to amp up the comfort factor, ready for collection when you arrive.

Image courtesy of Everyman

Everyman Presents: Summer Love

London’s canals are favourite spots throughout the summer to hang out at, and this summer, King’s Cross is teaming up with the Everyman Cinema to bring you the ‘Summer Love Film Festival’ from Friday 21 June to Sunday 14 July. On the bill this year are a combination of blockbuster flicks, cult classics, family favourites and an LGBTQ+ programme during Pride. Films are due to be shown throughout the day and every evening, breaking for Wimbledon matches during the day, and will be screened from the canalside steps on Granary Square, moving to the Everyman Theatre nearby if the weather doesn’t play ball. All films will be free-of-charge, and these include ‘Pride’, ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and ‘Romeo + Juliet’, amongst other choices still to be revealed. This is the perfect spot for a date night; bring a bottle of wine to help add to the romantic atmosphere.

Image courtesy of Somerset House

Somerset House

Arguably the grande dame of London’s outdoor cinemas, the spectacular Film4 Summer Screen is all about the location, with a magical London landmark providing the backdrop for the city’s largest outdoor screen. The line-up isn’t bad either, with blockbusters like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Matrix’ showing alongside independent Brit flicks, including ‘God’s Own Country’ and ‘This is England’. August is the month to head here, with 14 summer evenings on the bill for movie-going magic, icy-cool craft beers and lounging on beanbags or director’s chairs.  Opt for the August 8 screening and you’ll get the chance to watch Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film ‘Pain and Glory’, starring Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz.

Image courtesy of British Summer Time Hyde Park

British Summer Time at Hyde Park: Open House

Sandwiched between two weekends of legendary music, including Florence + the Machine and Lionel Richie, this central London hotspot promises street food stalls, pop-up bars, circus and cabaret performances, and outdoor film nights. Entrance to the cinema is free, and there are four separate categories this year: Musical Monday, Blockbuster Classics, Cult Classics and Icons of British Music. Bring along your own food and drink, kick back and enjoy classics including ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘The Greatest Showman’ and ‘Spice World – The Movie’. As well as films, there will also be free yoga classes, West End performances, craft beer festivals and even drag shows to keep all members of the family or your group of friends entertained. The films themselves will be showing from Monday 8 to Thursday 11 July, so plan accordingly and make sure to pack your picnic rug.

Words by Sam Hopkins

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