The summer is coming so why watch a film inside when London has all of these open-air movie watching options?
One of the most well-known open-air cinema screening seasons in London is Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. In the beautiful neo-classical courtyard, the fountains are switched off and movie lovers take over the space for 14 nights. Arrive before the film to enjoy early evening DJ sets and special guest introductions. Behind the Screen includes talks and workshops too.
The programme this year includes the almost-legendary British cult comedy Withnail and I; the wild-at-heart road-movie True Romance; and Audrey Hepburn in the 1953 classic romantic-comedy Roman Holiday.
Rooftop Film Club
Rooftop Film Club uses venues in Shoreditch, Stratford, Kensington and Peckham. It has screenings of cult classics and some recent releases on London rooftops until the end of September. Everyone gets wireless headphones and there are film-themed cocktails as well as fresh popcorn available. The Roof Gardens in Kensington would be my recommendation as it’s a fantastic secret venue.
Luna Cinema works across the UK and specialises in classic films enjoyed in beautiful or prestigious settings. London venues this summer include Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park, Brockwell Lido, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and One New Change looking across to St Paul’s Cathedral. You can upgrade to a premium ticket for a seated area, complimentary drink and priority access to the food and drink area.
Backyard Cinema literally started out in a north London back garden and still has that ‘invite your friends round’ feel. The shows at Camden Lock will be great this July as there are deckchairs, huge floor cushions, a decent BBQ and retro-dressed usherettes.
The Nomad Cinema
The Nomad Cinema has been roaming around London since 2010. It likes unusual venues such as Brompton Cemetery. Yes, you can watch a horror movie in a graveyard! Nomad has more of a festival vibe so bring a big blanket and snuggle up with good friends. There’s on-site catering or you can bring a picnic. And you can feel good about your night out as all profits go to charity.
The Floating Cinema
The Floating Cinema started as an Olympic project in 2011 and is going on a tour this summer to Bristol and back. The full programme is yet to be released but it will be in London in June and August at the start and end of its travels. Guests watch from the bankside so there’s plenty of space and you get to see some of London’s stunning waterways.
BP Big Screens
The Royal Opera House and BP are back together this summer for BP Big Screens bringing us three productions screened live, and for free, from the Royal Opera House stage. The best place to watch is in Trafalgar Square which can fit in over 10,000 people.
One of the world’s most romantic operas, Puccini’s La bohème, kicks-off the action on Wednesday 10 June closely followed by the complex and dark comedy, Mozart’s Don Giovanni on Friday 3 July. The final BP Big Screen of the summer will be The Royal Ballet’s heart-breaking Romeo and Juliet on Tuesday 22 September.
Hot Tub Cinema
Grab your swimming togs as Hot Tub Cinema has a completely different dress code to the other open-air venues. Here you jump in one of the 30 tubs with your six nearest and dearest friends and enjoy drinks and classic movies, plus a party afterwards. Feel like a movie star at the ‘Tub Tropicana Tour’ this summer. This is going to sell out quickly.
Kew the Movies
Over in west London at RBG Kew Gardens there’s Kew the Movies with four classics to enjoy under the stars in front of Kew Palace. You can take a picnic or order a picnic hamper to be waiting for you on the evening.
If you can wait until the end of the summer, The Scoop, next to City Hall, has free movies throughout September on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Do you have any favourite open air cinema venues? If so, let us know in the comments below.