The summer months are finally upon us, and now that we are actually allowed to socialise, the whole of the UK is in full planning mode.
For Londoners, this means the joy of the outdoor cinema.
Whether it’s a date night, a catch up with friends or something you want to do on your own, an outdoor cinema visit is well worth a trip – especially when the sun comes out.
Most London outdoor cinemas follow the same winning criteria: deckchair – tick, popcorn – tick, Prosecco – tick, but as you’ll see below, some really take it up a gear. We’re talking sand underfoot, iconic backdrops, gourmet grub and even options to watch by boat.
We’ve done some sampling, and rounded up the crème de la crème of London outdoor cinemas this season.
These are the London outdoor cinemas you’re going to want to book this summer…
1. Backyard Cinema:
Backyard Cinema is back and it’s had a summer revamp, converting its Capital Studios into Miami Beach, and offering themed L.A. Nights. It is not strictly an outdoor cinema, but it certainly feels like one with sand underfoot (30 tonnes of it), palm tree cocktails, boozy slush puppies and of course their signature slouchy beanbags.
Where is it? Backyard Cinema is located in Capital Studios, Wandsworth, with its Miami Beach offering open from 17th May and L.A. Nights open from 19th May.
What’s on? Backyard Cinema is all about the classics. Breakfast Club, Back to the Future, Parent Trap, A Star is Born, Pulp Fiction, Magic Mike, Dirty Dancing – you name it, they’ve got it. Plus, there’s sing-a-long Saturdays, with everything from Mamma Mia! and Grease to Pitch Perfect and Hairspray.
How much? Beanbag ticket prices range from £15 (stalls) to £29.99 (super premium), and are all sold as pairs.
2. Rooftop Film Club:
Rooftop Film Club is officially open, screening classic movies nightly across multiple locations. Expect comfy deckchairs (all seating is unreserved), popcorn, blankets, wireless headphones and stunning panoramic views, with the rooftop settings boasting iconic city backdrops. Arrive early to indulge in a Share A Slice pizza and some Prosecco from the rooftop bar.
Where is it? Rooftop Film Club has multiple locations. If you fancy a drive-in experience, Alexandra Palace and Brent Cross are open, but for the true rooftop experience, head for Bussey Building in Peckham and Roof East in Stratford.
What’s on? Every classic, rom-com and family film you can imagine, from Cool Runnings, Notting Hill and Moulin Rouge, to Amelie, Casablanca and Jurassic Park. There’s everything from Moana to Silence of the Lambs.
How much? Deckchair ticket prices range from £15.95 for a ‘lounge seat’, to £21.95 for a premium double deckchair with bottomless popcorn. And for the drive-in venues, it’s £27.50 per car.
3. Openaire Float-In Cinema:
Openaire Float-In Cinema presented by Häagen-Dazs is back this summer, mooring itself at Merchant Square, Paddington. The unique set up allows you to rent a boat with friends and watch with wireless headphones and blankets from where you’re floating. There are on-land deckchairs too for those who get sea sick. Plus, the food is unrivalled – artisan filled pasta by RaviOllie, Lady and the Tramp meatball subs and of course Häagen-Dazs delivered straight to your boat.
Where is it? Openaire Float-In Cinema is based this year in Merchant Square, Paddington.
What’s on? This year’s programme at Openaire is packed with classics. Expect everything from Anchorman, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Dark Knight, to The Sound of Music, Top Gun and Jaws. Also on the screening schedule is Mamma Mia!, Bohemian Rhapsody, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pretty Woman and Joker.
How much? Deck chair seats cost £19.25, but for the real float-in experience you’re going to want a boat ticket, costing £248.40 for an eight-person private boat. The ticket also allows you and your group to take the boat for a spin around the canals of Little Venice before the movie. There are just 16 boats available per film.
4. The Drive In:
The Drive In is as its name suggests a drive in cinema, showing everything from romantic comedies to live stand-up sets and West End shows. There’s an undeniable American feel to it, from the classic drive in aesthetic to the diner food delivered to your car – we’re talking cheese hot dogs, burgers and cheesy fries. And for those without a car, there’s even a Zipcar hire car option.
Where is it? The Drive In is near Tottenham, located on Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, N18 3QQ.
What’s on? Expect all film genres imaginable, from Mean Girls and Godzilla vs Kong, to The Witches, Queen & Slim and The Conjuring 3. Did we mention, it also plays the Harry Potter films? Not to mention, it sets itself apart from other outdoor cinemas by screening live events too, everything from stand-up comedy sets to West End shows.
How much? Ticket prices cost £19.99 per car.
5. The Luna Open-Air Cinema
The Luna Open-Air Cinema is one of the most-known outdoor cinemas, with pop-up venues across the country at historic landmarks and iconic parks. You will have to bring your own chair, but there’s a full bar and plenty of gourmet food stands on site to indulge in.
Where is it? There are venues across the UK at iconic buildings but London’s offerings include Westminster Abbey, Victoria Tower Gardens, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Royal Hospital Chelsea. Also look out for pop-up cinema nights at Kensington Palace, Brompton Cementery, Clapham Common, Brockwell Park and Wandsworth Park.
What’s on? Luna Cinema offers so many options that you can actually browse by film over venue on their site. Expect everything from Notting Hill, Back to the Future and 1917, to The Princess Bride, Sister Act and Singing in the Rain.
How much? Tickets cost £15.50, and unlike the other more formal set-ups, you need to bring your own chair and blanket.
We want your recommendations too so if you we’ve missed any off, get in touch @MarieClaireUK!