10 Brilliant Outdoor Cinemas Popping Up In London This Summer

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Outdoor cinemas

Popcorn at the ready, because a host of outdoor cinemas are returning to London for another stunning summer.

The best films that Hollywood can offer are arriving at outdoor cinemas across London this summer. Just got to hope they bring some of that LA weather with them, am I right?

1. Pop-Up Screens

Outdoor cinemas

Pop Up Screens are a charming addition to our outdoor cinemas. They take a screen, a bar, and a lovely green space, and turn it into the cutest date night in town. This year, they’re popping up in every corner of the city, beaming the likes of Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, 500 Days of Summer, and Pretty Woman onto their trendy inflatable screen.

The summer season runs from July 20th to September 23rd. Head over to Fever for locations and films.

2. The Luna Cinema

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @thelunacinema

Having pretty much invented the pop-up outdoor cinema, The Luna Cinema are dab hands at this by now. They’ve got screenings across the UK this summer, but the best are – obviously – found in London. If you’ve ever wanted to watch Jaws whilst sat in a rubber dinghy in Brockwell Lido (an oddly specific fantasy, but hey, we don’t judge), now is your chance. They’ll also have screenings at Alexandra Palace, Kensington Palace, One New Change, Westminster Abbey, and basically anywhere else suitably atmospheric.

See a full list of films and locations on their website.

3. Film4 Summer Screen

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @thesavoylondon

Possibly the most famous of the UK’s outdoor cinemas, the ever-popular Summer Screen series makes a welcome return for 2018. The iconic Somerset House is the backdrop for a diverse range of films, which this year include Call Me By Your Name, Labyrinth, and Inception. A landmark building for a landmark of outdoor cinema.

Runs from 9-22 August, more information here.

4. Rooftop Film Club

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @rooftopfilmclub

The only downside of films with views of dramatic city skylines is that you may not end up paying that much attention to the screen. It’s a risk well worth taking for Rooftop Film Club, though. With showings at Roof East, Queen of Hoxton, and Peckham’s Bussey Building, you’re sure to find the view (and maybe the film) for you.

Three locations, find them along with a full list of films here.

5. Herne Hill Free Film Festival

Outdoor cinemas

The biggest selling point here is in the title. But if you didn’t spot it, we’ll shout it far and wide: free film screenings! See the likes of Get Out, Paddington 2, and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, in the charming surroundings of Herne Hill. It’s not all about the blockbusters here; they’ll also show independent fare and short films, making this a grab bag of cinematic goodies. Best of all, they’ve partnered with a local foodbank to raise awareness, and will be accepting donations at screenings.

The festival runs May 1st to June 1st, and you can see what’s on here. No booking is required, but films are first-come, first-served.

6. Summer by the River

Outdoor cinemas

This three-month festival will be taking over London Bridge City from June 1st, and amongst the food and entertainment, you’ll also find a programme of free films. They’ll be showing in The Scoop, outside City Hall, and you can expect them to be family-friendly affairs. In front of you: great films. Behind you: stunning views of Tower Bridge. What lovely things to be stuck in the middle of!

Films are currently TBC, find out more about Summer by the River here.

7. Block Party Cinema

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @blockprtycinema

An outdoor cinema with a difference. Block Party heroes black and multicultural films that are all-too-often underrepresented on our screens, and throw music and street food into the bargain too. They’ll be at Pop Brixton all summer, and with free popcorn and ridiculously comfy beanbag chairs on offer, it’s a very welcome addition to the world of outdoor cinemas.

See the full lineup here.

8. Lost Format Society

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @lostformatsociety

Don’t be put off by the trek to Croydon, because this is one of the most unique outdoor cinemas around. Each year, the Lost Format Society transform the top deck of a car park into a big screen cinema, complete with a DJ, bars, and street food. They mix things up with a tantalising blend of big films, and smaller independent and arthouse fare, meaning there’s something for everyone.

Check their website for more information.

9. Nomad Cinema

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @thenomadcinema

A cinema that donates 100% of the profits to charity? Well, I guess it would be rude not to go! You hard-earned cash doesn’t just get you entrance to a film in dramatic surroundings here, it also goes towards funding sustainability projects in rural South Africa. Films on the roster here include Lost in Translation, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Moana, but you’d be daft to overlook Invictus, screened inside a rugby stadium.

The full range of films can be found on their website.

10. British Summer Time Open House

Outdoor cinemas
Photo: @izzieeizzi

British Summer Time is more known for the music, but they also run a pretty nifty outdoor cinema. It’s completely free, which means you get a lot of bang for absolutely no buck. They’ll be screening films each night between the 9th and 12th of July, although the lineup is currently under wraps. Plus, it happens in Hyde Park, which is a pretty iconic location for an outdoor cinema.

Keep an eye on their website for information about the showings.

Alex Landon

Alex Landon

Although Alex spent most of his life in Somerset and Durham, London is (almost) in his name, so he relocated to Clapham and fell in love with it. However, this has put him dangerously close to Infernos... You'll find him eating all of London's street food, lost in a bookshop, or shouting at his beloved ice hockey team, the Minnesota Wild.

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