Outdoor cinemas in the UK
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The Best Outdoor Cinemas for Summer

The only thing we like more than cosying up in front of a good movie is cosying up in front of a good movie at a spectacular outdoor location.

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

Lucky then that we’re spoilt for choice with alfresco cinemas this summer. Get ready to grab a picnic blanket and some popcorn because, without further ado, here is our round-up of the best outdoor cinemas for summer.

1. The Luna Cinema

Where: Multiple locations

When: Thursday, June 22 – Sunday, September 24

Website: www.thelunacinema.com

One of the most established names in outdoor cinema, The Luna Cinema's line-up for 2023 is perhaps its best yet.

Heading to the likes of Wimbledon, Chiswick, Westminster Abbey, Reigate, Bath Rugby Club, Chester Zoo, and Lulworth Castle in Dorset – it covers 36 locations all over the country so you’re sure to find a screening nearby – the movie magic kicks off on Thursday 22 June at Highfields Park in St Albans.

Enjoy everything from Elvis, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Dirty Dancing to Top Gun: Maverick, The Great Gatsby, and Moulin Rouge in some of the most breathtaking locations in the country, including castles, abbeys, country houses, and even the odd palace.

Throughout the winter there’s also a drive-in cinema option at Bluewater in Kent, if you fancy watching from the comfort of your own car.

Enjoy The Luna Cinema in some of the most breathtaking locations in the country, from castles, abbeys, and even palaces!

Enjoy The Luna Cinema in some of the most breathtaking locations in the country, from castles, abbeys, and even palaces

2. BST Hyde Park Open House

Where: Hyde Park, London

When: Friday 23 June – Wednesday 5 July

Website: www.bst-hydepark.com/open-house/

As if there wasn’t enough to get excited about for this year’s BST Hyde Park – we snapped up our tickets to see Bruce Springsteen months ago – London’s biggest summer festival will also be hosting its popular midweek Open House series again this year, where movie lovers can catch some classic films as part of its huge outdoor cinema experience. Alongside screenings of the likes of Cool Runnings, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Annie and Miss Harris Goes to Paris, visitors can also expect yoga in the park, theatre performances, arts and crafts, and circus skill workshops alongside pop-up bars and street food markets. The best bit? Entry is free.

3. Rooftop Film Club

Where: Peckham and Stratford, London

When: Until the end of August

Website: www.rooftopfilmclub.com/

If you’re in the mood for something a little edgier, head to the trendy rooftops at Peckham’s iconic Bussey Building or Stratford’s Roof East for the return of Rooftop Film Club this summer. Screening everything from the latest blockbusters to old favorites and indie flicks – this year you can expect the likes of Lost in Translation, You’ve Got Mail, and Back to the Future to name a few – we recommend arriving early to grab a good spot, as seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t worry, there are plenty of great F&B options including traditional Neapolitan pizza and expertly-crafted cocktails to keep you well-fed and watered while you wait.

[ Note that start times are approximate and will vary according to the sunset, but they generally kick off around 9 pm. ]

Outdoor cinema with a london skyline view
Peckham's super cool rooftop cinema
The Barbican is the ideal place for outdoor movies
Outdoor cinema at the barbican

4. Outdoor Cinema at the Barbican

Where: The Barbican, London

When: Wednesday, August 23 – Sunday, September 3

Website: www.barbican.org.uk

Marrying both style and substance in the art centre’s sculpture court, this pop-up alfresco cinema is a magical spot for an evening of film under the stars.

Forget cheesy rom-coms or teen horror films, Barbican’s Outdoor Cinema screens only the best films from international art houses including Andrei Tarkovesky's Mirror, Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, and Studio Ghibli's Nausicaä and the Valley of the Wind.

5. Picturehouses Outdoor Cinema

Where: Multiple locations

When: Friday 23 June – Sunday 3 September

Website: www.picturehouses.com

Known for its fancy cinemas in the likes of London’s Crouch End and Finsbury Park, Picturehouse is taking its screens on tour this summer, popping up in five different locations around the country.

From the majestic botanical gardens of Museum Gardens in York to the charm of Brighton’s historic Preston Manor, the choice of locations is as mesmerising as the choice of movies, which includes the likes of Mamma Mia, Romeo & Juliet, and the 2023 adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Grab your pillows, blankets, and picnic blankets for a romantic evening under the summer night sky.

Picturehouses Outdoor Cinema
Outdoor cinema at various places around the UK

6. Woodside Drive-in Cinema

Where: Birkenhead, The Wirral

When: Ongoing

Website: www.woodsidedrivein.co.uk

A ‘50s-inspired drive-in cinema, Woodside is a great option for those who don’t fancy sitting on the floor for a good few hours.

Boasting a 13m screen in a car park near the Woodside Ferry Terminal, simply pick your movie (we’re most looking forward to Pretty Woman, Grease and The Greatest Showman) and buy your ticket online, then when you arrive you’ll be given an allocated parking spot, food menu and radio frequency so you can tune in immediately.

Cinemagoers can hail down rollerskating waiters by turning on their hazard lights, while there’s even a Kisscam to catch you and your loved one.

7. Adventure Cinema

Where: Multiple locations

When: Until mid-September

Website: www.adventurecinema.co.uk

The last (but certainly not least) addition to our roundup of the best outdoor cinemas for summer comes in the form of Adventure Cinema, which bills itself as ‘the UK’s biggest open-air cinema tour’. Setting up shop in over 250 locations across the UK – from London and Hertfordshire to Derby and Crewe – films are aired in some incredible locations. We’re talking Grease in a historic abbey, Elvis in a grand castle, and Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, to name a few.

Adventure Cinema, the UK’s biggest open-air cinema tour
Find adventure Cinema at over 200 locations this summer