Popcorn cornucopia: London’s best outdoor cinemas this summer

Spending at least some of your summer in the UK capital is to discover a sun-drenched metropolis that basks in the rays and, thus, is able to showcase itself at its very best. And just one way it does this is to showcase great movies at terrific outdoor venues that offer attendees spectacular urban views. So, should you choose to stay one of 5 star boutique hotels London (such as the Marble Arch hotel London), what better to top off your stay than to hit up one of the city’s outdoor cinemas…?

Film4 Summer Screen

(Strand WC2R 1LA)

Somerset House

Arguably the UK’s most celebrated – or, at least, its most famous – outdoor moviegoing experience, Summer Screen hosted in the courtyard of the oh-so atmospheric Somerset House is the stuff of June-July-August social necessity in the capital. And this year’s line-up is the stuff of dreams too; in that all the flicks on show are linked together by the theme of, er, dreams – showing then are the likes of Call Me By Your Name, Labyrinth and Inception.

Pop-Up Screens

(Various venues)

Pop-Up Screens

Something of a new kid on the block when it comes to London’s outdoor cinema scene, Pop-Up Screens are, well, popping up here, there and everywhere throughout the city this summer – and their run’s pretty lengthy too (the season lasts all the way from July 20th to September 23rd). And what about the features? How do stone-cold popular/ cult classics like Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, 500 Days of Summer and Pretty Woman sound?

Summer by the River

(203 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX)

Strictly speaking, Summer by the River is a three-month-long all-arts-encompassing festival that’s calling the stretch of the South Bank just down the road from London Bridge home, so the movies on show are only a part of the fun going on. That said, all the films presented at the open-air ‘The Scoop’ venue beside the dynamic-looking City Hall building are all free to attend (so long as you get there early enough to make a spot yours!) and you can guarantee the occasion’ll be friendly and entirely suitable for taking the kids along. And, of course, you can guarantee great views – behind you there’ll be the unbeatable panorama of Tower Bridge.

FEST Camden

(Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AH)

As one of Central London’s centres for cutting-edge entertainment and youthful, vibrant (albeit alternative) culture, it was only to be expected that Camden would get in aboard the out-of-doors movie-viewing train. And this summer they most certainly have, all right – and, refreshingly, with a Brit-flick-focused line-up at that. So pop along to this rooftop spot above the legendary Camden Market then for the likes of Trainspotting, Shaun of the Dead and Snatch.

Rooftop Film Club

(Various venues)

Rooftop Film Club

Of course, viewing a movie of a fine sunsetting evening this time of year in a fantastic location comes with a downside – will you actually be able to focus on the film itself? Don’t worry about when you attend this Peckham-based event because the panoramas offered up by Roof East (East London), Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch) and the Bussey Building (Peckham) are just too spectacular to pass up – what a complement to a stay at luxury hotel rooms accommodation!

The Luna Cinema

(Various venues)

Last but far from least, this nationwide outdoor-movie-screening brand could be said to have pretty much introduced the concept to the UK (and how!), so to say Luna Cinema knows what it’s doing by now really is putting it mildly. As far this summer in London’s concerned, though, how about viewing some of cinema’s all-classics, the latest Hollywood blockbusters or cracking cult favourites at the likes of Alexandra Palace, Kensington Palace, One New Change, Westminster Abbey? Or how about trying not to capsize your rubber dinghy while watching Jaws in Brockwell Lido?

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