Outdoor Events

The best outdoor cinemas in London to catch a film at this summer

From watching a film on a floating pontoon to screenings with rooftop views, London offers some brilliant alfresco cinema experiences

We’ve all missed the joy of watching films in all their glorious technicolour in a cinema this past year; nothing beats catching a cult classic or hotly-anticipated release on a big screen. Expect, perhaps, when your favourite film is rolling as you savour the last of the sun’s rays or sit under twinkling stars. Here are the best outdoor cinemas in London not to miss this summer.

The Glossary Edit

The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London

The Luna Cinema
Various dates
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

Luna Cinema’s outdoor screenings are known for being held in some of the most spectacular locations across the UK, with its state-of-the-art screens found at the likes of Blenheim Palace, Longleat and Sandringham. Its London locations are no less impressive, with residencies at Kensington Palace (11-15 August), Chiswick House (14-18 August) and Westminster Abbey (29 July-6 August) this summer (to name just a few). Whether you’re feeling the nostalgia of Cinema Paradiso or reliving the romance of Notting Hill, it’s sure to be an evening to remember set against backdrops such as these.

Kew The Movies
7 – 11 July
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

What could be more sublime than watching a film as the sun sets on Kew Palace? That’s the promise Kew The Movies made when it began in 2012, and it’s been serving up popcorn, Pimms and (motion) pictures ever since. This year’s event includes of roster of stellar films, including recent releases such as The Father alongside absolute cinematic gold in the form of The Goonies. Tickets to the event’s more family-friendly films include access to the Gardens, while the purchase of a gold circle or VIP ticket ensures you can watch from the comfort of a director’s chair. Plenty of snacks are available, and bringing along a picnic is positively encouraged too.

Everyman Summer Love Film Festival
1-25 July
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

The Summer Love Film Festival arrives in Granary Square this July, which means you’ll be able to watch films for free on one of the capital’s biggest outdoor screens. Take in the live action from Wimbledon and Tour de France as well as enjoying the movie magic of classic and feel-good favourites including A Hard Day’s Night, La La Land and Napoleon Dynamite – there’s something here for everyone.

Floating Film Festival
13 – 25 July
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

Occupying a corner of St Katharine Docks with a floating pontoon, the Floating Film Festival is one of London’s most serene outdoor cinema experiences. After a year away, due to the pandemic, the Floating Film Festival is making a welcome return this summer with a two-week programme that features Oscar-winners alongside family favourites. So, if you fancy settling into bean bag or deckchair to catch a screening of the much-debated Jojo Rabbit or the shocking true story told in Dark Waters, this is the festival for you.

Pop Up Screens
23 July – 26 September
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

Take a tour of London this summer courtesy of the team behind Pop Up Screens, which is bringing its open-air cinema experience to a host of locations in the capital this season. From Hammersmith to Hither Green, there’s plenty of opportunities to catch one of your favourite films under the stars. The packed calendar is full of feel-good movies including A Star is Born and Moonlight ensuring that every taste is catered for.

Pure Cinema Experience Presents Nostalgia
Until 8 September
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

Fans of flicks from yesteryear are going to be in heaven this summer, as Pure Cinema Experience has gone with a retro vibe for its latest outdoor cinema extravaganza. Nostalgia is taking cinemagoers back in time with screenings of iconic classics such as JawsDirty Dancing and Pulp Fiction forming part of an 11-week stint at Pitch in Stratford. 

Elba’s Rooftop Cinema
Until 30 September
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

From its vantage point on the rooftop of Mercury House, the outdoor cinema at this Waterloo-based cocktail and wine bar arguably has some of the best views of the city around. It provides the perfect backdrop to an experience that offers an impressive line-up of cult classics and critically acclaimed films to suit every taste (Queen & SlimTrainspotting, Call Me By Your Name) – films you can immerse yourself in fully thanks to the provision of your own set of (carefully sanitised) headphones. And with popcorn, sweets and an hour of bottomless prosecco or beer available, you’ll be able to make a night of it.

Rooftop Film Club
Until 1 August
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

One of London’s most popular outdoor cinemas, known for its screenings on iconic rooftops across the city, can be found at the Bussey Building in Peckham and Roof East in Stratford this summer. Celebrating 10 years of creating alfresco cinema experiences, both venues are marking the occasion by showing 10 iconic movies chosen by the company’s founder, Gerry Cottle. All (deckchair) seating is unreserved and the start-times will vary according to the sunset.

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