Outdoor Events

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

From watching a film in Kew Gardens to screenings with rooftop views, London offers some brilliant alfresco cinema experiences

We all know that nothing beats catching a cult classic or hotly-anticipated new release on the big screen – except, maybe, when that big screen also happens to be in the great outdoors. There’s something deeply romantic about watching your favourite film al fresco, as you catch the last of the sun’s rays before they’re replaced by twinkling stars. From rooftop wonders to bucolic gems, these are the outdoor cinemas in London not to miss this summer.

The Glossary Edit

The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London

Barbican Outdoor Cinema
23-28 August
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2022

For their open-air screenings this summer, the Barbican is presenting a week of films that promise to be full of fantasy, adventure and spectacular environments – but as this is the Barbican, they’re also going to make you think. Inspired by their current climate art exhibition Our Time On Earth, all of the films have been chosen because of their profound connection to their settings, from the distinctive animation of René Laloux’s extra-terrestrial fantasy La Planète Sauvage to Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash.

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 (3-7 August), Westminster Abbey (29-31 July) and Hampton Court Palace (11-14 August) this summer (to name just a few). Whether you’re feeling the nostalgia of Some Like It Hot or reliving the romance of Notting Hill, it’s sure to be an evening to remember set against backdrops such as these.

Everyman Screen on the Canal
Until 7 August
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2021

The Everyman’s hugely popular open-air film festival returns to Granary Square this summer, 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 the Tour de France as well as enjoying the movie magic of classic and feel-good favourites including Grease, Clueless, The Princess Bride and Little Women – there’s something here for everyone.

Kew The Movies
31 August – 4 September
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, Pimm’s and (motion) pictures ever since. This year’s event includes of roster of stellar films, including recent releases such as No Time to Die and Dune alongside retro cinematic gold in the form of Jurassic Park. 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.

Sunset Screening Sessions
Until 29 August
The Best Outdoor Cinemas in London – Alfresco Summer 2022

This partnership between Infinita Productions and DMovies is a thoroughly British affair, offering up ten films that have had a profound effect on this country’s cinematic offering. Held in the beautiful walled patio of the Homestead Café in Beckenham Place Park, the programme features a colour and culturally vibrant selections of films, including comedy, horror, LGBTQ and arthouse cinema. There are also several films on show with a very local flavour, such as Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 classic Modern Times and the Eighties hit Labyrinth starring David Bowie – both Bowie and Chaplin hailed from south east London.

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 The Greatest Showman and The Breakfast Club ensuring that every taste is catered for.

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. Unlike most other outdoor cinema offerings, they show brand new releases alongside cult favourites, with Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis the hottest ticket this summer. All (deckchair) seating is unreserved and the start-times will vary according to the sunset.

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