On those warm summer evenings when you can’t decide between being outside in the fresh air or checking out a movie, do both with a visit to one of London’s open-air cinemas. With several great options this season, you can spend the night with your closest friends eating, drinking, and watching a classic flick all while relaxing under the stars. Here are a four great choices for alfresco cinema in the city, where you don’t have to shut yourself off from the world to experience the best of the silver screen.
From August 7-20, join hundreds of moviegoers in the courtyard of Somerset House, an arts and culture centre occupying a spectacular neoclassical building overlooking the Thames. Arrive early to get a good spot and enjoy drinks and snacks as a live DJ warms up the crowd. Once it’s show time, sit back and watch a well-curated mix of classics and new releases. This season’s slate includes 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring Marilyn Monroe, Wes Anderson’s modern indie gem The Royal Tenenbaums, and the U.K. premier of 20,000 Days on Earth, an imaginary day-in-the-life of singer and writer Nick Cave.
Plant yourself on the rooftop of the Queen of Hoxton pub and feel like a VIP as you sip mojito slushies with your crew. Before the flick starts, relax in your beach chairs and admire the view of the glittering city lights. Then pop on your headphones–they don’t want to disturb the neighbors–and get lost in the drama and laughter of movies like Superbad and Crazy, Stupid, Love. When the movie’s over but you don’t want the night to end quite yet, simply pop down to the bar below and bend an elbow as you discuss your favorite scenes.
If you and your friends can quote Breakfast at Tiffany’s backwards and forwards, check out the Luna Cinema’s outdoor film program, which sets up movie screens in 26 spectacular London locations. The 1961 Audrey Hepburn film is a hot ticket, along with classics like Casablana and The Graduate. Lip-sync the lines amid verdant parks and historic castles as you relax with your friends on a picnic blanket with a good bottle of wine and tiny sandwiches.
Don your swimsuit and jump into a hot tub with a cold beer in your hand at this exciting new cinema concept popping up in unexpected places throughout the city. True to its name, Hot Tub Cinema eschews chairs and picnic blankets in favor of inflatable hot tubs, creating a movie-watching experience that’s nothing short of surreal. Fantasies and comedies dominate the schedule, with flicks like Labyrinth, Dirty Dancing, and The Breakfast Club drawing howls from the wet, enthusiastic crowd.