A familiar favourite movie or a thought-provoking music documentary is essential to any festival experience, but you don’t have to leave London to enjoy the cinema under the stars. In fact, there’s an almost overwhelming range of options available this summer. Here are just a few particularly intriguing ones.
Film 4 Summer Screen at Somerset House
The highly-respected open air film festival at historic Somerset House will host UK premiers of Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard, New Zealand vampire shocker What We Do in the Shadows, Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth and Best Foreign Language Oscar and BAFTA winner The Great Beauty.
To mark the festival’s tenth anniversary organisers put one slot out to public vote, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial will be screened as a result. Other highlights include classics like Rosemary’s Baby, A Fistful of Dollars and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, plus favourites Mad Max 2, Sense and Sensibility, and Annie Hall.
DJs play in the atmospheric courtyard before each state-of-the-art, surround-sound screening, with talks from directors, actors and industry insiders providing extra insights and workshops and family fun completing the celebrations.
Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
7-20 August 2014
Single films £16.00, double bills £20.00, premieres £24.00 (+ booking fees)
Dalston Roof Park Films4Free
In summer the roof of four-storey former factory The Print House becomes a laid-back open air cafe with bright chairs on artificial turf and DJs or gigs most nights. Each Tuesday evening they drag out huge mattresses and batik sheets to create an outdoor ‘bedroom’ where members can sprawl with frozen margaritas, cocktails or hot cider in front of a free movie and short film. Pop-up food options often enhance the experience.
Entrance is free to members, and last year they added suspense by emailing out the title only on the night. This year they’re publicising a week or two in advance so you can fit a quirky al-fresco movie experience into your hectic social calendar.
They’re starting July with a preview of The 100 year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared on Tuesday 1st. They’re also promising “film x dance nights” featuring opportunities to “jive like Vincent and Mia or strut like Danny and Sandy”. Sign up for alerts or watch their website.
18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL
Summer Tuesday evenings
£5 annual membership. Some free events are ticketed
Those film fanatics at the Lexi in Kensal Rise each summer use an inspiring range of beautiful, curious or peculiar venues across London and beyond to create unique festival celebrations of a range of movies.
On offer in July are Grosvenor Square ‘silent’ screenings (with wi-fi headsets), as part of Grosvenor’s Summer in the Square festival, of Goldfinger, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Top Gun and When Harry Met Sally.
In August you can lose yourself in The Never Ending Story at the Secret Garden in Bloomsbury’s Coram’s Fields, dream with Romeo and Juliet in the romantic, elegant gardens of the Elizabethan Middle Temple Inn of Court, be transported by Labyrinth in medieval Bushy Park and watch Dirty Dancing in the lush, secluded gardens of Fulham Palace.
September’s venues will include Brompton Cemetery and Hyde Park Lido.
Various venues and dates
Prices vary from £7-25, with concessions and optional add-ons available
If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment below.