Best immersive outdoor cinema experiences this summer in the UK
Enjoy curated film and venue pairings this outdoor cinema summer season
Why squander the summer in a soulless multiplex? Open air cinema companies across the UK are screening films in settings that are both beautifully atmospheric and thematically resonant, creating immersive cinematic experiences without the need for the total darkness of the movie theatre.
Brighton: Moana on the beach
Taking place right on the shores of Brighton Beach, Luna Beach Cinema's inaugural programme is fittingly maritime-themed, with screenings of Moana (Fri Jun 15), Finding Nemo (Mon Jun 18), Lilo & Stitch (Tue Jun 26), Dunkirk (Wed Jul 4) and The Shape of Water (Thu Jul 5), alongside many others. Their cinema programme will run alongside live screenings of matches from the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon.
Bristol: American Werewolf at the zoo
Unleash the animal within as Cult Screens takes over the gardens at Bristol Zoo, with screenings of An American Werewolf in London (Thu 30 Aug) and Guillermo Del Toro's dark fantasy feature The Shape of Water (Wed 29 Aug). The rest of the programme similarly celebrates the figure of the outsider, with screenings of two Spielberg projects: The Goonies (Fri 31 Aug) and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Sun 2 Sep), as well as Hugh Jackman's feel-good musical The Greatest Showman (Sat 1 Sep).
Cheltenham: Jaws at the lido
Sandford Parks Lido sets the stage for two very different portraits of human-sea creature relations this summer, with the watery embrace of The Shape of Water (Thu 6 Sep) to be followed by a very different kind of squeeze with Jaws (Fri 7 Sep).
Coventry: Darkest Hour in the ruined cathedral
The ruins of Coventry Cathedral – which was reduced to rubble by bombs during Second World War – offers a unique historical context for a screening of the wartime drama Darkest Hour (Thu 19 Jul). Other film screenings include Tom Cruise's Top Gun (Wed 18 Jul), which takes a very different tone to war, as well as The Greatest Showman (Sat 21 Jul) and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Fri 20 Jul).
Cumbria: Withnail at Crow Crag
Picnic Cinema screens classic films at stunning locations across Cumbria, including the classic black comedy Withnail and I (Fri 13 Jul - Sat 14 Jul; Fri 20 July – Sat 21 July) at Sleddale Hall – the actual site of Crow Crag, as featured in the movie. Another dark British film, Sightseers, will be screened at the stately Lowther Castle, whilst Muncaster Castle plays host to the delightful duo of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Fri 10 Aug) and The Big Lebowski (Sat 11 Aug).
London: Fear and Loathing in Lost Vegas
The Rooftop Film Club's programme for 2018 features several compelling thematic strands. The 'Lost Vegas' lineup sees the bar at the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch transformed into a futuristic Nevada wilderness to chime with their film series, featuring Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Sun 6 May), The Hangover (Mon 7 May), Con Air (Tue 8 May) and Blade Runner 2049 (Wed 9 May).
London: Four Weddings at Westminster Abbey
Luna Cinema similarly rhymes setting with subject in their programme at the RAF Museum, which host screenings of Top Gun (19 May) and the epic wartime drama The Dam Busters (20 May), while the Brockwell Lido will feature showings of Jaws (24 May), The Shape of Water (27 Sep) and Dunkirk (21 Jun). Finally, tribute is paid to royal weddings past and present with a screening of the quintessential British rom-com, Four Weddings and a Funeral at Westminster Abbey (16 Aug)
Oxford: The Shawshank Redemption at the Old Prison Exercise Yard
Crime and punishment echo throughout the Old Prison Exercise Yard, which will screen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Wed 23 May) and The Shawshank Redemption (Fri 28 Sep), whilst the enclosed square will be an evocative backdrop for the encroaching horror of Jordan Peele's Get Out (Fri 25 May). Lighter fare includes Notting Hill (Thu 27 Sep), Dirty Dancing (Sat 26 May) and Paddington 2 (Sat 29 Sep).