Watch a movie under the stars this August in Somerset House’s beautiful courtyard
Add watching a film at gorgeous Somerset House to your must-do-before-you-leave-London bucket list.
The festival is back this year, running August 10–23, screening a mix of red carpet premieres, recent hits and iconic movies. More than 2,000 film lovers fill the courtyard of the historic building every night – watching movies on London's largest screen.
Recommended: find more outdoor cinema in London
Films start at 9pm, but our tip is to arrive early (doors open at 6.30pm). That way you can bagsy a spot and soak up the atmosphere with a picnic (no glass bottles), while listening to DJs playing music inspired by the film. And bring a cushion – the cobbles show no mercy!
Tickets start from £17 and go on sale this Friday at 10am. Get in quick, because organised people snap ’em up fast...
Premiere: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Former US Vice President Al Gore is coming to town to introduce the UK premiere of his timely climate-change sequel. Aug 10
This 2015 heist movie is in real time, shot in a single 138-minute take. Aug 11
Double bill: Donnie Darko + The Omen
A double bill of creepy kids, from an angsty teen to the Antichrist. Aug 12
A romcom that sparkles like champagne, this delicious 1940 comedy of misunderstandings stars Katharine Hepburn as an heiress choosing between three men. Aug 13
This year’s Best Picture Oscar winner – eventually – is a gem, the kind of film that makes you look at everything differently. Aug 14
Classic newsroom drama about the journalists (played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) who uncovered the Watergate conspiracy. Aug 15
Premiere: The Square
Catch this art-scene drama with ‘Mad Men’ star Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West months before it’s in cinemas. Aug 16
Gurinder Chadha’s 1993 comedy about a group of Asian women on a trip to Blackpool. Aug 17
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play chatty hoodlums in this vicious black comedy. Aug 18
Double bill: Jaws + Deliverance
It’s killer sharks or crazy hillbillies in a double bill of survival classics. Aug 19
Animation master Hayao Miyazaki’s lovely film about a girl who befriends a monster. Aug 20
In this teen flick, Sarah Michelle Gellar is the spoilt princess who bets ladykiller Ryan Phillippe he can’t seduce a virginal God-botherer. Aug 21
The ultimate swinging London movie, as photographer David Hemmings accidentally snaps a murder in a park. Aug 22
Premiere: Patti Cake$
One of the most hyped films of the summer, this brilliant indie flick follows a teenage rapper in New Jersey. She is Patricia Dombrowski, aka Killa P – or Dumbo to the haters. Catch it at Somerset House first. Aug 23
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I attended the world premiere of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, my first experience of Film 4 Summer Screen and whilst the idea is fantastic, watching a film open air, under the stars, in the middle of one of London's most beautiful venues, the general comfort and queue situation let the event down for me. Upon arriving I was greeted with a one-hour queue, whilst holding a blanket, cushions and a bag full of picnic food. The queue was due to the fact security were checking through all the bags to ensure no-one brought in glass or more than than quota of two cans per person. Also, as I was warned that we would be sat on concrete, my blanket and cushions didn't quite cut it, so be prepared to bring something more suitable for lying/sitting on for approx 3 hours. The quality of the film and sound was fantastic and the general atmosphere and ambiance was really lovely. I would recommend as long as you bring something suitable to sit on and they address the queue situation.
I had my first experience of Somerset House's Film4 Summer Screen this year. The world première of 'About Time' was the first of my 3 bookings at Somerset House, next was the triple bill marathon of Mean Girls', 'Carrie', & 'The Loved Ones' , and finally, The world première of 'The Way, Way Back'. And I'm happy to say that this was perhaps my best cinema experience I've ever had in London. Film4 Summer Screen was on for a grand 14 days this year from August 8-21 at Somerset House's The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court this year. Featuring world premières, double bills, and triple bill marathons. It may also be worth mentioning that I was happy to discover that Somerset House provided cycle racks within the screening area, which was great for cyclists worried they would have to lock their bikes up on the roads outside, having to walk potentially long distances to retrieve their bikes while they were at the mercy of thieves and rascals. The weather was also surprisingly fine the 3 days I visited, but we were told in advance that the screenings would go ahead come rain or shine, so it's recommended you come prepared just in case. When the weather is fine and the skies are clear, the evening and night sky are beautiful to lie back and gaze at. Besides the film screenings themselves, there were also exclusive 'Behind the Screen' talks between writers and directors either of the films showing during the 14 days, or whose films are regularly screened on the channel Film 4. This was a good opportunity to hear first hand from the creative minds behind the films, and get some insights into their inspirations and what drives them personally. Not to mention a good way to pass the time while waiting for the film to start roughly 3 hours after it's recommended that you turn up. Having exclusive VIP-ish designated seating after the Behind the Screen' talk is always a nice perk too. It also means you don't need to worry about finding a space to sit within the immense crowd of movie-goeres. If you can afford the extra price, I would definitely recommended going to a talk prior to the actual film screening, to make the most of the experience. However there are very limited spaces available, so advanced knowledge of when tickets are available is key. Somerset House's Film4 Summer Screen is unlike other pop-up screens or outdoor screenings in London, in part because of the sheer scale of the venue and screen, the high profile location, as well as the