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Outdoor cinema in London

The best places to see open-air movies in the capital this summer

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By Time Out Film |
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London’s notorious temperamental and unexpected weather doesn’t necessarily conjure images of people luxuriating on a warm evening enjoying outdoor cinema. Usually, even in the summer months, we’re battered with rain and wind, making any sort of outside activity from festivals to fêtes an umbrella-essential excursion.

When we are gifted with some good weather over the summer, it’s worth taking full advantage off. And on a balmy London evening, nothing beats watching a movie under the stars. Whether you want to watch ‘The Meg’ by a giant outdoor swimming pool or catch a romcom in a gorgeous Royal Park or palace, add outdoor cinema to your fair-weather bucket list.

Recommended: London and UK cinema listings, film reviews and exclusive interviews

Outdoor cinema in summer 2019

Film

Movies on the River

icon-location-pin Tower Millennium Pier, Aldgate
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Forget Paris’s famous Bateaux Mouches, because if you want the ultimate river-boat experience you only need to travel as far as Tower Pier. From mid-June to early September, Time Out’s Movies on the River cruise departs with a full cargo of cinematic treats, from 'The Favourite' to 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'. All aboard!

Where Tower Millennium Pier, Aldgate

When June to September

Summer highlights ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘The Greatest Showman’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ 

Things to do, Film events

Royal Opera House BP Big Screen

icon-location-pin Various, London
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Opera lovers can enjoy the big arias and librettos involving saucy Italians in a sun-kissed setting without having to make the trip (or outlay) to Garsington or Glyndebourne. It's all courtesy of the Royal Opera House.

Where The Scoop in London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Lyric Square in Hammersmith, Television Centre in White City, Arena Square in Wembley Park, General Gordon Square in Woolwich

When June and July

Summer highlights ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ 

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Bollywood Nights
Chris Winter/Wembley Park
Things to do, Film events

Wembley Park Summer on Screen

icon-location-pin Wembley Park, Wembley
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A free-to-attend celebration of Western and East Asian Cinema, with some added opera thrown in for good measure. 

Where Arena Square, Wembley Park

When May to July

Summer highlights ‘Chaal Jeevi Laiye’, ‘Sister Act’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘A Star is Born’

Things to do, Film events

Backyard Cinema: LA Nights

icon-location-pin Roundhouse, Chalk Farm
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Be transported from Camden to the Hollywood hills with Backyard Cinema, whose theme this summer is LA Nights. 

Where Camden

When July

Summer highlights ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘A Star is Born’, ‘Captain Marvel’, ‘The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long’

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Things to do, Film events

Luna Kids Cinema

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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The kids version of Luna Cinema doesn't disappoint. Head to Hampton Court Palace or Dulwich Park where you'll be able to catch some big blockbusters like ‘Frozen’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’. 

Where Dulwich Park and Hampton Court Palace

When May to August

Summer highlights ‘Aladdin’, ‘Dumbo’, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

Film

Film4 Summer Screen

icon-location-pin Somerset House, Temple
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Until the Queen hosts, say, a 'Terminator' marathon in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace, this remains the classiest outdoor screening venue around. Bring a cushion or two, or, this year, rent a beanbag or director's chair, and revel in the tasty food and magnificent surroundings.

Where The Strand 

When August

Summer highlights ‘God's Own Country’, ‘The Matrix’ and the UK premieres of ‘Pain and Glory’ and ‘Inna De Yard’

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CASINO ROYALE
Jay Maidment
Things to do, Film events

Secret Cinema Presents: ‘Casino Royale’

icon-location-pin Various, London
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Immersive film aficionados Secret Cinema have pulled out the big guns for their summer season and it’s 007-flavoured extravaganza. 

Where It's top secret. 

When June to September

Summer highlight Inevitably seeing someone try and recreate Daniel Craig's emergence out of the sea in those blue speedos. 

Film

Pop Up Screens

icon-location-pin Various, London
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It's all about the relaxed atmosphere with Pop Up Cinemas. These guys cart their inflatable screen around parks in all four corners of London over the summer, showing shout-at-the-screen favourites.

Where 2019's locales include the City of London, East Dulwich, Fulham, Greenwich, Hammersmith, Hither Green, Holborn, Hornsey, Kingston and South Park, Parsons Green. 

When July to September

Summer highlights ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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Film

The Luna Cinema

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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The beauty of Luna Cinema is walking into a Royal Park or some other date-perfect location with a picnic just as everyone else is leaving.

Where Venues across London, including Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court

When May to September

Summer highlights ‘The Meg’ at Brockwell Lido’, ‘The Favourite’ at Kensington Palace, ‘A Star Is Born’ at Crystal Palace Park and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at Hampton Court Palace

Film

Rooftop Film Club, Stratford

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Directors’ chairs, wireless headphones and blankets – the Rooftop Film Club have perfected the art of outdoor cinema

Where Stratford

When May (with more to be announced)

Summer highlights ‘Bohemian Rhapsody: Sing-a-Long’, ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Cruel Intentions’ 

More to explore

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