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Popcorn + Pop-up

The best outdoor cinemas in our 'hood this summer. Just add popcorn, a hot date and that all-important brolly.

Three of my favourite unholy activities – watching movies, lounging outside and getting tipsy – are currently combining in one delicious bundle with a steady stream of outdoor cinema nights in Bucks, Oxon and Berks.


Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Bucks – Fri 15 –  Sat 16 June

Wondering what the hell to do with a Father’s Day treat? Peasy – take him to Top Gun at Great Missenden’s lovely Peterley Manor Farm so he can watch the fighter planes while you ogle a young Tom Cruise in his pretty aviators. Billed as a Father’s Day special, expect local street food, café goodies, straw bales, blankets and fire pits on Sat 16 June. Other films on offer are Hot Fuzz (Fri 15 June) or the family-friendly The Greatest Showman (Sat 21 July) where there’ll be tractor and trailer rides round the farm, giant games, pop-up food, drinks, and a sweet shop in the mini yurt.


Firefly Events at Wellington Country Park, Berkshire and Marlow Bottom Playing Fields, from Fri 27 July

Am I the only person on the planet not to have seen The Greatest Showman? If you want a soundtrack free zone, head to my house but if you and your kids want to see this all singing all dancing Hugh Jackman-Zac Efron musical fest just one more time, head to the Wellington Country Park, Newbury on Fri 27 July at where you can sing at your hearts content. Or if you’d rather get lost in 80s nostalgia, ditch the kids and go for Top Gun on Sat 28 July. Closer to home, Marlow Bottom Playing Fields will be screening Back to the Future, Fri 7 September. Great Scott!


Cult Screens, Castle Quarter and The Natural History Museum & Pitt Rivers, Oxford, from 21 Aug

Old Prison Yard Oxford

The Natural History Museum & Pitt Rivers team up for Jaws on 21 Aug (er, a good idea surrounded by skeletons and stuffed animals?), Coco on 22, Top Gun on 23 and The Greatest Showman on 24 Aug. Over to the Castle Quarter prison yard on 26 Sept for The Shape of Water, Notting Hill on 27, The Shawshank Redemption (how apt) on 28 and Paddington 2 (also apt – didn’t you love the prison scenes?) on 29 Sept. Thinking blankets by this point but if we’re lucky, Mother Nature will pull an Indian Summer out of her hat.


Vintage Cinema at The Large Barn Hall, Amersham and Hell-Fire Caves, West Wycombe, from Fri 27 July 

Missed the critically acclaimed, Academy-award winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in cinema? Catch it on the big screen while you can at The Large Barn Hall in Amersham on Fri 27 July. Or if you prefer a classic, head down to The Hell Fire Caves Fri 3 Aug for Young Frankenstein at 7pm and Batman Returns at 9:30pm. With real in house bats, dark tunnels and legendary tales of haunting, feel free to hide behind your complimentary blanket during creepy scenes. vintage


Luna Cinema at Stonor Park, Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon Manor, from Fri 27 July

On Fri 27 Jul, Moulin Rouge can-cans into Stonor Park ‘come what may’ (yes, I have the soundtrack), followed by Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone on Sat 28 July and ending with the classic of all time Casablanca. Hot food and a full bar will be provided but you’re welcome to bring a picnic if you can be bothered (er, nope).

greatest showman hugh jackman

Over at Blenheim Palace the boy wizard is making another appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on 10 Aug, The Greatest Showman on Aug 11 and, fittingly as the birthplace of Churchill, The Darkest Hour on 12 Aug. Luna Cinema is also at Waddesdon Manor in August but the two screenings of The Greatest Showman have already sold out (wow, some people are so organised!). Tickets are still available for Happy Potter & the Chamber of Secrets on 25 Aug.


Neighbourhood Cinema, Chiltern Open Air Museum, from Weds 22 Aug

This August, Chiltern Open Air Museum will be venturing into pop-up cinema territory for the first time ever. Teaming up with Neighbourhood Cinema, the popular family attraction is dipping its toe in the water with four dates including La La Land Weds 22 Aug, Back to the Future Thurs 23, Gladiator Fri 24 and Grease Sat 25. You’re not allowed to bring a picnic (boo!) but there will be a bar and BBQ (yay!) so don’t forget a blanket.



Somerset House, London, 9 – 22 Aug

If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. Running from 9 – 22 Aug, highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on 20 Aug and Selma on 21 Aug.


Summer by the River, London Bridge City, London, until  2 Sept

The largest outdoor festival in London running from 1 June to 2 September, with outdoor film, theatre, sporting events, food, drinks and entertainment. Outdoor cinema will take place every Tuesday night screening family favourites like The BFG, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Into the Woods.



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