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.
Vintage Cinema, various locations
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 Natural History Museum, Tring on Sat 16 June at 6.15pm where you can sing your heart out amongst the stuffed animals. Or if you’d rather be scared witless amongst the taxidermy, ditch the kids and go for Predator at 8.30pm.
On Sat 22 June Vintage Cinema heads off to the depths of The Hell Fire Caves in West Wycombe for The Witches at 7pm followed by Highlander with steel sword combat display. If none of these float your boat, how about the surreal love story The Shape of Water on June 22 at The Large Barn Hall, Amersham?
Newbury Racecourse, Newbury, Thurs 7 – Sat 9 June
Ah the romance of prostitution and the mega rich! But you can’t beat Julia Robert and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (Fri 8 June) this classic rom-com. You can also see Christopher Nolan’s Oscar winning Dunkirk (Thurs 7 June) and book in for this year’s hit flick with the kids and you can hear THAT soundtrack again and again (gah!) at the screening of, The Greatest Showman on Sat 9 June.
Lillibroke Manor, Cox Green, Maidenhead, Weds 20 June
Your glass of Pimms may have to be replaced with a something a little less alcoholic (dammit) for this after school screening of the family fave Paddington 2, but an afternoon spent in the stunning Great Barn at Lillibrooke Manor, kids’ tea and entertainment sorted. You’ll be winning at life, right there. Doors open at 4pm, film starts at 4.30pm, then straight to bed. *Pours wine at 7.17pm*. Tickets: adults £8.80; kids, £5.50; family tickets from £16.50. Not your bag? It’s only freaking 40 years since it was released (dear god!) Grease Sing A Long, Wed 20 June, 8pm; Victoria & Abdul, Thu 21 June, 12.30pm and The Greatest Showman, Thu 21 June, 8pm.
Luna Cinema at Stonor Park, Henley; Blenheim Palace, Woodstock; and Waddesdon Manor, Bucks
On Fri 27 Jul, Moulin Rouge can-cans in to Stonor Park ‘come what may’ (yes, I have the soundtrack), followed by the original 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).
Over at Blenheim Palace the boy wizard is making an 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.
Picturehouse Pop-up, Mill Meadows, Henley, Thurs 28 – Sat 30 June
Once again, the Regal Picturehouse in Oxford is upping sticks to Mill Meadows for 3 nights of great films. There’s a cash bar (apparently you’re not allowed to bring in your own booze – boo!) but you can bring a picnic and something to sit on (gee, thanks). Thurs 28 June sees the kick-arse road movie Thelma and Louise kick off the weekend, with The Greatest Showman on Fri 29 June and Top Gun touching down on Sat 30 June.
Phoenix Picturehouse Pop-up, The Ashmolean, Oxford
A Muddy favourite, this city centre museum is hot on events and making the most of its stunning architecture. Complementing its America’s Cool Modernism exhibition and its Oxford-wide festival, the forecourt will be showing Bugsy Malone on Fri 6, Top Gun on Sat 7 and The Wizard of Oz on Sun 8 July.
Cult Screens, Castle Quarter and The Natural History Museum & Pitt Rivers, 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.cultscreens.co.uk
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, 1 June – 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 starting on June 5 with The Greatest Showman and ending on Aug 28 with one my favourite family films Into the Woods.
Rooftop Film Club, East London, now – 30 June
Into the grime and onto the roof tiles from now until the end of June with East London’s Rooftop Film Club including venues in Stratford and Peckham showing a range of classics. Thoughtfully they offer free waterproof ponchos in the likely case of adverse weather conditions plus the priceless opportunity to actually feeling trendy again for the night.