Lights, camera… outdoor cinema action!
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 beyond. If you’re partial to the same, get your deckchairs and picnic rugs at the ready and don’t forget to pack your extra strong mints and watch out for the dreaded windmill tongue (remember those?!) if you’re looking for action in the back row.
Henley, 28 – 30 July
Regal Picturehouse’s pop-up returns to the riverside location in Mill Meadows for three nights only between 28 – 30 July. Screenings start at dark so you’re literally watching under the stars but you’re encouraged to come early and bring your own picnic. Booze is only allowed if bought on site at the bar which serves beer and wine so no sneaking in your special brew under your jumper. Choose from either Footloose, Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Back to the Future.
Stonor Park, 15 – 16 July
This one’s a goody. Take me to bed or lose me forever with Top Gun on 15 July or get a hickey from Kennicky in Grease on 16 July in the stunning surrounds of Stonor Park. You can order blankets and back rests, as well as premium tickets, plus there’s an onsite estrella bar, and pre-bookable street food. £15.
Oxford, various September
Do you dare the weather to hold into September? If so, Cult Screens are just the ticketato, showing The Shawshank Redemption, Grease, Top Gun and The Revenant in the courtyard outside Oxford Castle, or Romeo and Juliet at the wonderfully quirky venue of the Pitt Rivers. Deckchairs, director chairs, floor cushions or double bean bags for the loved up are all available with tickets starting at £13.50.
Blenheim Palace, 16 – 18 Sept
A corking venue for an outdoor cinema. The usual cinematic suspects of Spectre, Dirty Dancing and Back to the Future will blast out between 16-18 Sept on the lovely South Lawn at Blenheim Palace. Bring your own deck chairs, rugs and grub for your own picnic, or be lazy like me and buy your hot food and drinkies on site. £16.50 for adults and £12 for 12-15yrs.
Waddesdon Manor, 26- 27 August
Another one from The Luna Cinema company- popping up in the lovely surroundings of Waddesdon Manor gardens, screenings of Baz Luhrmanns Romeo and Juliet and Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be shown on the 26- 27 August. £13.50 for adults or £9 for under 15s.
Reading, from mid August
Cult Screens also pops up Berkshire way this summer, in the riverside oasis of Caversham Park Gardens. There’s a bar selling wines and craft beers, pitcher cocktails and soft drinks, plus popcorn, chocolate and crisps, and the Bitten Street food stall. Film-wise, highlights include An American Werewolf in London (18 August); The Revenant (19 August) and Dirty Dancing (10 September). See the full listings here.
The Ashmolean, 5-7 August
The pop-up picturehouse cinema is coming to the gorgeous surroundings of the Ashmolean’s rooftop restaurant. With screenings on the 5th, 5th and 7th of July, Phoenix Picturehouse will be showing three classics: Brief Encounter, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Jaws. You can also book a table or arrive for drinks to enjoy the view and relax before the screening begins.
Shoreditch, from July onwards
Into the grime and onto the roof tiles this month with East London’s Rooftop Film Club including venues like The Queen of Hoxton, Kensington Roof Gardens and Tobacco Dock showing a range of classics. Thoughtfully they offer free waterproof ponchos in the likely case of adverse weather conditions.
Somerset House, 4-17 August
Let’s not forget the increasingly 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. Ticket prices for non-premiere films start from £16.