Pass the popcorn…
...top up the Pimm's and pitch up for a pop-up film night. And now please follow the usher this way for over 100 screenings across Bucks, Oxon and beyond!
These days you don’t simply go to the cinema, spontaneously play a DVD or (dare I say it with rural wifi) ‘stream’. British Summer film nights need to play roulette with the weather – it’s al fresco all the way, baby. But it works – I love settling into a deckchair, grabbing a drink and blanket, and watching a film I’ve watched a million times. Who’s joining me?
Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, Thurs 20, Fri 21, Sat 22, Thurs 25, Fri 26, Sat 27 Jun
Picturehouse Outdoor Cinema pops up with two long weekends of al fresco cinema, plus a fully stocked bar (oh hello!) Up first is cult comedy Withnail and I, followed by singalong versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman. Then it’s Top Gun, another singalong for Grease and finally, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Films start at 9.30pm with garden games and a film-themed quiz beforehand.
The Paddock Picturehouse, Watlington, Oxon: Sat 29 June & Sat 27 July
Queen are officially richer than the Queen, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, and it’s all thanks to the epic biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami Malek’s portrayal of the strutting showman Freddie Mercury also snagged Malek an Oscar for Best Actor and it’s pretty much the biggest pop-up cinema movie of the summer. It’s screening at almost every outdoor venue in Bucks and Oxon but first off the blocks is The Paddock Picturehouse (Sat 29 Jun, 7.30pm). You can also catch Steven Spielberg’s epic dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park on Sat 27 Jul, 7.30pm.
Ascot Racecourse, Thurs 18 – Sat 20 Jul
Giddy up to Ascot for three nights of fabulous of films under the stars. The giant cinema screen will be positioned on the lawns of the racecourse with this stunning backdrop of the grandstand. The Luna Bar will be fully stocked (good job with the expected Muddy stampede, and there will be food to soak it all up). What’s being screened? All the big hitters of the last year – Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Films starts at 9.15pm.
The Woodland Lodge, Henley-on-Thames, Fri 19 – Sat 20 Jul
If you and your kids want to see the all singing all dancing Hugh Jackman-Zac Efron musical fandango just one more time (um, guilty!), then pop-up cinema extraordinaire Firefly Events are screening The Greatest Showman at The Woodland Lodge, found on the Culden Faw Estate (Fri 19 Jul, 9.15pm), followed by Bohemian Rhapsody (Sat 2o Jul, 9.15pm). Firefly Events pop-up over the border in Wellington Country Park, Berks too: The Greatest Showman (31 Aug, 9.15pm), Bohemian Rhapsody (30 Aug, 9.15pm).
Wycombe Museum, Fri 26 Jul & Fri 16 Aug
Wycombe Museum brings back its pop-up cinema for another year. You can opt for nostalgia and go for Back to the Future (Fri 26 Jul, 8.30pm) or if you fancy a sing along there’s Bohemian Rhapsody (Fri 16 Aug, 8pm). Hotdogs, popcorn and a bar too – all the food groups represented.
Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Fri 26 – Sat 27 Jul
It’s a summer of sequels over at the lovely Peterley Manor Farm in G Miss for its Family, Food and Film Nights with Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (Fri 26 Jul, 6.30pm) and Mary Poppins Returns (Sat 27 Jul, 6.30pm). Outdoor cinema in the meadow, marshmallow toasting, games and foodie stalls including pizza, locally brewed beer, pop-up horsebox bar serving cocktails and Muddy favourite Rumsey’s Chocolatiere. You can even book a VIP yurt that comes with Prosecco and beanbags if you’re feeling fancy.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, 31 Jul & 1 – 3 Aug
How stunning is this backdrop? It looks like it’s been taken right from a scene in Harry Potter, oh wait… The Museum of Natural History has big ties with the films (the Grand Hall is just round the corner at Christchurch) and is paying homage to the plucky little wizard with a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (3 Aug, 9pm). Also showing is Jurassic Park (1 Aug, 9pm)- no surprise there, the museum is dino-mad- and Bohemian Rhapsody (31 Jul, 2 Aug, 9pm).
Amersham Cricket Club, Amersham, 15 – 18 Aug
It’s an absolute chock-a-block line up of films for Neighbourhood Cinema’s Cinema Under the Stars (and quite possibly a summer shower, you never know with English weather). Catch a permed Julia Roberts and a slightly-creepy-but-gets-away-with-it Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (15 Aug, 6pm), The Greatest Showman (15 Aug, 9pm), Jurassic Park (16 Aug, 1pm), Dirty Dancing (16 Aug, 6pm), Bohemian Rhapsody (16 Aug, 9pm), Mamma Mia! (17 Aug, 6pm), A Star Is Born (17 Aug, 9pm) and Mary Poppins Returns (18 Aug, 12.30pm)- phew!
Buscot Park, Faringdon, Fri 16 Aug, 9pm
Yep, you guessed it, Bohemian Rhapsody again. This time on the pristine lawn of 18th century country house Buscot Park. There’ll be an on-site bar but bring a picnic if you can be bothered.
Campbell Park Amphitheatre, Milton Keynes, 21 – 25 Aug
The latest version of A Star Is Born is so hot it needs to come with its own fire extinguisher. Bradley Cooper plays a washed-up country singer who takes a shy newbie with a giant voice, played by Lady Gaga (unrecognisable when not wearing a dress made of meat or a lobster hat), under his wing and *ahem* his duvet. Naughty (21 Aug, 8.30pm). Keep the music vibes going with Bohemian Rhapsody (23 Aug, 8.30pm), The Greatest Showman (25 Aug, 8.30pm) or Dirty Dancing (22 Aug, 8.30pm). Jurassic Park shows again too (24 Aug, 8.30pm).
Waddesdon Manor, 13 – 15 Sept
Can’t get a lovelier location that Waddesdon for an al fresco film screening, stunning Bucks countryside, French chateau-style manor, immaculate landscaped gardens aaaand there’ll be a fully stocked bar. Showing is A Star Is Born (Sept 13, 7.30), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Sept 14, 7.30pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (Sept 15, 8pm. Choose the film(s) you want to see, grab your bezzie mates and enjoy while juggling a G&T, hot dog and popcorn.
Stubbings Nursery Maidenhead, Berks, Fri 7 – Sat 8 Jun & Sat 3 – Sun 4 Aug
Ticking lots of boxes: the stunning historic location just over the Berks border, box office hit on the big screen and an abundance of popcorn. Stubbings Estate in Maidenhead will be popping up the big screen, while you sit back and enjoy Bradley and Lady Gaga’s pash fest in A Star is Born (7 Jun, 9.15pm) and you’ll get your fromage fill with, Mamma Mia Here We Go Again (8 Jun, 9.15pm). Worth seeing just for Cher, surely? Or later in the summer there’s Jurassic Park (3 Aug, 8.45pm), or if the giant, angry lizard creatures don’t grab you, there’s always another opportunity to see Bohemian Rhapsody (4 Aug, 8.45pm).
Grease has been around for over 40 years. Feel old yet? The retro classic and original High School Musical (sorry kids) shows at Cotswold corker Sudley Castle on 25 Aug, 8.45pm along with A Star Is Born (24 Aug, 8.54pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (23 Aug).
Abbey Ruins Reading, Thu 20 – Sat 22 Jun & 21 – 23 Aug
Olivia Colman’s Oscar-winning performance in The Favourite (with the most creative use of the C word that I have ever heard) is my pick of the pop up movies – Thu 20 Jun at Reading’s Abbey Ruins. Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star in this love-triangle / power battle that looks wonderfully bitchy (20 Jun, 9.30pm). If that doesn’t float your boat, hotties Tom Cruise, Christian Slater and Brad Pitt will give you a nasty love bite in Interview With The Vampire (21 Jun, 9.30pm). Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody is being shown on the Saturday (22 Aug, 9.30pm). Again. Abbey ruins also have a late summer stint with Oscar-winners Green Book (21 Aug, 8.30pm) and A Star Is Born (21 Aug, 8.30pm). And finally, celebrating 25 years of running and Bubba Gump Shrimp, Tom Hanks will be back as the loveable Forrest Gump. Gaaaawd I love that film (23 Aug, 8.30pm).
Warwick Castle, Warks, 10 – 12 Sept
All the usual suspects (although I can never get enough of Bradley Cooper), A Star Is Born (10 Sept, 8.30pm), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (11 Sept, 8.30pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (12 Sept, 8.30pm). I’ll forgive this one, a castle is the perfect setting for Queen!
Summer by the River, London Bridge City, London, 30 May – 28 Aug
The largest outdoor festival in London running from 1 June to 2 September, with outdoor film, theatre, sporting events, food, drinks and entertainment. Films include a HAWT Jason Momoa in Aquaman (4 Jun, 4pm), a live screening of Royal Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet (11 Jun, 4pm) and the brilliant The Incredibles 2 (25 Aug, time TBC). Full line up here.
Film4Summer, Somerset House, 8 – 21 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. This year’s highlights include The Matrix on 12 Aug, 7pm (who saw Hollywood hottie Keanu Reeves in the latest YSL campaign?), horror/sci-fi back to back of Get Out & They Live (17 Aug, 7pm), cult classic Clueless (18 Aug, 7pm) and Film4Summer’s 200th screening which will be celebrated with Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-winning, superhero spectacular Black Panther (9 Aug, 7pm).
Luna Kids Cinema, Hampton Court Palace, 14 – 18 Aug
Outdoor cinema stalwart Luna Cinema pops up at Hampton Court Palace with the UK’s first al fresco cinema especially for children. I love those kids films that are just as enjoyable for grown ups (the odd naughty joke here and there – ignorance is bliss!) and Hampton Court is showing the best of the bunch with 15 screenings including brand new Dumbo (14 Aug, 4.30pm), a Julia Donaldson madly of The Gruffalo, Zog and Highway Rat (17 Aug, 10am), Moana (Aug 17, 1pm) and The Incredibles 2 (16 Aug, 4pm).
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Film Oxford: Under the stars, various locations, 1 Jun – 7 Sept
Something a little unusual to kick of cinema season is Film Oxford‘s annual event Under the Stars– no big screen blockbusters at this one, the film fest showcases short films made by local filmmakers. There’ll be six screenings this year with films shown in community spaces across Oxford including Bury Knowle Park, part of Headington Festival, and Florence Park. Full line up TBC.
Stonor Park, Henley On Thames, Fri 7 – Sun 9 Jun
Hellfire Caves, High Wycombe, Fri 7 Jun
Not exactly an open air cinema (quite the opposite in fact, the clue’s in the title!) but it’s making the list because, according to my 10 year old, watching a movie underground in a cave is the coolest thing EVER. Two films on offer, ’80s adventure-fantasy Labyrinth starring David Bowie (RIP) as the mullet-adorning Goblin King, or The Dark Knight starring Wales’ favourite method-actor Christian Bale. Films start at 6.50pm and 8.30pm respectively.