Outdoor Cinema In London: Where To Watch Films In The Open Air This Summer

Last Updated 24 May 2024

Outdoor Cinema In London: Where To Watch Films In The Open Air This Summer
A rooftop cinema, with views towards the Orbit in the Olympic Park at dusk
Rooftop Film Club is back at Roof East for summer 2024.

It wouldn't be summer in London without an onslaught of pop-up outdoor cinemas and rooftop film screenings. Whether you're hankering for classic flicks or the newest releases, check out where you can get your al fresco film fix in summer 2024.

Rooftop Film Club London 2024: Peckham and Stratford

A rooftop cinema at sunset
Catch outdoor film screenings with spectacular views at Rooftop Film Club in Peckham

King of the summer cinema scene, Rooftop Film Club brings screenings to rooftops in Peckham (Bussey Building) and Stratford (Roof East) again this year.

RFC's winning formula involves mixing classics and perennial favourites (10 Things I Hate About You, Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, Fight Club, When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman) with new releases (Barbie, Oppenheimer).

Food and drink is available from well-stocked bars and carefully-selected food vendors (Share a Slice pizza along with traditional cinema snacks in Peckham, and a selection of traders at Roof East in Stratford). No rustling, please.

The Peckham venue offers an LED screen, so films can be shown during the day as well as at sundown. This also means more family-friendly daytime screenings at weekends and during school holidays — Wonka, Ratatouille, and Elemental are on the first wave announced this year. Speaking of family, Peckham is a dog-friendly venue, with (well-behaved) canine companions welcome at all screenings (note that only assistance dogs are allowed at Roof East though).

Both venues have a limited number of wheelchair spaces available, so make sure you book yours in advance if you need one. There are also selected open captions screenings, where captions are shown throughout the film for the benefit of Deaf or hard of hearing cinemagoers.

Our recommendation? Head for the Bussey Building in Peckham for seriously impressive views over the London skyline at sunset.

Rooftop Film Club 2024. From 19 April at Roof East (Stratford) and from 25 April at Bussey Building (Peckham). Schedules and tickets are released around a month at a time.

Adventure Cinema 2024: Charlton House and Osterley Park

People sitting on picnic chairs and blankets on grass in front of a large house watching a film on a temporary screen

Touring outdoor movie screen Adventure Cinema rattles around the UK at a whiplash-inducing rate, swinging from Perth to Plymouth and, thankfully for us, making a couple of pitstops in London — at rather beautiful venues to boot.

It's a fairly standard outdoor cinema set-up — bring your own picnic chair or blanket (unless you've splashed out for VIP tickets) to watch classic films (Grease, Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing) in stately surroundings.

Most venues have food and drink stalls on-site, but you can bring your own picnic/snacks if you prefer. Alcohol rules vary between venues so check before you pack the vino.

Adventure Cinema 2024. UK tour begins 10 May, London dates are Charlton House & Gardens (7-9 June)  and Osterley Park and House (8-11 August). No Ham House screenings this year.

Embassy Gardens Drive-In Cinema

Beep beep! For one day only, a rather special drive-in cinema pulls up at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms. Focus is very much on classic cars, and you can hire one — or a supercar — to sit in and watch a film, or cruise up in your own set of wheels. Deckchairs and blankets are available to hire too.

It's an all-dayer, with a programme of blockbuster films shown 10am-10pm: The Lion King (1994), Star Wars: A New Hope, Mamma Mia, and From Russia With Love are projected onto the big screen. Flatbreads, burgers, snacks, and ice cream — plus summery cocktails, mocktails, juices, beers and wines — are available to buy on-site from The Alchemist, with popcorn and other cinema snacks also available.

Embassy Gardens Drive-In Cinema, 11 May 2024.

Free outdoor film screenings at Summer by the River

Summer by the River offers free entertainment all summer - including film screenings on Tuesday evenings.

Open-air festival Summer by the River is back at London Bridge City, with The Scoop hosting outdoor film screenings on Tuesday evenings. Classic and family films are on the programme including The Lost Boys (11 June), Barbie (18 June) and Back to the Future (16 July). As you'd expect, the free screenings are popular, so get down there in plemty of time to bag a good spot.

There are pop-up bars and street food vendors throughout the festival area, so plenty of choices for cinema snacks and refreshments.

Summer by the River, 30 May-1 September 2024.

Outdoor Cinema at BST Hyde Park Open House

Open House, the free-entry weekday part of BST Hyde Park Festival is back, with all manner of free activities including outdoor cinema screenings. Barbie, Mean Girls and Wayne's World are on the schedule, with entry on a first-come, first-served basis, and headphones provided.

Outdoor Cinema at BST Hyde Park Open House. Free, 28 June-11 July.

Screen on the Canal, King's Cross

Screen on the Canal pitches up at Granary Square in King's Cross, offering free screenings of classic films throughout the summer. Sit on the steps alongside the canal, and watch the films on a floating screen on the canal. Keep an eye on the website for details of specific films when announced.

Screen on the Canal, King's Cross. Free, 1 July-18 August 2024.

Summer Screen in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens 2024

For the 11th year, pop-up outdoor cinema Summer Screen comes to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, showing four films across four Tuesday evenings — and the screenings are free (though you'll need to book tickets). Pack a picnic and blanket to watch Encanto (9 July), Barbie (16 July), Men in Black (23 July), and Moulin Rouge (30 July).

Summer Screen in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, 9-30 July 2024.

Free film screenings at Lyric Square, Hammersmith

Free film nights are back as part of the Hammersmith Summer Festival, with classics and family favourites being shown at 6pm on 17, 19 and 25 July. Keep an eye on the website for details when the programme is released.

Free film screenings at Lyric Square, Hammersmith, free, 17-25 July 2024.

Outdoor film screenings at Lower Marsh, Waterloo

There's a day of free outdoor film screenings at Lower Marsh in Waterloo on Wednesday 7 August. We're promised screenings of Napoleon Dynamite, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Back to the Future. Full details TBC, but one to bear in mind for the summer holidays.

Film screening day at Lower Marsh, 7 August 2024.

Outdoor cinema at Barbican

Barbican’s Outdoor Cinema series returns, showing a programme of films under the city’s stars, set in the surroundings of the Barbican Sculpture Court. There's a selection of street food vendors and bars on sites, and films include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Marie Antoinette, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Outdoor cinema at Barbican, 21 August-1 September 2024.

Also keep an eye on:

  • The Luna Cinema brings outdoor cinema to spectacular venues in London and beyond — summer programme announcement due soon.
  • Merchant Square in Paddington usually offers free outdoor film screenings through the summer.
  • Canary Wharf upped its game for free outdoor movie screenings in summer 2023, and we hope to see the same this year.
  • Kew the Movies usually pitches up for family-friendly film screenings towards the end of the summer hols.

We'll update this page with details of the above as soon as 2024 details are announced.

Weather not on your side but still fancy a film? Check out London's best independent cinemas. And keep an eye out for these London buildings which all used to be cinemas.