It wouldn't be summer in London without an onslaught of pop-up outdoor cinemas and rooftop film screenings. Whether you're into classic flicks or the newest releases, check out where you can get your al fresco film fix in summer 2021.
Be aware that some venues may still be operating with some restrictions, so check with organisers for the most up-to-date information.
The Luna Cinema 2021 - multiple venues
Combine cinema with sightseeing courtesy of The Luna Cinema. It brings its outdoor screenings to some of London's most spectacular venues, including Kensington Palace, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Brompton Cemetery — just try to keep your eyes on the screen so you don't miss any of the action. Each venue has a bar and various food and drink options, including popcorn, crisps and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
Every summer cinema staple you can think of is on the programme — Sister Act, Romeo + Juliet, Top Gun, Moulin Rouge, Dirty Dancing, The Greatest Showman, Casablanca, Singin in the Rain, Pretty Woman...
The Luna Cinema, until 3 October (though some venues during the season are not in London). Tickets are £18 adult/£13.50 child, or there's the Luna Luxe Sofa option, which includes sofa seating, a snack hamper, blankets and heater, at £95 for two people.
Rooftop Film Club 2021 - Peckham and Stratford
King of the summer cinema scene Rooftop Film Club brings screenings to rooftops in Peckham and Stratford again this year
RFC's winning formula involved mixing cult classics (Moonrise Kingdom, Fight Club, Thelma and Louise) with new releases (Cruella, Raya and the Last Dragon) and perennial favourites (Pretty Woman, Grease, The Notebook). Food and drink is available from well-stocked bars and carefully-selected food vendors (pizza in Peckham, and an enticing selection of pizza, burgers and Indian street food in Stratford).
Our recommendation? Head for the Bussey Building in Peckham for seriously impressive views over the London skyline at sunset.
Rooftop Film Club 2021, until 5 September. Tickets from £15.95, must be booked in advance.
Summer on Screen at Wembley Park
Head along to Wembley Park to kick back on a deckchair and watch a film or two, for free, in the shadow of Wembley Stadium. The pop-up open air cinema is keeping kids happy with the likes of Ratatouille, Cool Runnings and The Lion King, while adults can take a mate (or date) along to see Bohemian Rhapsody, Happy Ending and A Star is Born, among others. The final screening, on 4 September, is being put to a public vote — keep an eye on the website for details.
Summer on Screen at Wembley Park, until 5 September. Screenings are free, no need to book, but deckchairs are first come first served, so arrive in plenty of time.
Pop Up Screens - Hither Green, Fulham and Hammersmith
Pop Up Screens is doing a shortened version of its usual tour of London parks, with stops in Manor House Gardens in Hither Green, Bishops's Park in Fulham, and Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith throughout August and September.
They're keeping the hits coming though — the programme consists of (deep breath) Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star is Born, Rocketman, Dirty Dancing, Jurassic Park and Jaws, so it's toe-tapping musical numbers and catchy theme tunes all the way.
Pop Up Screens, 27 August-12 September. Tickets are £14 adult (£9 child for family-friendly screenings) and must be booked in advance.
Outdoor Cinema at Summer by the River 2021
Free summer festival Summer By The River returns to London Bridge City (the stretch of riverfront between London Bridge and Tower Bridge) with events almost every day. Film screenings are dotted through the programme, with some fairly recent releases in there — Toy Story 4, Wonder Woman 1984, Frozen 2, a Beauty and the Beast singalong, Yesterday and The Witches are all being shown.
Summer by the River 2021, until 30 September. Events are free, no booking required.
Summer Screen at International Quarter Stratford
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Stratford's International Quarter hosts a summer of films and sports events all shown on the big screen. Among Olympics, Paralympics and cricket coverage, catch a selection of films ranging from kids' favourites (The Lion King, Toy Story, The Parent Trap) to adult classics (Moulin Rouge, Little Shop of Horrors, About Time).
Summer Screen at The Spark (located between Westfield and the Aquatics Centre), until 5 September. Booking is required for screenings.
Summer Screens, Canary Wharf
It's predominantly a summer of sport on the big screens at Cabot Square and Canada Square Park, with Olympics, cricket, Rugby Union and Formula One events being shown every day of the week. That said, the season comes to a close with Movie Nights on three consecutive Tuesdays in September.
Choose from Mamma Mia (7 September), Top Gun (14 September) or The Greatest Showman (21 September), all at 7pm. Bring your own blanket, snacks and drinks and watch the film among the skyscrapers with your friends and family.
Looking for Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House? After several successful years, that's not happening in 2021, as the space is being used for Dodge instead. Organisers hope to see it return for summer 2022.