Outdoor Cinema In London: Where To Watch Films Al Fresco This Summer

Outdoor Cinema In London: Where To Watch Films Al Fresco This Summer
An aerial view of Rooftop Film Club Peckham at sunset - rows of deckchairs are set out on a rooftop facing towards the screen, with buildings from the surrounding area visible beyond.
Rooftop Film Club is a summer in London staple

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 2022.

Rooftop Film Club 2022 - Peckham and Stratford

A daylight picture of Rooftop Film Club Stratford without any people there. Rows of blue deckchairs are set out on fake grass on a rooftop, facing towards a large cinema screen. Local landmarks include the Orbit are visible beyond.
Rooftop Film Club returns to Roof East in Stratford and Bussey Building in Peckham

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 (The Godfather, Scream) with new releases (King Richard, House of Gucci, Death on the Nile) and perennial favourites (Pretty Woman, The Notebook). Food and drink is available from well-stocked bars and carefully-selected food vendors (Share a Slice pizza in Peckham, and burgers from Naughty Burger, stuffed Turkish flatbreads from Raastawala, kati rolls from Piddaji and desserts from the Treats Club in Stratford), as well as popcorn, chocolate and other classic cinema snacks. No rustling, please.

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

Rooftop Film Club, 4 May - September 2022. Tickets from £15.95.

Free film screenings at Summer by the River

Crowds of people sitting on grey stone steps watching a band perform in The Scoop at Summer by the River
Free screenings at Summer by the River

Encanto, The Princess Bride, West Side Story, Dirty Dancing, Frozen and Spider-Man: No Way Home are among the films being screened at Summer by the River, the free festival by the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Screenings take places at The Scoop, the outdoor amphitheatre next to the former City Hall building. Best of all, they're free — though capacity is limited, so get there early to get a seat. Check the programme to see what's coming up — as well as films, catch free gigs, theatre shows and other events throughout the summer.

Summer by the River runs 30 May-2 September 2022.

Summer Screens, Canary Wharf

Summer Screens at Canary Wharf

It's predominantly a summer of sport on the big screens at Cabot Square and Canada Square Park, with cricket,  Formula One and Wimbledon on the bill. That said, in the past, the season  has come to a close with Movie Nights in September — keep an eye on the Summer Screens website for this year's information,

Summer Screens at Canary Wharf, free entry, 30 May-22 September 2022.

Marylebone Summer Festival film screening

A view of an audience sitting in deckchairs in the dark, all looking towards a screen. They are all wearing illuminated headphones.

Marylebone Summer Festival takes place 18-19 June, with a special, one-off open-air cinema night. Head to Paddington Street Gardens to watch Bohemian Rhapsody from the comfort of your deckchair, with money raised from the event going to the London-based Greenhouse Sports charity.

Marylebone Summer Festival, 18-19 June 2022.

Adventure Cinema: Beckenham, Charlton House, Osterley Park

A red brick palace-style building provides the backdrop for a large, cinema-style screen.  People sit in deckchairs in front of the screen watching a film.
Osterley Park is one of this year's locations

While Adventure Cinema's epic summer tour takes it to venues all over the country, it makes three stops in London: at Charlton House, Osterley Park and Beckenham Place Park.

It's a fairly standard outdoor cinema set-up — bring your own picnic chair or blanket (unless you've splashed for VIP tickets) to watch classic and newish releases (West Side Story, Mamma Mia, Rocketman) in some impressive surroundings. Most venues have food and drink stalls on-site, and some let you bring your own picnic, but it varies so do check the specifics.

Adventure Cinema: Charlton House & Gardens — 24-26 June 2022 | Osterley Park and House — 1-3 July 2022 | Beckenham Place Park — 19-21 August 2022. Tickets from £14.50.

Outdoor Summer Film Festival at Greenwich Peninsula

Image: Greenwich Peninsula

The Design District at Greenwich Peninsula hosts an outdoor film festival as part of its Summer Sessions programme. The BFG, West Side Story, Cruella and King Richard are among the offerings on the programme, with street food and cocktails available to buy on site.

Outdoor Summer Film Festival, 25 June-27 August. Tickets from £6 and must be booked in advance.

The Luna Cinema 2022 - multiple venues

Grease is shown on a screen erected in front of Hampton Court Palace. It's dark, and audience members are sitting on deck chairs on the lawn.
The Luna Cinema specialises in impressive backdrops

Combine cinema with sightseeing courtesy of The Luna Cinema. It brings its outdoor screenings to some of London's most spectacular venues. This year's London locations are Dulwich Park, Kenwood House, Marble Hill, Clapham Common, Chiswick House, Westminster Abbey, Lincoln's Inn, Kensington Palace, Old Royal Naval College, Wimbledon Park, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Danson House. That's some pretty swoonworthy architecture to admire — just try to keep your eyes on the screen so you don't miss any of the action.

Each venue has a bar and food and drink stalls, and you can even order online from your seat, and be notified when it's ready, to save you missing any of the screening. Some venues will allow you to bring your own picnic in, but rules vary so check when you buy your tickets.

Every summer cinema staple you can think of is on the programme — Grease,  Pretty Woman, Moulin Rouge, Dirty Dancing, Notting Hill — as well as newer releases such as West Side Story, House of Gucci and Belfast.

The Luna Cinema, London dates run 26 June-18 September 2022, with other locations and dates all over the country. Tickets are £17.50 adult, with various VIP upgrades available.

Open House at BST Hyde Park

Image: Becan Rickard Elliott/Open House

BST Hyde Park festival is best known for the music — Pearl Jam and Duran Duran are the headliners this year. But in the downtime between gigs, the site is used for Open House, free activities that are open to anyone.

One of this year's offerings is a free outdoor cinema, showing films including Spice World, Back To The Future, and Mary Poppins Returns.

Open House at BST Hyde Park, 27 June-7 July 2022. Entry is free, no booking, but first come, first served.

Screen on the Canal, King's Cross

It's a sure sign of summer in London when the canal-side steps at King's Cross are abuzz with people enjoying the sunshine. Cinema brand Everyman opens a pop-up Screen on the Canal, offering free film screenings throughout the summer. Take a seat on bean bags, loungers, or the steps themselves, and cast your eyes on the screen, located on the opposite side of the water. Matilda, Encanto, Spider-Man: No Way Home have already been confirmed, with the rest of the programme to be announced.

Screen on the Canal, 27 June-7 August. Entry is free, just turn up.

Outdoor Cinema at Barbican

People sitting in rows of chairs at the Sculpture Court at night, with a film shown on the large screen. Nearby skyscrapers can be seen behind the screen.

Not content with its indoor, year-round cinema offerings, Barbican hosts an al fresco cinema in the Sculpture Court for one week in August, with a programme rather different from those at the above venues. It takes inspiration from the current Our Time On Earth exhibition, with films that have a profound connection to their setting, including a screening of Pink Floyd's gig in the Roman amphitheatre at Pompeii. Browse the full programme.

Seating is provided on a first come first served basis, and food and drink will be available (details TBC at time of writing). There are no loudspeakers as it's in a residential area, so you're provided with headphones.

Outdoor Cinema at Barbican, 23-28 August 2022. Tickets start at £18.

Kew the Movies, Kew Gardens

Image: Kew Gardens

Enjoy five days of film screenings in Kew Gardens courtesy of Luna Cinema, with morning, afternoon and evening events — ideal for school holiday entertainment. The daytime screenings are family-friendly films including The Gruffalo, Encanto and Aladdin, while the evenings are more for adults — think West Side Story and No Time To Die.

Kew the Movies, 31 August-4 September 2022. Tickets from £12.50 child/£14.75 adult.

Last Updated 16 June 2022

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