The best open air cinemas across Cambs
No-one goes to the actual pictures anymore! These days it's all about taking your chances with the Great British weather and watching your favourite movie stars under the stars
Deck chairs, blankets, pop corn, prosecco and a film you’ve seen a million times. Yes Muddies, this is the recipe for a perfect summer evening. Outdoor cinema is the only way to watch your favourite flicks in the summer months – you might get drizzled on, and your popcorn might go soggy, but seriously, is there anything more romantic than watching a rom-com with your Mr under the stars? We think not. Here’s where you can pull up a deck chair over the coming months in Cambs…
The Enchanted Cinema, Gonville Hotel, Cambridge, various dates from 14 June – 19 Sept
Now in its fifth year, this magical outdoor cinema company have got a packed summer season ahead in the beautiful setting of Gonville Hotel’s gardens. Start your evening getting popcorn from the vintage popcorn maker and topping up your prosecco glass, before settling into a deck chair (actually maybe lay off on that prosecco, otherwise you’ll be asleep before the opening credits!) for a showing of one of these fab flicks: The Favourite, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Back to the Future, Bohemian Rhapsody and When Harry Met Sally…
Luna Cinema, Anglesey Abbey, 11 – 13 June
Three nights and three classic films in the beautiful setting of Anglesey Abbey – count me in. If you can’t be bothered to lug a picnic basket to your chosen spot and deal with all the washing up the next day, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s food and drink on site, that you can scoff while watching Top Gun, Bohemian Rhapsody or Dirty Dancing.
Pictures in the Park, Milton Country Park, 22 June
Queen are officially richer than Her Majesty the Queen according to Sunday Times’ Rich List, which isn’t surprising when you consider Bohemian Rhapsody (Rami Malek’s portrayal of singing sensation Freddie Mercury) was not only an Oscar-winning blockbuster hit at the cinemas, but also appears to be showing at every single outdoor cinema event across the UK this summer (and that’s a lot of We Will Rock Yous). you can see it pretty much anywhere in Cambs including the rather lovely setting of Milton Country Park on the 22 June.
Outdoor Cinema Season, Wicksteed Park, Kettering, 29 June – 17 August
You may be more familiar with Wicksteed as a fun amusement park for kids, but come summer it’s actually a rather delightful place for adults too, with its outdoor cinema season. It high kicks off with a real classic – Dirty Dancing and then moves on to so-hot-you’ll-need-to-take-your-own-fire-extinguisher A Star is Born, speeds up for a screening of Top Gun and then bites the dust with a finale of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Outdoor Cinema at The Abbey, Abbey Stadium, 20 – 21 June
You probably avoid Cambridge United’s stadium like the plague on match days, but here’s one reason you might want to make an exception – two nights of films under the stars, with food stalls and drinks (and not a foot ball in sight!). Swap footie chants for singing along as you watch Bohemian Rhapsody or The Greatest Showman.
Movies on the Meadows, Grantchester, 23 – 26 Aug
This four-day festival is organised by the Cambridge Film Festival and it’s one of the biggest and most famous outdoor film events in the UK – lucky us! Although that means you have to share the gorgeous river meadows and big screen with several thousand others, it also means the facilities are second to none with lots of local vendors selling food and drink from their vans. Each night three films are shown at the same time on separate screens, so if like me you and your other half can’t agree on a film you’ll both like, you can branch off and watch different ones from this list: Bohemian Rhapsody (yes, again – apparently you can’t have an outdoor film festival without a showing of this film!), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Avengers: Endgame, Free Solo, Fisherman’s Friends, Mary Poppins Returns, Monterey Pop, How to Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, American Graffiti, Dr Strangelove.
The Star & Mouse Picture Show, The River Cam Film Festival, 26 – 27 July
What could be more Cambridge-y (no that’s not a word, but you get my drift!) than a film festival that you reach by punts? Pitch up with your picnic at Scudamore’s and they’ll take you on a serene journey by punt down to the riverside screen to watch The Favourite or First Man. There’s live music to keep you entertained when Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone aren’t enthralling you with their intriguing love triangle or when you’ve stopped day-dreaming about Ryan Gosling.
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).