Films under the stars ǀ Our top 5 alfresco movie nights

women at the cinema

Pop-up cinemas and outdoor films have become something of a craze over the past few summers – and are a unique and novel way to enjoy some of the classics or to discover a new favourite. Taking a hint from our American cousins (think Grease and drive-ins), London has become a hotspot for these events. Here at WeAreTheCity, we have put together a list of the most interesting ways to enjoy a film in the great outdoors – and to make the most of the last remaining glimmer of summer this September.

Portobello Film Festival – 4th to 20th September

The Portobello Film Festival is a three weeklong festival with plenty on offer for everyone. It is internationally renowned and premieres over 700 new films, documentaries, shorts and features.

This year marks the festival’s 20th birthday and alongside the awards and conventions, there is a number of pop-up cinemas showing the latest indie films.

Backyard Cinema Film Festival

Backyard Cinema have teamed up with Camden Market for this year’s film festival for a truly magical experience. There are two screens to choose from, offering more choice and flexibility – try the Main Stage for classic’s such as Grease (4th September), Teen Wolf (3rd September) or the much-anticipated Amy (2nd September).

For those who want a more intimate or different experience, then the Cuban Screen is for you. Showing indie films, documentaries and world films such as All This Mayhem (2nd September), Northern Soul (3rd September) and Submarine (4th September).

There is pre-film entertainment on offer with live music and food and drink are also available – though unfortunately you cannot bring your own picnic. You can choose between comfy bean bags and deck chairs for seating – but be sure to bring blankets and jumpers, as it cools down once the sun sets.

But be warned, these are selling out fast – so if you want to attend book your tickets now.

Pop-up Screens in London’s parks

Pop Up Screens is exactly what is says – an inflatable screen moved to different London parks for a truly alfresco experience. The locations include Holborn, Hammersmith, Lewisham and East Greenwich, but there are many more. Films on show in September include 80s classics like Top Gun, Ghostbusters and ET.

You’ll need to bring seating (think camping chairs and picnic blankets) and again warm clothes are a must! And if you enjoy your first visit, Pop Up Screens offer you the chance to buy weekend tickets for even more fun.

The Nomad

The Nomad offers the most unique and unusual experiences of our outdoor film list. You can relax at Fulham Palace, sail away on the Hyde Park Lido or watch a horror in Brompton Cemetery. Films featuring in September include recently released films like The Great Gatsby, Birdman, Gravity and The Theory of Everything.

And best of all – all profits from the cinema go to charity!

Hot Tub Cinema

Lastly, but by no means least is the Hot Tub Cinema – a way to truly watch a film in style. This is the first event of its kind to combine hot tubs and movies and is one that will be a talking point amongst everyone. Films that are currently available are Lion King, Dirty Dancing, Free Willy and Superbad, amongst others.

Hot tubs are available to book for up to six people, or you can by individual tickets and share. There is a waiter service, so no getting out into the cold night air and the venues are all fully licensed with food available.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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