We all love summer, but every year it brings with it a dilemma. We want to be able to get outside and make the most of the sunshine, however, London is a busy city – it’s equally important to find the time to just veg out and relax.

How does one enjoy the summer whilst still getting in that much-needed chill time?

The answer is outdoor cinemas. These fantastic little venues have been popping up in recent years and have been working to bring Londoners together with a bit of downtime. Watch everything from the latest blockbusters to all-time classics in some of the capital’s coolest locations, from parks to rooftops – even on the river itself!

This week, we’re running through 7 of the best outdoor cinemas in London. Take your pick from these fantastic destinations.


The Luna Cinema

Churning out timeless classics alongside modern masterpieces almost every night of the week, the Luna Cinema bills itself as London’s #1 outdoor cinema. This moving theatre is held in some of the city’s most gorgeous locations, including Hampton Court Palace, Belvoir Castle, Paddington Street Gardens and Marylebone. It’s super popular, though, so make sure to book in advance.


The Nomad Cinema

This tiny pop-up cinema always puts in that little extra effort to make your movie experience special. There’s great food, decorations, even goodie bags to take home with you at the end of the night. The Nomad Cinema is a registered charity, too, so you know that your ticket price is going to a worthy cause – The Sustainability Institute.


Rooftop Film Club

These guys always manage to find the coolest spots in the city. Their rooftop theatre showings take place in some of London’s hippest neighbourhoods, including Shoreditch and Peckham. As such, they’re very much catering to the hipster crowd, showing cult classics like the Labyrinth, Napoleon Dynamite and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. They’ll probably serve you a cocktail in a jam jar, too.


Movies on the River

The River Thames is foremost amongst the places in London you wouldn’t expect to find a cinema. Nonetheless, Time Out’s unique event, Movies on the River, will return this year for spectacular views and great films. You’ll enjoy a peaceful cruise down the river just before the sun sets, after which you’ll be treated to a viewing of your favourite movies. It’s a great way to see the city and have a relax at the same time.


Film4 Summer Screen

Somerset House is one of the most stunning locations we can think of to hold a pop up cinema. Not only is it a perfect venue, but you’ll also see some fantastic independent films that you won’t see anywhere else. Showing the UK premieres of Sold Out: Pain & Glory and Inna De Yard, Film4 is working hard to bring new movie experiences to today’s Londoners.


Summer at the Southbank Centre

This lovely little outdoor cinema has one thing that definitely helps to sell it – it’s totally free! Catch fantastic musicals like Chicago, Moulin Rouge and Little Shop of Horrors right on the banks of the Thames. After the showing, take a look around some of the fantastic summer exhibitions happening at the Southbank Centre, including music, dance and fashion. It’s a vibrant place to be on a Friday evening.


British Summer Time’s Open House

If you checked out our post on best summer festivals, you’ll know that BST is top of the list when it comes to hosting A-tier performing artists in the city. In between gigs, however, the organisers make use of the space by opening up the festival site for free movies and live shows. Make good use of the street food vendors and catch modern classics like Bohemian Rapsody and Guardians of the Galaxy.

For more exciting things going on in and around London, check out our London tours page. You’ll find the very best ways to explore the capital.

Author

Evan Evans provides unforgettable journeys and experiences to Britain’s most iconic locations. Journey deep into the heart of Britain’s incredible history, culture and legends on a guided tour with London’s longest-running tour operator.