Lights, camera… outdoor action
Pack your picnic and give your social life CPR this spring and summer! From Wonder Woman to Anchorman, here's my definitive guide to outdoor cinema and theatre.
A gift from the ‘going out’ gods that involves three of my favourite unholy activities – watching a show, lounging outside and getting tipsy are all available in one delicious bundle. Don’t miss your spring-summer 2021 movie marathon, with a steady stream of outdoor cinema and theatre nights in Berkshire.
Strawberry Moon Cinemas, Windsor Racecourse, 15-16 May
Missing your fill of Hollywood big hitters? Wonder Woman 1984 went straight to streaming, so this could be your chance to see Gal Gadot kicking ass on the big screen in the Wonder Woman sequel (15 Apr) at the Strawberry Moon Drive-In Cinema at Windsor Racecourse. Not your bag? You can also see Legally Blonde and Godzilla v Kong (16 Apr); The Greatest Showman and Deadpool (17 Apr); rom com classic Four Weddings and Funeral (20 Apr); Tom & Jerry and Joker (23 Apr). Then it’s off to Kellerman’s for Dirty Dancing before you whip out your stockings and suspenders for The Rocky Horror Picture Show (24 Apr). Don’t miss Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s Oscar-winning hit, A Star Is Born (25 Apr); Mamma Mia (28 Apr); Notting Hill (29 Apr); Grease (30 Apr); Bohemian Rhapsody (1 May); Bad Boys For Life, starring Will Smith, (4 May); and finally pull up to the bumper for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (14 May). Food and drink is available to order via the app. Keep an eye out, more films to be announced.
Luna Drive In Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 6-24 May
Remove the six-month-old Hula Hoops from under the passenger seat, we’re off to Blenheim Palace for a posh drive-in cinema experience. Offering state-of-the-art sound and visuals, the UK’s highest definition outdoor screens, a unique in-car digital sound solution and a new ‘click & collect’ food and drink offer, guests can enjoy classics such as Jurassic Park (6 and 19 May); Dirty Dancing (7 and 14 May); Grease (8 and 21 May); Pretty Woman (9 and 24 May), Jaws (10 May); Back To The Future (11 and 17 May) and Notting Hill (12 May); Pulp Fiction (13 May); The Greatest Showman (15 and 22 May); Bohemian Rhapsody (16 May); Romeo + Juliet (18 May); Star Wars: A New Hope (20 May) and Rocketman (23 May) – all from the comfort of your own, erm, *ahem* well-maintained car.
OPEN AIR CINEMA
Abbey Ruins, Reading
Surrounded by the urban sprawl of Reading you’ll find the Abbey Ruins. Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I and later destroyed by Henry VIII. Today it’s popular perfect picnic spot and provides a dramatic backdrop for outdoor theatre shows and cinema screenings. The films being shown are as iconic as the setting. First up, the super-cool True Romance (27 May) – written by but not directed by Tarantino. Followed by Baz Luhrmann’s stylish retelling of Romeo + Juliet (28 May) and Oscar winning musical, La La Land (29 May). Then things get darker with The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s last film before he died (21 Aug) and An American Werewolf In London (22 Aug). A selection of cinema drinks and snacks will be available. Doors open at 7.30pm, film starts at 9pm.
Caversham Court Gardens, Reading
Caversham Courts Gardens is an under-rated riverside park and now it has the Summer Screens cinema too. Balmy evening staring at the big screen? Race you. There are eight films on Caversham movie reel kicking off in June with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (24 Jun); The Grand Budapest Hotel (25 Jun) and Mamma Mia! (26 Jun). The outdoor cinema returns in July with a retro line up: The Breakfast Club ( 22 Jul); Grease (23 Jul) and Thelma & Louise (24 Jul). You last chance to snag your spot will 17 and 18 Sep, but the films are TBC. A selection of cinema drinks and snacks will be available. Doors open at 7.30pm, film starts at 9pm.
Shaw House, Newbury, 26-27 Aug
Shaw House is a swoony Grade I listed manor house just outside Newbury that’ll be laying on not one but two musical movies this summer. So take your pick: The rabble-rousing Hollywood epic, Les Miserables (26 Aug) starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Orrrrrr frothy feel-good high school romance, Grease (27 Aug). Definitely one for summer niiiiiiiiights. Doors open at 6.30pm, film starts 8.15pm.
Dinton Pastures Country Park, Wokingham, 30 Jul – 28 Aug
Definitely not a film for make-up tips, but Heath Ledger’s demented Joker in The Dark Knight is one of his finest. It was Heath’s penultimate film, released months after his death, and won him a posthumous Oscar. Who was Batman? Oh, some fella called Christian Bale, but Heath totally steals the show. Grab your picnic blanket and see it this summer at Dinton Pastures on 13 Aug. Not your bag? They’re also showing Back To The Future (30 Jul), Dirty Dancing (31 Jul) and The Greatest Showman (14 Aug); 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls (both 27 Aug) and Grease (28 Aug). Bit of a festival vibe at this one, with music, street food and drink stands.
David Walliams’s Billionaire Boy Drive-In Tour, Newbury and Windsor, 12 and 13 Apr
David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy is off on a Drive In Tour and it arrives at Newbury Racecourse (12 Apr) and Windsor Racecourse (13 Apr) this Easter. Packed with humour for the grown ups, it’s all about 12-year-old Joe, the richest boy in the country WHO receives £100,000-a-week pocket money (don’t go getting any ideas, kids). Tickets from £52. Click here for tickets.
Horrible Histories – Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians, Windsor Racecourse, 22 Apr
Buckle up, kids. Drive in theatre is back and you’re travelling back in time to Georgian and Victorian times with a live stage show by Horrible Histories The production promises to uncover centuries of grisly history – and is perfect for kids with a thirst for all things awful and amusing (so that’s all kids then!!). See it at 4.30pm and 7pm, from £42. Click here to book.
Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain, Newbury Racecourse, 13 Apr
Love Horrible Histories and watch it without the kids (don’t judge, it’s hilarious). Car Park Party’s Drive In showing ofBarmy Britain is the dinner party you’d never want to host. HH bring back the dead so you get to meet all the faves from Britain’s barmy past – from Richard III to the Samuel Pepys! Tickets are selling fast at Newbury Racecourse for shows at 2pm and 5pm on 13 Apr. Tickets from £42, Click here to book.