56 perfect pop up film nights
Pass the popcorn, top up the Pimms and watch a movie under the stars. Follow the usher this way, it's outdoor cinema season, so wrap up and don't forget your waterproofs.
Pop up cinemas are everywhere. These days you don’t simply go to the cinema, spontaneously play a DVD or dare I say it with rural wifi ‘stream’. British Summer film nights need to play roulette with the weather – it’s al fresco all the way, baby. So very British. But it works. It really works. I love settling into a deckchair, watching a film I’ve watched a million times, Pimms in hand, popcorn in the other, wrapped up in an enormous parka. Who’s joining me?
Saddleback Farm Shop, Brightwalton, Sat 8 Jun
Queen is officially richer than the Queen, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, and it’s all thanks to the epic biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami Malek’s portrayal of the strutting showman Freddie Mercury also snagged him an Oscar for Best Actor and it’s pretty much the biggest pop up cinema movie of the summer. You can see it at Saddleback Farm Shop for a Saturday night at the movies in Berkshire’s blissful countryside. Doors open 7pm for drinks and a BBQ. Film starts 9pm. PLus each ticket doubles as a raffle ticket to win VIP entry to the next open air cinema night on 1 Sep.
Newbury Racecourse, Fri 24 – Sun 26 May
The latest version of A Star Is Born is so hot it needs to come with its own fire extinguisher. Bradley Cooper plays a washed-up country singer who takes a shy newbie with a giant voice, played by Lady Gaga (unrecognizable when not wearing a dress made of meat or a lobster hat), under his wing and *ahem* his duvet. Naughty. Keep the music vibes going with a retro throwback to original high school musical, Grease and the awesome Bohemian Rhapsody – the perfect Sunday night movie. Doors open at Newbury Racecourse at 7.30pm, film screens at 9pm.
Abbey Ruins Reading, Thu 20 – Sat 22 Jun
Olivia Colman’s Oscar-winning performance in The Favourite (with the most creative use of the C word that I have ever heard) is my pick of the pop up movies – Thu 20 Jun at Reading’s Abbey Ruins. Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star in this love-triangle / power battle that looks wonderfully bitchy. If that doesn’t float your boat, hotties Tom Cruise, Christian Slater and Brad Pitt will give you a nasty love bite in Interview With The Vampire. Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody is being shown on the Saturday. I told you it was popular.
Stubbings Nursery Maidenhead, Fri 7 – Sat 8 Jun
Ticking lots of boxes: the stunning historic location, box office hit on the big screen and an abundance of popcorn. Stubbings Estate in Maidenhead will be popping up the big screen, while you sit back and enjoy Bradley and Lady Gaga’s pash fest in A Star is Born and you get your fromage fill with, Mamma Mia Here We Go Again. Worth seeing just for Cher, surely? Doors open at 7.30pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
- Mamma Mia Here We Go Again is also being shown at Lily Hill Park Bracknell on Sat 8 Jun.
Stonor Henley On Thames, Fri 7 – Sun 9 Jun
Stonor’s outdoor cinema returns for another year. If you’re after a blockbuster location that’s a dramatic as the Hollywood films on the big screen, this should do it. Choose the film(s) you want to see, grab your bezzie mates and enjoy this historic estate, while juggling a G&T hot dog and popcorn. All the food groups represented. Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns and The Greatest Showman are on the bill. So book up. Doors open at 7.45pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
Cobbs Farm Hungerford, Sat 29 Jun, Sat 27 Jul and Sat 10 Aug
I think I am the only person on the planet not to have seen The Greatest Showman. If you want a soundtrack free zone, head to my house. But it’s still going strong on the open cinema circuit. You’ll be able to sing your heart out at Cobbs Farm on Sat 27 July. Alternatively, Hungerford will be the place to be for a mass sing-a-long, with Bohemian Rhapsody popping up on the the big screen on Sat 29 Jun and Mamma Mia! (the one without Cher) on Sat 10 August. Doors open 7pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
Hellfire Caves, High Wycombe, Fri 7 Jun
Not exactly an open air cinema (quite the opposite in fact, the clue’s in the title!) but it’s making the list because, according to my 10 year old, watching a movie underground in a cave is the coolest thing EVER. Two films on offer, ’80s adventure-fantasy Labyrinth starring David Bowie (RIP) as the mullet-adorning Goblin King, or The Dark Knight starring Wales’ favourite method-actor Christian Bale. Films start at 6.50pm and 8.30pm respectively.
Caversham Court Gardens Reading, Thu 18 – Sat 20 Jul
Another cinematic refresh in the guise of First Man. La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man in the moon, has Ryan Gosling (be still my beating heart) playing the legendary astronaut and Claire Foy, last seen as the Queen in The Crown, as his wife, Janet. If you’re longing for a cinematic cheesefest, Mammia Mia! Here We Go Again should hit the spot on Thu 18 Jul and there’s always another opportunity to see Bohemian Rhapsody on Fri 19 Jul. Doors open 7.30pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
Ascot Racecourse, Thu 18 – Sat 20 Jul
Giddy up to Ascot for three nights of fabulous of films under the stars. The giant cinema screen will be positioned on the lawns of the racecourse with this stunning backdrop of the grandstand. The Luna Bar will be fully stocked (good job with the expected Muddy stampede, and there will be food to soak it all up). What’s being screened? All the big hitters of the last year – Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Pay your money, take you choice. Doors open at 7.45pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
Abbey Ruins Reading, Wed 21 – Fri 23 Aug
Still catching up on the Oscar-winning films? Me too, Green Book snagged the top honours, and has been massively criticised for the win. It tells the true story of an unlikely friendship between racist white driver Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and black pianist Dr Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). It’s accused of sugar-coating racism, so is it a worthy winner? You decide. If you fancy collecting gong-winning films, A Star Is Born is being shown on Thu 22 Jun and celebrating 25 years of running and Bubba Gump Shrimp, Tom Hanks will be back as the loveable Forrest Gump. Gaaaad I love that film. Doors open at 7pm, film starts at 8.30pm.
Stubbings Nursery Maidenhead, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Aug
Steven Spielberg’s epic dinosaur blockbuster, is back on the big screen. If you have dino mad kids, or want to enjoy a nostalgia fest with Jeff Goldblum and the late, great Richard Attenborough, book in to see Jurassic Park at Stubbings Nursery this summer. If the giant, angry lizard creatures don’t grab you, there’s always another opportunity to see Bohemian Rhapsody. Doors open at 7pm, film starts at 8.45pm.
Shaw House Newbury, Thu 1 – Fri 2 Aug
Another stonking location! This time we’re off to Shaw House in Newbury for Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt riding fairground ponies and dancing across London’s rooftops. Too saccharine for your tastes? Then there’s always the brilliant Remi Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Sat 24 Aug
I feel the need, the need for speed! Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan star in this 1986 classic. Great soundtrack, gratuitous volleyball scene. Hmmm. Don’t deny yourself a night with Mav and Goose – they’ve got that loving feeling. If Tom before he had his teeth done and discovered Scientology, floats your boat, book up. It’s a fab family day out with food, fully loaded bar and the perfect film night. Tickets go on sale 1 June.
The Woodland Lodge, Henley-on-Thames, Fri 19 – Sat 20 Jul
If you and your kids want to see the all singing all dancing Hugh Jackman-Zac Efron musical fandango just one more time (um, guilty!), then pop-up cinema extraordinaire Firefly Events are screening The Greatest Showman at The Woodland Lodge, found on the Culden Faw Estate (Fri 19 Jul, 9.15pm), followed by Bohemian Rhapsody (Sat 2o Jul, 9.15pm). Firefly Events pop-up over the border in Wellington Country Park, Berks too: The Greatest Showman (31 Aug, 9.15pm), Bohemian Rhapsody (30 Aug, 9.15pm).
Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, 31 Jul & 1 – 3 Aug
How stunning is this backdrop? It looks like it’s been taken right from a scene in Harry Potter, oh wait… The Museum of Natural History has big ties with the films (the Grand Hall is just round the corner at Christchurch) and is paying homage to the plucky little wizard with a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (3 Aug, 9pm). Also showing is Jurassic Park (1 Aug, 9pm)- no surprise there, the museum is dino-mad- and Bohemian Rhapsody (31 Jul, 2 Aug, 9pm).
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).
Grease has been around for over 40 years. Feel old yet? The retro classic and original High School Musical (sorry kids) shows at Cotswold corker Sudley Castle on 25 Aug, 8.45pm along with A Star Is Born (24 Aug, 8.54pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (23 Aug).
Warwick Castle, Warks, 10 – 12 Sept
All the usual suspects (although I can never get enough of Bradley Cooper), A Star Is Born (10 Sept, 8.30pm), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (11 Sept, 8.30pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (12 Sept, 8.30pm). I’ll forgive this one, a castle is the perfect setting for Queen!