9 cool drive-in cinemas in Berks and beyond
With social distancing de rigeur the summer, the local arts industry has had to find new ways to keep cinema alive. Cue the drive-in cinema - we've cherry picked 10 of the best in Berks and further afield. Tell me about it, stud!
Pull up to the bumper, baby! The 2020 drive-in has moved on from your basic 1980s teen movie. Instead, brace yourself for ginormous LED screens, stand-up comedy, live DJ sets and roller-skating waiters laden with popcorn (be patient, I’m only just getting hang of my blades). You ready for the movie?
What? A seven-day film fest of timeless classics from the comfort of your car front seat. *Ouch* Mind the gearstick. Expect quality sound and gigantic screen when The Drive In Cinema Club pitches up in Reading. Plus food and drink delivered contactlessly to your car.
Where? Reading Hockey Club, Sonning
Showing? Take you pick from 17 films over 7 days. Rocket Man Sing-A-Long (20 Jul); Despicable Me and Dirty Dancing (21 Jul); Moana and Grease Sing a Long (22 Jul); The Greatest Showman, Pretty Woman and Back To The Future (23 Jul); Aladdin, Avengers: End Game and The Conjuring Experience (24 Jul); The Lion King, Mamma Mia Sing A Long and Joker (25 Jul) and Frozen Sing A Long, Bohemian Rhapsody Sing A Long and Jurassic Park (26 Jul).
WHAT? The ain’t no ordinary drive in, this is a drive in cinema on one of the most beautiful estates in the county. Wasing is playing host to Star & Mouse Drive In who’ll be bringing the Hollywood glamour and lashing of Americana swagger. The will be a whopper screen,. FM technology so you get your audio through your radio, DJ sets, car bingo, quizzes and live music.
WHERE? The truly stunning Wasing Park Estate near Aldermaston.
SHOWING? There are eight screenings to choose from including Rocketman (23 Jul), Pretty Woman (24 Jul), Dirty Dancing (25 Jul), Knives Out (26 Jul) Back To the Future (30 Jul), Grease (1 Aug) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (2 Aug)
What? All together now… Stranded at the drive in. Branded a fool, What will they say Monday at school? Don’t be tricked into thinking this is a homage to to the ultimate drive in movie, Grease. It’s not playing. But Newbury Rugby Club and Red Sky Festival are on a mission to reclaim summer with a socially distant, outdoor movie experience plus in-car silent disco and themed food to order from our app to your bonnet. Think themed costumes, gorgeous grub and movie classics. It’s so modern, it’s like blade running into 2049
Where? Mortimer Fairground and Newbury Rugby Club
Showing? Six screenings in two locations, showing La La Land, Jaws, Back To The Future and Mamma Mia – in Mortimer (3-4 Jul), and then head to on 10-12 Jul to seem them all again with The Lion King making an entrance on the Sunday.
WHAT? A brand new cinema under the stars, set in 26 acres of stunning parkland, with classic American sweet treats and snacks available to pre-order. We’re talking Monterey Jack cheeseburgers, hotdogs and skinny fries – all essential food groups covered.
WHERE? The grounds of stunning 17th century country mansion Stoke Place in Slough.
SHOWING: Take your pick from three films: Independence Day (4 Jul) The Greatest Showman (10 Jul) and Dirty Dancing (11 Jul). You can park up at 8.30pm and the films will start at 9.30pm when the sun’s set. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01753 534 790.
What? Having been starved of all entertainment unless if involves your TV remote, you maybe wanting more from your drive in experience. You’re a fussy lost. Well, Newbury Racecourse is hosting a two-day event that includes karaoke, family theatre and a comedy night. Park up, order food and drink via the app and it will be delivered to your car door.
Where? Newbury Racecourse and Henley Festival (although nearly sold out)
Showing? OK, so there’s not a film reel in sight, but, you’ll have your own car pool karaoke on 24-25 Jul with 80s karaoke night, followed by Horrible Histories: Barmy Army stage show and a night of grown up giggles, courtesy for of the brave and bonkers stars from the Comedy Store.
WHAT? The ever-popular Luna Cinema is back with a drive-in makeover. Expect giant HD LED screens, state-of-the-art digital in-car speakers and stunning backdrops. We love the sound of the Luna Bar – order food and drink from your car by scanning the QR code on the front of the in-car speaker you’re given and hey presto, they’ll roller-skate it over to you. Toilets and medics are on site too (just in case you get overwhelmed from a 30ft Ryan Gosling).
WHERE? Stunning 18th century Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Knebworth House in Herts and Warwick Caste.
SHOWING: Blenheim Palace is hosting 14 fabulous films from Rocketman (10 July) to Pretty Woman (12 July) and JoJo Rabbit (13 July) and A Star is Born (16 July). Doors open at 8.30pm and the party starts at 9.30pm.
WHAT? With Pub in the Park cancelled this year, the Michelin-starred Marlow marvel chef has instead organised a drive-in cinema experience, complete with a top-notch foodie offering (we wouldn’t expect anything less).
SHOWING: There are 11 films on the Marlow movie reel including La La Land (14 Jul), 1917 (16 Jul), Back To The Future (19 Jul), plus it wouldn’t be a drive-in without Grease (16 Jul)! There’ll also be a comedy set from Mark Watson’s Carpool Comedy Club (18 July only). Tickets are on sale now and are sure to sell like hot chocolate-glazed choux buns (well we are talking Michelin star quality here!), so snap a parking spot pronto.
WHAT? Four full days of screenings of childhood movies, family favourites and bucketfuls of popcorn (obvs).
SHOWING: A whopping 16 films on the movie reel in Milton Keynes from 9-12 July including Dirty Dancing (9 Jul), Jurassic Park (9 Jul), A Star Is Born (10 Jul), Toy Story (10 Jul), La La Land (11 Jul) and Mamma Mia (12 Jul). The moving onto the Farnborough from 23-26 July where 14 movies will be shown over four days including The Goonies (24 Jul), Avengers Assemble (25 Jul) and Grease (26 Jul)
WHAT? A brand new drive-in for the ‘Wolds – yippee. Cotswold Drive-In Cinema lends you in-car bluetooth speakers and has wood-fired pizza, popcorn, ice-cream and drinks on demand – all served through your window. There are ‘luxury loos’ (no idea, but sound good). And prior to the movie you can even stretch your legs and go to the bar to get yourself a drink from the ‘specialist’ gin bar (socially distanced of course). And the best bit? Err, only a pre-movie live set from Ibiza DJ Gary Mack to get you in the mood, and fireworks to top off the night.
WHERE? At the Showground at Ascott-under-Wychwood.