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Open Air Cinemas

Pass the popcorn, top up the Pimm's and pitch up for a pop-up film night. And now please follow the usher this way to our curated open air cinema list...

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. But it works – I love settling into a deckchair, grabbing a drink and blanket, and watching a film I’ve watched a million times. Who’s joining me?

The Harbour Screen, Folkestone Harbour Arm, 28 June – 7 Sept

Enjoy a truly unique seaside cinema experience at Folkestone Harbour’s very own outdoor cinema, The Harbour Screen. Kicking off in June enjoy a huge range of films from Aquaman, The Greatest Showman, Dunkirk, La La Land, Mary Poppins Returns and Top Gun – to just name a few. screen.folkestoneharbourarm.co.uk

The Luna Cinema, Leeds Castle, Thurs 1 – Sat 3 Aug

Famed as the world’s most beautiful castle, Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent makes the perfect setting for cinema under the stars. Located on Cedar Lawn, it’s a truly magical setting and with a line-up like; Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and The Greatest Showman, it’s an experience not to be missed. Usual open-air rules apply – by which I mean, bring a camp chair, perhaps an umbrella to avoid getting soggy and there’s a bar (someone else is driving, right?) thelunacinema.com

Open Air Theatre, Smallhythe Place, 7 & 15 Aug

Not cinema but how about some theatre al fresco? Wrap up warm and enjoy the theatre at Smallhythe Place with The Winter’s Tale in July and Alice in Wonderland and Sense & Sensibility happening in August. Bring your deck chairs and rugs for a pre-show picnic in the garden from 5:30 pm. Great opportunity to do something with the family. Book now: nationaltrust.org.uk 

Top Gun Outdoor Cinema Experience, Frittenden Cricket Ground, Sat 24 Aug

A pop-up cinema night showing of the 80s classic Top Gun starring Tom Cruise and Kelly Mcgillis on the August bank holiday weekend. Step into the shoes of a fighter jet pilot with their VR experience (ticket holders aged 12 or over). Hear and feel the roar of the F14 Fighter Jet Planes flying past at this truly immersive cinema experience. Enjoy their fully stocked bar, fresh popcorn and hot & cold food. Free parking. eventbrite.co.uk

Bohemian Rhapsody, Hever Castle, Tues 27 Aug

Watch Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody in The Festival Theatre, an open air venue set in the gardens of Hever Castle in a stunning location on the Two Sisters Lawn adjacent to Anne Boleyn Walk. Enjoy the foot-stomping celebration of Queen and their music under the stars. If the sun doesn’t shine, you can still the enjoy the spectacular setting as the stage is fully covered and the seating is tiered with the vast majority of seats under new seating canopies.  heverfestival.co.uk

Open Air Cinema, Betteshanger Country Park, Thurs 29 – Sat 31 Aug

Dirty Dancing, Bohemian Rhapsody and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Doors open at 7:30 and the film will start at 9pm. Pack a blanket or deckchair and a hamper. Sit back, (popcorn in hand) relax and enjoy an alternative cinema experience under the stars. betteshanger-park.co.uk 

The Luna Cinema, Rochester Castle, Fri 20 – Sun 22 Sept

On the banks of the river Medway in Kent sits Rochester Castle, a medieval fort boasting a well preserved 12th century keep. This year’s line-up is Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, Bohemian Rhapsody and Monthy Python & The Holy Grail. Watch your favourite film with the imposing fortress in the background – definitely something you can’t do every day. Make sure you wrap up warm, movie begins at 7:30 pm. thelunacinema.com

FURTHER AFIELD…

Summer by the River, London Bridge City, London, 30 May – 28 Aug 

Phwoar!

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).

Have we missed anything amazing off the list? Let us know in the comment box below!

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