Watching a film is a great way to relax with friends and family, keep in touch with art and culture, or simply enjoy a bit of me-time. However, in the summer months, it can seem a shame to spend warm days and evenings sitting inside. So why not make the most of the balmy weather and watch a film at one of the UK’s outdoor cinemas?

Whether it’s a drive-in or a true outdoor cinema, there’s something magical about catching a flick under the stars – and the good news is that there are many excellent venues across the country. To get you inspired, here are eight of the best outdoor cinemas across the UK.

1. The Luna Cinema — various locations

If you want to enjoy watching a film in a gorgeous setting, you’ll probably want to check out The Luna Cinema. Throughout the summer months, The Luna Cinema will host outdoor screens across England and Wales – so hopefully, there’ll be a venue near you.

What makes The Luna Cinema so special is the unique locations. Some of the most spectacular include Warwick Castle, Hampton Court, Westonbirt Arboretum, Chatsworth House, Westminster Abbey, and Bath Royal Crescent. So whether you want to watch a film among the trees, beside a looming castle, or in front of sweeping Regency houses, there’s something for everyone.

The Luna Cinemas are yet to announce their summer lineup, but you can keep posted by signing up for their email chain using the button below. In the past, they’ve run a wide selection of films from late June to August, ranging from classics like Pretty Woman and Star Wars to new releases.

If you’re looking for comfort, you’ll find all that at Luna too. Their venues boast cinema-quality screens, delicious food and drinks, VIP sofas, two-seater double deckchairs, and personal in-car speakers if you’re watching in a drive-in venue (perfect for preserving your car battery!).

2. Cults & Classics – Glasgow

Each summer, the Queens Park Amphitheatre in Glasgow plays host to the Cults & Classics film festival, an open-air extravaganza featuring some of the best-loved films of all time.

This year, screenings include everything from nostalgia-inducing hits, like The Goonies and The Lost Boys, to animated features for the whole family, such as The Little Mermaid and The Aristocats. So whether you’re in the mood for action, comedy, drama, or musicals, there’s sure to be something that appeals.

What’s more, admission to Cults & Classics is free (except for a 50p booking fee), but you need to book your spots in advance using the button below. You can also give a donation to help make sure this brilliant festival returns year after year. While visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets and cushions, you can contact the organisers in advance if you need special seating arrangements.

3. Rooftop Film Club – London

If you’re based in or around London and are looking for a memorable movie night, you might want to check out Rooftop Film Club. Watching a film outdoors always feels a bit more special, and at Rooftop Film Club, they’ve made it even more magical by raising you above the city.

There are two locations to choose from – Peckham’s Bussey Building and Roof East in Stratford – and both guarantee iconic views of the capital. If you can get here for sunset, you can enjoy honey-hued panoramas, delicious drinks, and tasty street food before settling down for your film.

There’s nothing worse than not being able to hear a film properly because you’re outside, but because Rooftop Film Club provide you with state-of-the-art wireless headphones, you’re guaranteed to catch every bit of dialogue. This can really help you to feel immersed in the story without being distracted by the outside world.

From cult classics to brand new releases, there’s a film choice for everyone here: over the coming months, Rooftop Film Club will be showing The Bikeriders, Kung Fu Panda 4, Back to the Future, Roman Holiday, and even the Wimbledon Finals. Hopefully, this gives you some idea of how diverse the screenings are!

Rooftop Film Club, London

4. Moonlight Flicks, various locations across Cheshire

If you live in Cheshire, you might have already heard about Moonlight Flicks. Over the years, they’ve put on a variety of dazzling open-air cinema nights throughout the summer months – and 2024 is no different. This year, you’ll find them at the idyllic Grosvenor Park in Chester.

You can choose from an array of films this summer, including cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, timeless favourites like Grease, and new releases such as Wonka and Anyone But You – all shown on a whopping 30-ft screen.

And to make your movie-watching experience that much more enjoyable, Moonlight Flicks are also serving up a range of wood-fired pizzas and frozen cocktails.

5. Adventure Cinema – various locations across the UK

This summer, the UK’s largest touring outdoor cinema is back! With over 300 shows across England, Scotland, and Wales, there’s a good chance you’re only a drive away from one of Adventure Cinema’s screenings.

The list of venues is long and diverse, but each with a uniquely beautiful setting. Some of the best include Dalkeith Country Park in Edinburgh, Caldicot Castle in Monmouthshire, Hedingham Castle in Essex, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, and Ashridge House in Hertfordshire.

As for the films themselves, expect even more variety! This summer, Adventure Cinema will be showing classics like Top Gun and Dirty Dancing, as well as family favourites like Encanto. Selected venues will also be running sing-along showings if you’re in the mood for something a little more interactive.

Unlike many other outdoor cinemas, you’re allowed to bring your own picnic and snacks to all Adventure Cinema venues, However, most locations also have a bar and provide food, snacks, and soft drinks. Luxury deck chairs are available to rent, though many prefer to pack their own camping chairs and picnic blankets!

Adventure Cinema – various locations across the UK

6. Outdoor Cinema, various locations

Outdoor Cinema puts on a variety of cinematic events across the UK, which they promise will knock your socks off. Instead of ‘screenings’, Outdoor Cinema prefer to call their evenings ‘shindigs’, where you can sing along to your favourite musicals like The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia!, or even have a boogie.

But musicals aren’t all that’s on the calendar for this year. From watching Harry Potter in Carmarthenshire to Guardians of the Galaxy in Wolverhampton, there’s plenty to choose from whatever your taste.

For those in the South West, why not attend an immersive screening of The Shawshank Redemption at Gloucester Prison? Or, come October, you can dress up and head along to one of Outdoor Cinema’s spooky Halloween screenings.

7. The Alfresco Film Company – various locations in the South West of England

If you live near Wiltshire or the Cotswolds, the Alfresco Film Company is a great outdoor cinema provider to consider this summer.

Much like the other entries on this list, The Alfresco Film Company offers a great mix of films spread over various picturesque locations. So if you fancy watching a Top Gun double feature at Cotswold Airport or Four Weddings and a Funeral at the romantic Cowley Manor, why not book your tickets today?

Most venues offer a great range of food and drink – from local street food companies to gourmet cinema snacks, but you can also bring your own. Likewise, premium tickets provide you with cosy deckchairs at the front for the best viewing experience possible. However, you can bring camping chairs and blankets if you prefer.

The Alfresco Film Company – various locations in the South West of England

8. Picturehouse – Brighton, London, and Norwich

This summer, cinema chain Picturehouse is taking its services outdoors and on the road with this pop-up screening service.

Londoners can choose between two venues. The serene Gunnersbury Park provides a romantic setting for tearjerkers like Dirty Dancing and 10 Things I Hate About You. Or why not catch Jaws on the Greenwich Peninsula, where you’re surrounded by the ominous waters of the Thames?

However, Picturehouse is also stopping off at two more locations: the ornate Plantation Garden in Norwich and Brighton’s Preston Manor. So be sure to visit their website to see dates and times.

Deck chairs are available at Picturehouse Outdoor screenings. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s usually a limited supply, so it’s best to come prepared with your own blankets, cushions and camping chairs. Also included in your ticket is a £5 voucher towards food and drink.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re into musicals or horrors, or are looking for an unusual date night or a fun way to entertain your grandkids, watching a film outside will always feel special. With so many screenings and venues across the UK, hopefully, it shouldn’t be too difficult for most of us to experience some open-air movie magic this summer.

Aside from the wealth of excellent films on offer, there are also incredibly beautiful and diverse locations. During the day, you can bask under the sun in the gorgeous gardens of a stately home, or in the evening, you can curl up under a blanket beside an atmospheric abbey and watch a film under the stars.

Have you been to an outdoor cinema before? Or are you hoping to catch an outdoor show this summer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.