The Best Outdoor Events In The UK, For Summer 2017

Ditch the sofa for the sunshine with ELLE's outdoor culture edit

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From Frieze's sculpture park, to ballet in Trafalgar Square, here's our pick of the best outdoor cultural events this summer. Netflix, who?

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

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Swap your sun lounger for a landmark this summer with a play at London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Not only has it been voted London's Theatre of the Year thanks to its bold productions, but its tree-rimmed stage, located in Royal Park, is one of the largest playhouses in London.

If you need any more convincing, this season's line-up is bringing two of Charles Dickens' most popular stories, A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist, out in the open. Also back by popular demand is the Olivier Award-winning Jesus Christ Superstar.

This really is a theatre experience like no other.

Until 23 September


The Serpentine Pavilion Park Nights

This year's Serpentine Pavilion, on display at Kensington Gardens in London, has been designed by architect Francis Kere to resemble a tree and its role in life.

While we might treat it as one - and seek shelter under it - it will also host The Serpentine Galleries Park Nights.

Every evening artists will respond to Kere's work through music, art and dance, exploring the flow and movement of people in society.

From 30 June to 22 September


The Royal Opera House's BP Big Screens

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If you can't get tickets to see some of your favourite ballet performances this summer, The Royal Opera House has an alternative.

This year they are bringing back their BP Big Screens to showcase this season's ballet shows across London, including The Dream / Symphonic Variations / Marguerite and Armand by ROH founding choreographer Frederick Ashton, La Traviata and Turandot.

Screening locations include Trafalgar Square, Hammersmith Lyric Square and the Scoop at London Bridge City.

From 7 June


Film4's Summer Screening At Somerset House

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This year's annual Film4 Summer Screening kicks off with a starry line-up.

Former US Vice President Al Gore will introduce An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the sequel to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary, in person on the opening night.

The festival will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blow-Up, by legendary Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, and the closing night will be hosted by the director and cast of Sundance hit Patti Cake$, about a New Jersey girl who dreams of becoming a superstar rapper.

From 10-23 August


Greenwich + Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is back celebrating its 22nd year with eight new productions.

If you're a fan of flash mobs and dance routines this is the festival for you with several toe-tapping performances. Don't miss Mark Smith's Deaf Men Dancing which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

Until 8 July


Manchester's International Festival

If August is all about the Edinburgh Festival, July should be known for Manchester's International Festival which has hosted artists and performers from around the world, including Zaha Hadid, Kraftwerk and Gorillaz.

A highlight this year will be the open air ToGather exhibition by Susan Hefuna in Whitworth Park.

Her poetic work is free to view and will address migration, movement and sensations of separation to local residents, originally from as far afield as Iran and Sierra Leone.

From 29 June to 16 July


Oxford's Foodie Festival

Just when you think the summer's rounding down, Oxford hosts the UK's biggest food festival in the city's South Parks.

Expect to feast on street food, learn to bake in a Cake and Bake Theatre, dine on afternoon tea in a Vintage Tea Tent and cool down with cocktails from the Bar Bus.

Great British Bake Off Winner Candice Brown will also be there to share some of her winning cake tips, no soggy bottoms in sight.

Tickets start at £10; from 1 September to 3 September


Frieze Sculpture Exhibition

Michael Craig-Martin's Wheelbarrow

For the first time ever Frieze Art Fair is hosting an outdoor summer sculpture exhibition, which will run through to the Art Fair in October.

From playful to political pieces, park goers can browse 25 new works by contemporary artists from around the world in Regent's Park.

Public tours will also be on offer via the Frieze Sculpture Audio Tour app, narrated by curator Clare Lilley.

From 5 July to 8 October


Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Entertainers On The Royal Mile

This year is a big year for Edinburgh Festival as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

What better way to mark such a milestone than by focusing on bold new themes, including activism, the Syrian conflict and global politics.

From Gary McNair's Trump-inspired Locker Room Talk about the way men talk about women to Undercover Refugee a satirical show about 'white heroes, cool policeman and sexy Syrians', this year's Fringe has a bumper programme.

From 4 to 28 August

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