London's best outdoor cinemas

Make the most of summer in the city with the best of the capital's al fresco cinemas

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London’s best outdoor cinemas

Among London’s treats in the (hopefully) warm months are the seasonal outdoor cinemas that pop up across the city. Inventive programming and inspired locations make watching a move by starlight one of the capital’s unmissable experiences.

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The Nomad

In venues scattered around London, The Nomad cinema fuses together location and film to great effect. This year, the season begins circus-style in a Big Top as part of the Ealing Summer Festival; expect raucous comedy including This Is Spinal Tap and School of Rock. The Nomad programme takes a whimsical turn with a series of screenings in the secret garden that belongs to children’s charity Coram. There, a four-week series titled ‘Childhood, Lost and Found’ will include childhood-evoking classics such as The NeverEnding Story, The Kid, The Lost Boys, and Where the Wild Things Are. Nomad’s inspired programming is backed up by good works - 100% of its profits go to The Sustainability Institute in South Africa. What’s not to love?

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Various locations; Tickets from £8.50-£16.50; July 14- Sept 21, screenings at various times; http://www.whereisthenomad.com

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Dalston Roof Park Film4Free

The Dalston Roof Park is worth a visit in its own right. A surreal explosion of bright green Astroturf, flowers and picnic chairs atop former factory, the Print House, it’s an Alice In Wonderland-like escape from Dalston’s grubby charms. On Tuesday nights during the summer, films are screened for free (you just pay a one-off fee of £3 to join the Roof Park) but you’ll have to wait until the night to find out what will be shown. The fact that this is run by the people behind Long Table means the accompanying street food vendors will also be top notch.

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The Print House, 18 Ashwin St, E8 3DL; Free after £3 joining fee; Tuesday nights until September;

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Rooftop Film Club, Queen of Hoxton

The Rooftop Film club host outdoor film screenings in a number of venues: Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch, The Roof Gardens, Kensington, Netil House, London Fields and the Bussey Building, Peckham. The Queen of Hoxton, however, is pretty hard to beat with its edgy, urban views of the glittery city towers and its proximity to after-film nightlife. You can watch films sitting in comfy director-style chairs, tucked in with blankets when needed and sipping a beer or cocktail. The price of your ticket includes something from the coal-fired barbecue. Films this season include Labyrinth, The Lost Boys and The Big Lebowski. Tuesday is chick flick night.

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Queen of Hoxton, 1- 5 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3JX; Tickets £12; Screenings 5 nights a week May to September 2013; Doors 8pm. Screening 9pm;

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The Luna

The Luna cinema will set up camp in some of London’s most spectacular settings this summer and, on a fine evening (we can only pray), watching a film under the stars in an iconic venue – ideally with a bottle of wine – is magical. This year’s especially sumptuous locations include Warwick Castle, Kew Gardens, Kensington Palace, Regents Park and Hampton Court Palace. The programme is mainly composed of trusted favourites such as Grease, Casablanca, Mamma Mia and Breakfast At Tiffany’s and there are state- of -the art sound and projection systems, so even if your picnic blanket isn’t in a prime spot, you’ll be able to enjoy the film.

Various locations; Tickets £8-£19.50 see website for times; Until Sept 29;
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Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

The 18th Century courtyard of Somerset House is an elegant, romantic place to watch outdoor cinema, albeit not a particularly comfortable one (bring a cushion, there’s no grass!). Being surrounded on all sides by the grand old buildings lends a certain mystique to whatever is shown but the line-up is anyway impressive. On opening night (August 8th) the premiere of Richard Curtis’s new film, About Time, will be shown and the programme includes two other premieres. Other films on offer range from landmark British flicks like Kes and The Red Shoes to Americana faves like Mean Girls and Carrie. There will also be early evening DJs, live introductions to the films and food and drink.

Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2 1LA; Tickets from £14.50; 8-21 August, doors open 18.30, DJ from 19.00, film starts 21.00;
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The Scoop at More London

Outdoor screenings are just part of what’s on offer at the More London Free Festival. Sitting alongside fringe theatre, comedy, dance and music, the film series will include classic, cult and contemporary films such as Skyfall, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Back to the Future, Les Miserables, Amour and The Birds. The Scoop is a dazzling venue; a sunken riverside amphitheatre overlooked by City Hall and opposite the Tower of London. Best of all, it’s free, you don’t have to book and, with a capacity of 1000, you can just turn up and watch.

The Scoop at More London, More London Riverside, London SE1 2DB; FREE; 11-27 Sept, Weds/Thurs/Fri from 19:30;
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Hot Tub Cinema, Shoreditch

Depending on how happy you are to don a bikini in public, Hot Tub Cinema could be your heaven or hell. The concept was born at a private party which featured a solitary hot tub; now there are 20. You can either rent an entire inflatable tub with a group of friends or buy a single ticket and take your chances as to bathing company. Two screens and surround sound mean that everyone gets a decent viewing experience and, this year, movies include Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Withnail and I and The Full Monty. Tub-side waiters serve film-inspired cocktails and barbeque snacks.

Rockwell House, 10-14 Hewett St, London EC2A 3NN; Tickets £30 Single / £240 Private Tub (seating up to eight); First two weeks of the month, Thursday to Sunday, June to September;
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