From Notting Hill to an American Werewolf in London, the English capital is a silver screen icon, and has the cinemas to back it up. The beautiful city plays host to many prestigious film festivals throughout the year and the cinemas lining Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue are among the most beautiful in the country. It’s safe to say that guests of London hotel packages needn’t travel far to see both big blockbusters and arthouse gems, and the colder months are perfect times to do so.
But when it comes to spring and summer, the city relinquishes its instincts for cosiness and yearns for the fresh air. This goes for cinemas too, and whether you’re a cinephile looking to catch both new releases and a spot of sunshine or you’re just looking for something left of field to do during your stay at the Montcalm Royal London House, the outdoor cinema scene is a tantalising option.
This blog celebrates those recurring spring and summer screens that pop up across the city. Sometimes linked to beloved cinema chains and sometimes to art galleries and historic buildings, this blog will explore some of the best outdoor cinemas landing in 2023.
Having expanded to two different venues a few years back, the Rooftop Cinema can now be found on both sides of the river at Stratford’s Roof East and on top of Peckham’s Bussey Building. The cinema’s offer more than just movies, with the beautiful cityscape acting as backdrop to an eclectic mix of new movies and golden oldies. Expect the likes of Everything Everywhere All At Once, Top Gun Maverick and Notting Hill, among many others
Barbican Outdoor Cinema
The Barbican Outdoor Cinema takes outside what is already a popular destination for movie buffs. The beautiful Sculpture Court is again, a sight to behold even without the movies to accompany it, and there’s nothing quite as futuristic as the ultra-brutalist complex that is the Barbican. What’s more, it’s very easy to reach from the Montcalm London City hotel, and provides much-needed respite from the commute for all the City of London workers. In 2022, screenings at the Barbican included music concert films, Japanese monster movies and Studio Ghibli classics. Hopefully 2023 will be just as riveting.
Sunset Screenings takes cinema goers to Beckenham Place Park in Southwest London, where they can enjoy beautiful scenery alongside classic and British movies that have in the past included Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and My Beautiful Laundrette. The park itself is well worth a wander too, with a Palladian-style manor house in its centre that now serves as a cafe and community centre.
Somerset House’s Film 4 Summer Screen
Somerset House is situated on the Bankside across the bridge from Waterloo Station. Whilst regularly hosting art exhibitions and installations, the summer sees Film 4 take over its courtyard with regular screenings of both new and old movies. The acoustics of the cinema screen, bouncing off the sides of this Georgian townhouse complex, makes for atmospheric viewing, and provides yet another beautiful backdrop to one of the city’s most popular outdoor screens.
Not just one outdoor cinema, but a whole gang of them, Luna Cinema put on movie nights at some of London’s most famous landmarks. In the past, these have included the likes of Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey and Kew Gardens. 2023 will no doubt bring more surprises for the cinephile sightseer, as will the lineup which again offers a mixture of cult classics and fan favourites such as Labyrinth and Pretty Woman. Luna is also licensed to show new movies too, 2022 saw the remake of West Side Story and Will Smith’s Williams sister biopic King Richard hit the screens fresh off their premieres.
Time Out’s Movies On The River
Not one for the seasick, Movies On The River sees Time Out London team up with the City Cruises to offer a sightseeing trip like no other along the famous River Thames. Usually coming to London with a 12 week schedule of movies, the boat-come-cinema offers classic Hollywood films like Grease and Back To The Future, all whilst serving food and drink in a luxurious riverbound setting.
Floating Film Festival
Situated in the docklands area of East London, the Floating Film Festival is easy to reach for guests of hotels near Finsbury Square London. St Katharine Docks plays host to floating pontoons kitted out with seats and row boats that you can reserve to watch high-rated new movies and golden oldies alike. Just make sure not to nod off during a screening as you might end up a little bit wet.
Jumping between Osterley Park, Beckenham Place and Charlton House, Adventure Cinema is a community that blends the magic of film with the atmosphere of a music festival. With the sun shining and deckchairs and picnics abound, Adventure Cinema’s rostra of music biopics, concert movies and musicals all add to the delightful celebratory atmosphere each year it’s put on.