Cinema Under the Stars

It doesn’t count as screen time if it’s under the stars, right? Load up with blankets and cushions – emergency pac-a-mac optional – and let the smalls stay up past their bedtime at one of this summer’s outdoor screenings.


Cult Screens
With a roster of classic summer movies and venues from Birmingham to Winchester there’s a good chance Cult Screens is coming to an outdoor screen near you. Children over five are welcome at appropriately rated films as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. How about Back to the Future at Cheltenham’s Sandford Lido, Jurassic Park at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum or The Goonies with a Winchester Cathedral backdrop. Ticket options range from BYO to deckchairs and squishy double beanbags.

Luna Cinema
Another big nationwide set-up running events across the capital and beyond. Introduce them to Groundhog Day at Greenwich Park, watch Jungle Book at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Mamma Mia at Tonbridge Castle or Ghostbusters at Kew Gardens? There are pizzas and a bar on site (picnics are also allowed at some venues) and premium tickets available for those who prefer a chair. Children are welcome, just check the film’s certification.


Film4 Summer Screen
What could be finer than a family picnic under the stars at beautiful Somerset House? This stalwart of London’s summer season puts on carefully chosen selection of classic and recent films and accompanied children (over four) are welcome. Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro (the best bet for kids on 2017’s schedule), a Tom’s Kitchen picnic (these can be ordered in advance) and a BYO bottle of rosé… we’re sold!

The Nomad
This roaming pop-up (sister to the Lexi cinema in Kensal Rise) has a knack for choosing great venues (Proud East, Grosvenor Square, Queen’s Park) and gives 100% of its profits to South Africa’s Sustainability Institute. Children are welcome at appropriate films: our pick is Lion King at Queen’s Park.

Isle of Wight

The Extraordinary Travelling Film Show
This outdoor cinema pops up at venues in London and beyond but its heart lies in the Isle of Wight. It’ll be showing a range of old and new features on the island from mid July. Round up the smalls and take them to see Moana at the Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Beauty & the Beast at Carisbrooke Castle or Never Ending Story in a chalk pit!

Moonlight Cinema
The setting might not be quite as swanky as some of the others on our list but if you grew up watching Rizzo get her kicks at the drive-in, this American-style set-up in Kent might be the one for you. Drive in, park up, tune in to your car radio and be transported to old-school America. The best bet here for kids this summer is Despicable Me 3, showing in July.

Image: The Nomad