Watching a film in a city with such a rich history in film is often on the hit list for many visitors to London, but it’s generally considered a rainy day activity. There are now a clutch of imaginative, independent and cosy outdoor cinemas that have popped up in recent times that are worth checking out while London is basking in hot weather.
Backyard Cinema, Camden
Somewhere amongst the madness of Camden market and the many food stalls is the Backyard Cinema – a charmingly rickety big screen that has evolved from a popup idea to something more permanent. The original sheet has been replaced by a proper screen, but the spirit remains with 200 deckchairs, big slouchy beanbags, burgers from Honest Burgers, an usherette serving frozen cocktails and an old school style popcorn machine.
First held in Shoreditch in 2011, the Rooftop Cinema Club has hosted elevated screenings across the rising London skyline, from Kensington in the west to Hackney in the east. This year, the Club invites cinema-goers to ascend the staircase of its original venue, The Queen of Hoxton – a bar, club and art gallery with stunning rooftop views across the City – and the industrial-scale Bussey Building in Peckham Rye which towers high above south east London. More info.
Tuesday Film Club, Dalston Roof Park
Another sky-high cinema screen held by the Tuesday Film Club is set on top of an old disused factory in Dalston, east London. The cheerful faux-lawned patio also doubles as a venue for yoga sessions, gigs and pop-ups. This year the Club has organised special new strut-along-screenings for film lovers to drink and dance along to.
Throughout the summer London’s lesser-known green spaces transform into film venues courtesy of Pop Up Screens. There’s no seating provided at these slightly rag-tag affairs, so guests are encouraged to deck out the grounds with a mosaic of picnic blankets and camping chairs.
Lack of seating is made up for with the beer, wine and London Kettle popcorn on offer. A particularly pleasant way to spend an evening if you’re lucky enough with London’s weather to catch some evening sun setting behind the trees.
Venues include: Coram’s Fields in Holborn, Morden Hall Park in Morden, Bishops Park in Fulham, Mycenae House in Blackheath, Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith, Manor House Gardens in Lewisham and East Greenwich Pleasaunce in Greenwich.
The Floating Cinema, based on a specially designed canal boat, offers a new perspective on both the city and the cinema screen as it journeys from east to west London.
This year’s programme focuses on migration, people and culture with performances, talks, workshops and documentary film screenings. The lineup also draws inspiration from the waterways themselves exploring the themes of transient cultures, canals, rivers and seas.