The great outdoors: The best open-air cinema for Brits
British film lover? Rejoice! The British summer has arrived and with it the season of open air cinematic events. This summer, anywhere with a park, school, zoo, castle, beach, or even lido seems to be hosting a pop-up screen showing crowd-pleasers.
Ever since Sun Pictures showed its first open-air film for the residents of Broome, Western Australia in 1916, film and the outdoors have gone hand in hand. Perhaps that’s why it is such a seasonal affair in the UK, even though at the height of summer, blankets, hats, and umbrellas might all come in useful.
Come rain or balmy evening twilight, the outdoor experience offers a refreshing alternative to a multiplex visit and across the UK this kind of film event has become increasingly popular. The idea that you can enjoy an environment where films and locations have been carefully curated for an enhanced experience is fresh and different. Jaws at East Looe beach, anyone?
Whether it’s discovering if you are a replicant as a participant in an immersive event built around Blade Runner or a more civilized experience watching Oscar-winning classics (Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, La La Land) on a rooftop with views of the London skyline and beyond, the summer open-air cinema season is now a permanent fixture in the British cultural calendar.
They even start them young these days with screenings of Madagascar at Dartmoor Zoo or a choice of Harry Potter showings at a number of castles that could easily stand in for Hogwarts.
From the dramatic Minack Theatre built into the Cornish cliffs to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, open-air screenings run the entire length of Britain from the start of May right through until October. The films and locations are set. All that’s left to hope for is good weather.