Many people enjoy a trip to the cinema, but a trip to an open air cinema is definitely a magical experience.
Pop up open air cinemas have been appearing across London in recent years showing everything from latest blockbusters to cinema classics like Home Alone.
I’ve enjoyed Home Alone in the middle of a roundabout near Hyde Park at Christmas, and Jurassic Park in minus 2 degrees, but with a hot chocolate and a blanket, they can be really fun whatever the weather!
Pop up cinemas come and go frequently in London, and this guide has been updated for 2021 and will be kept updated each year going forward – so bookmark this page!
In this article we’ll look at the open air cinemas in London open to visit during 2021, and what shows to expect.
Best Open Air Cinemas in London for 2021
Here is a rundown of the best 2021 London open air cinemas, and the films on show for the remainder of the year!
The Luna Outdoors Cinema experience is now nationwide.
This pop up cinema travels across iconic and historic locations across the country, including some wonderful locations in London, keeping cinema goers entertained.
The Luna Cinema are appearing in six different locations from August to December 2021, including:
- 11th to 15th August 2021 – Kensington Palace
- 18th to 21st August 2021 – Chiswick House
- 22nd August to 5th September 2021 – Regent’s Park
- 16th to 19th September 2021 – Royal Hospital Chelsea
- 28th to 30th September 2021 – Brompton Cemetery
- 1st to 3rd October 2021 – Wandsworth Park
The film choices available can vary between venues but include a nice mixture of classic titles and more recent films including:
- The Greatest Showman
- Top Gun
- Star Wars: A New Hope
- Jurassic Park
- The Princess Bride
- Pretty Woman
- Singing in the Rain
This isn’t an exhaustive list, there are more films available.
At each venue there are a number of food and drink stalls available including ice cream, beer and non-alcoholic drinks as well as wraps and other food.
There are toilets onsite too
Top tip: the outdoor cinema goes ahead whether rain or shine, so check the weather forecast and make sure you dress appropriately. In case of showers or rain, an umbrella and weatherproof coat or poncho is advised!
You can bring your own blankets and also chairs if you’d prefer not to sit on the ground, but tables are not allowed at the Luna Cinemas.
Rooftop Film Club
Location: Peckham and Stratford
The Rooftop Film Club operates two permanent open air cinema locations.
These include the Bussey Building in Peckham, South London and also Roof East in Stratford, East London.
As these are permanent open air cinemas in London, they have chairs already set in place to sit on, rather than sitting on blankets like other pop up cinema venues.
It’s like sitting in an indoor cinema, but outdoors instead.
The Rooftop Film Club shows both latest releases as well as older classics. Releases and tickets can only be purchased one month in advance, but here is a sneak peak at some of the films showing across August and September 2021:
- Grease – Sing a Long Version (great idea for a hen night in London)
- Black Widow
- Fight Club
- Thelma and Louise
- Spice World
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- Romeo and Juliet
- Pretty Woman
- And lots more!
The Rooftop Film Club also have membership schemes starting from £36.00 to £80 year which provides access to free tickets, discounts and priority notifications depending on membership.
As well as memberships they’ve thought of everything including wireless headphones to listen to the show, and not have to listen to the coughing or wrapper rustling from the person sitting in front of you!
Like traditional cinemas only food and drink purchased at the Rooftop Film Club can be consumed on their premises.
Barbican Outdoor Cinema
The Barbican hosts a summer event of various outdoor cinema and theatre shows in the summer.
Unfortunately, this outdoor cinema event is usually across the summer only, and the dates for 2021 are between Tuesday 24th August and Sunday 29th August 2021.
You won’t necessarily find the latest blockbusters at the Barbican but a mixture of artistic wonderment as well as iconic classics that will forever stand the test of cinematic time.
The events for this summer at the Barbican open air theatre include:
- Floating Points
- Instructions for the Future
Top Tip: Seats are available on a first come first serve basis at the Barbican, and as the doors open an hour before the show starts, it’s the best chance of grabbing a seat together!
Catering stalls and options are available, as well as bathrooms.
Rain won’t stop the show, so if rain is planned make sure to take with appropriate waterproof wear with you – as the British weather is a little unpredictable, as we know!
Kings Cross Open Air Cinema
Location: Kings Cross
The Kings Cross open air cinema, called Summer of Love Film Festival, not only features a wide range of family friendly favourites as well as great movies to see with friends and family, but best of all entry is absolutely FREE!
Yes, it’s a free open air cinema!
Unfortunately, at time of writing the Summer of Love film festival had finished for 2021, as it ran between 1st July to 25th July, but we are expecting it back for the summer of 2022!
The films this year included:
- Cool Runnings
- Dirty Dancing
- Black Panther
- The Goonies
- Toy Story
- The Lion King (animated version)
- Aladdin (animated version)
As you can see this is an amazing collection of classic films, but the fact entry is free makes it extra sweet.
Access to the full range of films available in the Kings Cross Open Air Cinema for 2021 are here.
There are some chairs available on a first come first served basis, plus the chance to win VIP seats with a table close to the cinema screen through Kings Cross app, which can be downloaded on either Android or Apple.
Floating Outdoors Cinema
The Floating Outdoors Cinema is a unique open air cinema experience in the heart of London!
In partnership with Hagan Dazs (no prizes for guessing which ice cream may be sold by the vendors!).
It’s called a floating cinema because, although the cinema screen stays on dry land (and probably a good thing too!) you jump in your very own boat, paddle around the river before staying in your boat to enjoy the film.
Very quirky and very unique!
Tickets are available up to two months before the showing date, and films for this summer and autumn include:
- Mamma Mia
- Moulin Rouge
- Dirty Dancing
- Pulp Fiction
- Fight Club
- Pretty Woman
- Love Actually
- Lion King (1994 version)
Of course, listings and films change often, but here’s the latest guide of films on as of now.
Sweets, ice cream (of course) as well as RaviOllie range of Italian food is available. Pizza from Pizza Express is available too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions from open air cinema goers, especially those who are visiting for the first time.
What to expect at an Open Air Cinema?
Although each open air cinema is different, many of them share similar qualities.
Chairs are often available, and some can be pre-booked, although many pop up cinemas will allow you to take your own chairs and blankets.
As technology moves forward some open air cinemas in London are switching from outside speakers to individual wireless headphones to listen to the film.
It’s a wonderful experience – especially if it doesn’t rain!
Can you take a blanket to an open air cinema in London?
In almost all outdoor cinemas in London you can take your own blankets!
It can be cold at night, especially during autumn but particularly during winter. It’s almost advisable to take one if you can.
Check though with the open air cinema you’re visiting too, just to make sure.
Do open air cinemas in London have shelter?
If shelter is available, the cinema screen will often be out of sight. Many open air cinemas carry on through all weather, if things are considered safe too, and this includes during the frequent rainy evenings in London.
If there is any chance of rain it’s certainly advisable to take waterproof clothes or a poncho, as well as an umbrella.
In Conclusion – Open Air Cinemas in London
There are always a great choice of open air cinemas in London, and new pop up cinemas are literally springing up all the time.
Here at Wunderlust London we’ll look to keep this page updated each year as new locations and pop up cinemas appear!