Pop Up Cinemas London | 2019
Last Updated: 25th June 2019
Ceilings aren’t the best invention ever.
But they’re up there.
That said, however, in weather like this it’s sometimes best to do away with them entirely, especially when it comes to watching movies on the big screen. So we’ve compiled a list of the very best outdoor and pop up cinemas London has to offer this summer…
The Vibe: They’ve got rooftops at Peckham’s Bussey Rooftop Bar, Roof East in Stratford, and The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch; and they’re all equipped with popcorn, cocktails, and very handy wireless headphones. They’re one of the godfathers of London outdoor cinemas, and being all on rooftops the view is almost as good offscreen as on it.
The Movies: They have new season goodness like BlacKkKlansman, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, and Detective Pikachu, as well as some classics like Once, Rear Window (particularly satisfying on a rooftop), and Howl’s Moving Castle.
The Vibe: It’s a cinema floating on the f**king water. One of the quirkier pop up cinemas London boasts this summer, it’s a small platform dunked in St. Katherine’s Docks, with a scattering of beanbags & deckchairs, and a tent-style covering just in case. They’ve got snacks, and pop up bar, and a solid lineup of movies.
The Movies: Paying due deference to their location they’re kicking things off with Aquaman before screening some, ugh, non-water based flicks including First Man, Green Book, and Mary Poppins Returns.
The Vibe: As the name strongly suggests, Nomad is an itinerant screening set up, jumping from place to place. This season however, they’ve elected to stay put in one location – Citypoint in Moorgate – where their hosts have pledged to donate every penny from ticket sales to South African environmental & educational charity the Sustainability Institute. Expect a seat and a WiFi headset included.
The Movies: This year’s flicks range from the classic (Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Do The Right Thing, Labyrinth, Some Like It Hot, etc.) to the new (The Favourite, A Star Is Born, etc.).
The Vibe: Film4 Summer Screens kicks off in August in the gloriously baroque courtyard at Somerset House. Cobbles aside, it’s one of the best places to put a pop up cinema in London. It’s literally the largest outdoor screen in the city, and it has surround sound to boot. There are beanbags, directors chairs, and to top it all, It’s BYOB (or even BYO entire picnic).
The Movies: Screening range from Black Panther, to The Princess Bride, to a glorious double bill of Before Sunrise/Sunset.
The Vibe: So, The Extraordinary Travelling Film Show travels around. Extraordinary, we know. But the upshot is that there’s just two screenings planned for London this year before they move onto The Isle of Wight. But those screenings are worth mentioning, because (after an opening night with Bohemian Rhapsody) the latter screening is Hidden Figures, and the venue is the grounds of Charlton House, which they’re transforming into a “Lunar Garden” for the night. And the date? The exact 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.
The Movie: Bohemian Rhapsody, Hidden Figures.
The Vibe: Big. The vibe is big. They’re hosting 175+ starlit screenings across the UK this year, with dozens in London alone. And many of them are at the iconic locations the films themselves are set in. At all of them, you’ll find hot food, a bar, and (depending on the seating situation) blankets & backrests.
The Movies: Way too many to list. Whether it’s a new flick (A Star is Born, The Meg, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, etc.) or a classic (Dirty Dancing, The Life of Brian, Mean Girls, etc) they probably have a screening of it.
The Vibe: Catch jaw-dropping opera and ballet shows broadcast live from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. They’ll be showing in big squares and gardens across London, and they’re all totally free.
The Movies: This summer you can catch the ballet Romeo & Juliet, plus Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro.
The Vibe: Pop Up Screens isn’t just a name. It’s an inflatable cinema screen that – if you arrive early enough – you can literally see pop up. Since opening back in 2011, they’ve gone from strength to strength, and now boast venues across the capital with bars, food, fresh popcorn, and even chairs.
The Movies: They’ve handpicked classics from back in the ’70s (Grease), to the ’80s (Ghostbusters, The Breakfast Club), to the ’90s (The Little Mermaid, Jurassic Park), to the ’00s (Moulin Rouge), to the present (Baby Driver, Get Out).
The Vibe: Backyard Cinema was one of the original pop up cinemas in London, and they know exactly what they’re doing. So this summer, they’re going to be taking over the terrace at Camden venue The Roundhouse, filling it with sand and palm trees, serving up a load of beachy cocktails and loading the slate with feel-good films. Plus, for a couple of nights they’ll be bringing back their sell-out Romeo + Juliet screening, in a church, with a live gospel choir.
The Movies: Cult classics – we’re talking Clueless, Back To The Future, and The Greatest Showman singalongs.
The Vibe: Films al fresco. FEST is on a rooftop attached to a bar, restaurant, and cabaret space. It’s got a sizeable pergola covered in hanging plants & flowers garnishing the entire rooftop, plus plenty of tables, and some sweet views across North London.
The Movies: Alongside the requisite rom coms (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Dirty Dancing, etc.), they’ll also be showing the final series of Game of Thrones on the big screen.
The Vibe: No ticket required. It’s first-come, first-served, and they’re showing some pretty decent films to boot in pubs, schools, parks, and churches across the neighbourhood.
The Movies: Everything from Bohemian Rhapsody, to Isle of Dogs, and A Matter of Life & Death.
The Vibe: The Scoop, a mini amphitheatre carved out of the river-bank next to The Mayor’s Office, is going to be hosting just about everything this summer (from comedy, to fitness classes, to sports, to music). And every Tuesday, they’ll be showing a film for free. Just show up, grab a seat, and admire the view of Tower Bridge.
The Movies: Aquaman, Mean Girls, The Incredibles 2… there’s quite a lot going on, especially considering they’re all gratis.
The Vibe: Sandy. Set on an unloved stretch of land along the river, Fulham Beach has not only added truckloads of sand, voile-curtained daybeds and shuffleboard to proceedings, but a huge pop up cinema screen that’s showing a different flick every Tuesday.
The Movies: Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, The Beach (duh).
Like doing stuff on rooftops? Check out our guide to the best rooftop bars in London…