The UK’s Best Drive-In Cinemas For Summer 2020
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Drive-in cinemas have long been associated with American culture – but they’ve now emerged as a pandemic-induced trend this side of the pond. And although indoor cinemas are now allowed to reopen, momentum surrounding the drive-in shows no sign of slowing. Here’s our pick of the best, featuring roller skating waiters, American diner-style snacks and a whole host of great movies – all to be enjoyed from the comfort of your car.
Once again, Secret Cinema has nailed the alternative movie screening experience with its new summer series, The Drive-In. Hosted at the renowned Goodwood Motor Circuit in Sussex, guests are treated to an evening spent watching a movie classic under the stars – think Dirty Dancing, Moulin Rouge, and Bohemian Rhapsody – amongst an array of entertaining pre-screening performances (none of those tedious cinema-style adverts), tasty American diner-inspired food and deliciously indulgent ice cream from the official partners Häagen-Dazs. But for that real Formula 1 feel – it is Goodwood, after all – we recommend booking to see sports flick Rush, based on the long-standing rivalry between legendary Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Fan of scary movies? No need to wait until Halloween: book a ticket to Horror-fest on 23 August, in which Secret Cinema will show a triple bill of iconic horror films: The Blair Witch Project, The Cabin in the Woods and Drag me to Hell. secretcinema.org
The Wavelength Drive-In Cinema Series
Taking the drive-in trend to new heights is The Wavelength Drive-In Cinema Series, a clifftop cinema held on Trebelsue Farm, the site which usually houses Boardmasters festival. Perched atop a beach near Newquay, this experience would be worth it for the views alone – yet there’s also some great entertainment in the pipeline. A whole host of cult classics are set to be screened during the summer, kicking off with Cornish-set surf film Blue Juice, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year. shop.wavelengthmag.com
Drive In Film Club
The ever-popular Rooftop Film Club was ahead of the curve on this one, producing a drive-in cinema experience back in 2014. Their new offering takes places at Alexandra Palace, which has been equipped with a giant 40-foot LED screen. Movies on the cards include vintage classics like Grease – with its iconic drive-in scene – and Pulp Fiction, alongside newer releases such as Black Panther. Fuel your viewing with hot dogs from Popdogs, or bring your own snacks along for the ride. rooftopfilmclub.com
The Luna Drive-In
Luna Cinema is known for hosting some of the country’s best outdoor film events, and its drive-in offering is no exception. Screenings are taking place across a number of different UK venues, including Allianz Park and Printworks in London, Blenheim Palace in Oxford and Warwick Castle in the Midlands. Films range from old-school classics like Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman to new releases, such as La La Land and Rocketman – with a brand new sound system offering top-quality sound, and wireless speakers available for each car. And as a fun extra, any food or drinks you order will be whizzed over to you by waiters and waitresses on scooters and roller skates. The Luna Cinema has also announced a partnership with the Royal Opera House, which will see broadcasts of La bohème and La traviata, as well as The Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. lunadriveincinema.com
Drive & Dine Theatre
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park is sadly not taking place this year, but the team behind it is launching a brand-new experience: the Drive & Dine Theatre. The USP here is the food, which comes courtesy of acclaimed Marlow-based chef Tom Kerridge. Guests can choose from a comfort food-focused menu featuring dishes like maple bacon cheeseburgers, chicken tikka masala and vegan chilli burritos, alongside a selection of drinks. Just like Pub in the Park, the experience will pop up at various locations around the UK, including Luton Hoo Estate near St Albans, Syon Park in west London, and The Henley Showground in Marlow. Films on offer include recent blockbusters 1917 and Knives Out, family favourites The BFG and Aladdin, and drive-in classics Grease, Back to the Future and Jaws.
In August, Paul Ainsworth will take the reins as the experience moves to Cornwall. Expect a similar vibe but with new food offerings, such as the Drive-In Dog: a hot dog with a clotted cream brioche bun, and the Ainsworth Fried Chicken, served with sticky Korean BBQ sauce. driveanddinetheatre.com
Head to Acton’s Twyford Avenue Sports Ground to catch modern classics like Mamma Mia and The Hangover on the biggest screen in west London. All cars will be parked two metres apart, and guests will have access to an American-inspired menu of Dirty Bones Burgers, and popcorn – delivered straight to your car. sunsetcinema.uk
Outdoor Cinema Live
Farm attraction Hirsty’s Family Fun Park has joined the drive-in cinema brigade, offering a series of night time screenings run by Outdoor Cinema Live. Die Hard, Dirty Dancing, The Blues Brothers and Pretty Woman are all set to be shown on an HD screen with stereo sound beamed directly to cinema goers’ cars. Guests can also expect a few extra bells and whistles, including an electric light show, cheerleaders and a pyrotechnic finale. Farm food, drinks, ice cream and snacks are all available to pre-order via an app. outdoorcinemalive.com