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Outdoor cinema in Sussex 2018

Make the most of balmy summer nights and the big sporting events with the Muddy round-up of outdoor cinema in Sussex and nearby.



Warm nights make for a great reason to snuggle up on a picnic blanket with stars of the Hollywood or sporting kind. Here’s the Muddy round-up of outdoor cinema in Sussex and nearby this summer, roughly in order of appearance.

The Luna Beach Cinema, beside the Palace Pier, Brighton, Thurs June 14 –  Sun July 15

Just to the east of Brighton’s Palace Pier you’ll find the big Luna Beach screen showing feature films and all the key action from Wimbledon and the World Cup. The movie programme includes all time faves like Dirty Dancing, Grease and recent hit The Greatest Showman, plus Quadrophenia gets an outing in the city where it was filmed. There are family-friendly screenings too like Finding Nemo, Paddington 2 and Beauty and the Beast. Get a drink from the bar and street food from faves like The Peckish Peacock and Shortt’s Bar. General admission is a fiver for adults, £3.50 for children but Premier tickets get you a prime spot with a deckchair… or splash out on a Beach Hut for four with butler service!

Moonlight Drive-In Cinema, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, various dates June & July 

The UK’s largest drive-in cinema is at Paddock Wood in Kent. You park up, tune your radio to the right frequency and sit in or around your car. You can also buy burgers, nachos and the like on site. This year’s line-up includes: The Greatest Showman, Ocean’s 8, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2. Shows start around 9pm.

Wimbledon and Opera, Brighton Marina, Mon 2 – Sun 15 July

A big screen at Marina Square will be showing Wimbledon all day Mon 2 July to the finals on Sat 14 and 15 for free. Should the tennis finish in time, certain World Cup games will follow. On Thurs Jul 12 at 7pm attention turns to the Royal Opera House with a BP Big Screen live broadcast of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Head into Mal Maison nearby for cocktails afterwards is my tip. The BP Big Screen opera will also be popping up at London venues including Trafalgar Square.

Social cinema, The Bull, Ditchling, Sat 14 Jul & Sat 11 Aug

Muddy Awards 2017 runner-up The Bull has screenings for free in its pretty garden this summer. Following a Facebook vote the next films up are Jaws on Sat 14 Jul and Top Gun on Sat 11 Aug. The movies are free and start at dusk. There will be some blankets on hand but you’re advised to bring a cushion and an extra layer. Naturally food and drink is also available, including wood-fired pizza before the film.

The Luna Cinema, Tonbridge Castle, Kent, Fri 20 – Sun 22 Jul

Dirty Dancing was another year but you can still catch it elsewhere

This summer The Luna Cinema transforms the grounds of Tonbridge Castle into an impressive setting for open-air flicks. Over three days chose from The Greatest Showman, Pretty Woman, Gladiator or see them all! Shows start at 9:15.

Film on a Farm, Sheffield Park Lodge, Fletching, near Uckfield, Sat 21 Jul

La La Land will be dancing into Fletching near Uckfield for one night only at this pop-up in a field. You can buy a blanket and reserve deckchair seating. It’s close to huge Indian furniture store, cafe and gig venue Trading Boundaries so pop in while you’re in the ‘hood.

Chichester International Film Festival outdoor screenings, Priory Park, Fri 3 – Sun 5 Aug 

The start of the 2018 Chichester International Film Festival is heralded by a trio of open air screenings at Priory Park. This year Grease is the word on Fri 3 Aug, then it’s Incredibles 2 on Sat 4 Aug and The Greatest Showman on Sun 5 Aug. The outdoor shows have sold out the last two years, so get organised!

Sunset Screenings, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Sat 4 to 25 Aug

The De La Warr is putting on Sunset Screenings on an outside sea-facing wall this August, with plenty of retro family-friendly options across the school holidays to keep kids giggling and adults sighing with nostalgia. The season starts with UP (4 Aug), then we’re back to the 70s and 80s for The Love Bug, (11 Aug) Back to the Future, (18 Aug) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (25 Aug). Bet you still hide from the Child Catcher, eh? Sunset is expected around 8.30pm and there are live bands and a DJ from 2pm and family-friendly activities from 6.00pm beforehand. Best of all, it’s all free!

Movies by Moonlight, South Lodge Hotel, nr Horsham, various dates, Aug & Sept 

South Lodge Hotel at Lower Beeding, near Horsham, has an open air cinema throughout the summer. Bring a picnic, or splash out a special three course dinner (£55 including film) timed to end with coffee as the movie starts. With the dinner package you can plump for Dunkirk, Lion, La La Land, Cocktail or Spectre in August or Skyfall in Sept. With a picnic (and £15 for the film) you can chose from Dirty Dancing, The Bodyguard or Beauty and the Beast in Aug or Grease in Sept. Some other films have sold out already so bagsy the one you fancy quick.

The Luna Cinema, Leeds Castle, Kent, Thurs 2 – Sat 4 Aug

Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent makes a romantic setting for cinema under the stars. Settle down on Cedar Lawn and watch the likes of Dirty Dancing, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone and even The Italian Job with full orchestra accompaniment!. There’s a bar natch (someone else is driving, right?)

Screen On the Green, Littlehampton, Fri 17 and Sat 18 Aug 

Back for it’s 5th year on East Green, this addition to the outdoor cinema in Sussex scene has the bonus of being free and non-ticketed. Just bring a rug to sit on. On Fri 17 Aug it’s an outdoor outing for recent hit The Greatest Showman. On Sat 18 Aug it’s the turn of family film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Both films will start at 8:45pm. Bring a picnic or buy Mexican street food or Dominos pizza… or sweets from the pick n’ mix stall! Soft drinks are on sale and you can BYO booze.

Nicole Kidman short film season, Hever Festival Theatre, Kent, Tues 21 – Fri 24 Aug

Celebrate the flame-haired Aussie actress with a series of her films including Moulin RougeThe Stepford Wives (2004 reboot) and Eyes Wide Shut (they seem to have brushed over Australia – very wise, it was a shocker). The theatre is outdoors but the seating is covered.

Picturehouse pop-up cinema, Preston Manor, Brighton, 23 – 26 Aug 

Brighton’s Picturehouse is going alfresco at Preston Manor for the end of August with a singalong version of The Greatest Showman (23 Aug), cult classic Donnie Darko (24 Aug), Thelma and Louise (25 Aug) and the recent re-release of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (26 Aug). Films start around 8pm, or dusk. Bring cushions and a picnic, there will be a bar on site.

Film on a Farm, Manor Farm, Chidham, near Chichester, Sat 1 Sept

A rather younger Tom Cruise will be shaking things up in late 80s classic Cocktail at this one night stand near Chichester.

Film on a Farm, The Hooke, South Chailey, near Lewes, Fri 8 Sept

Not exactly a farm, it’s the gardens of a Georgian house and it’s the ever popular Dirty Dancing on screen. A bar, BBQ and popcorn will be available.

Outdoor Cinema, Bewl Water, Sun 16 – Tues 18 Sept

Close the summer with the big outdoor screen at Bewl Water on the Sussex/Kent border this September. The open-air cinema is set beside the surrounds reservoir and the Waterfront Cafe will be open for food, drink and popcorn. The programme will kick off with Dirty Dancing on Fri  16, followed by Shutter Island on Sat 17 and Back To The Future on Sun the 18. The films start at 8pm, bring a blanket and a jumper – unless we get an Indian Summer, eh?

London screens, various dates until Sept

London Bridge City

Heading into London? Luna Cinema has some prime locations for film screenings including Greenwich Park, Battersea Park, Wimbledon Park and the grounds of Westminster Abbey. There’s also a screen showing Wimbledon, opera and more at the old Television Centre and another at City Hall, London Bridge as part of the Summer by the River festival. You can actually see Movies On The River on a City Cruise boat on the Thames and Somerset House has it’s annual Film Four Summer Screen.

by Debbie Ward

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