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Sussex outdoor cinemas 2017

Get under the stars, with the stars



Luna Cinema

Balmy nights make for a great reason to snuggle up on a picnic blanket with Ryan Gosling or whichever other Hollywood star takes your fancy. Here’s my round-up of some of the outdoor film screenings popping up in Sussex and nearby over the summer, roughly in order of appearance.

San Miguel Picturehouse Pop-Up, Lewes Castle, Fri 23 – Sun 25 June/ Stanmer Park, Brighton, Fri 14 -Sun 16 Jul, Fri 25 – Sun 27 Aug

Indie chain Picturehouse and San Miguel are hosting a couple of pop-up Sussex screenings. First up is La La Land, then The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Princess Bride at Lewes Castle over the weekend 23 -25 June. Then, at Preston Manor, Brighton, are The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Stand By Me and Moulin Rouge Fri 14 – Sun 16 July and Hairspray, The Warriors and The Big Lebowski over 25 – 27 Aug. Deckchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis and intruiging sounding cardboard ‘bumbox’ seating will be for sale. Bring a picnic and buy beer and wine on site.

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. It has a packed programme of mainly family-friendly screenings. Films coming up include The Mummy, from 30 June – 4 July then Transformers: The Last Knight, The House and Despicable Me 3 taking you to the end of July.

Luna Cinema, Tonbridge Castle, Kent, 14 – 16 July

Lovely La La Land gets another outing at Tonbridge Castle on Fri 14 July, followed by Mamma Mia and Ghostbusters the following nights. Estrella beer, Prosecco and other drinks will be available plus Sicilian inspired street food,  wood–fired pizzas and gourmet burgers.

Wimbledon and Opera, Brighton’s Big Screen, Brighton Marina, 3 – 16 July

Ringing the chances, the big screen at Brighton Marina will be showing Wimbledon fortnight from 3 – 16 July in a pop-up park. It’s also promising some CBeebies for kids on mornings tbc around this time. On 4 and 14 July, attention turns to the Royal Opera House with live screenings of La Traviata and Turandot respectively. There will also be a trio of films on 9 July.

Cinema on the Pier, Hastings, 20 – 22 July

One of the great new uses for Hastings’ lovely restored pier is the chance for you to watch movie under the stars and above the waves. The big screen is popping up for various dates over summer, next for Jurassic Park, Quadrophenia and Grease (consecutively, not as some weird mash -up) from Thurs 20 to Sat 22 Jul. Various seating upgrades are available including a deckchair with fish and chips and – get this –  a perch inside a Mini or BMW convertable!

Leeds Castle

Open Air Cinema, Leeds Castle, Kent, 28 – 29 July

As part of its Celebrate Summer season, Leeds Castle is providing the gorgeous backdrop for a Gladiator screening on 28 July, then everyone’s favourite hooker-rich man romance Pretty Woman on 29 July. There are plenty of outdoor theatre events coming up too from kids’ shows to Hamlet.

Brighton’s Big Screen, Brighton Beach, 28 July – 28 Aug

Brighton’s big screen is back with a programme lasting a month – you can even buy a season ticket. Catch La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Moonlight, Trainspotting 2, Beauty and The Beast and many more. There’s beach or grandstand seating, even VIP beds to lounge on! A heat of the British Street Food Awards will spice things up on Sun 30 July, with 15 top vendors on site. On Sat 26 Aug, The Quadrophenia Experience will team film Quadrophenia, set on the very same beach, with a gig from a Who tribute act.

Brighton Big Screen

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 timed to end with coffee as the movie starts. With the dinner package you can plump for Cocktail, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bridget Jones’ Baby, Mission Impossible or La La Land in August or Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on 4 Sept. With a picnic, you can chose from Dirty DancingThe Bodyguard and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them on dates in Aug.

Chichester International Film Festival outdoor screenings,  4 – 5 Aug

The 26th Chichester International Film Festival kicks off with two open air screenings at Priory Park. First, on Fri 4 Aug, there’s family-friendly Disney Pixar film Cars, then on Sat 5 Aug it’s reigning monarch of the chic flicks, Dirty Dancing which is preceeded by a performance from vintage-style singer Dawn Gracie to get you in retro mood.

Screen On the Green, Littlehampton, 19 Aug

Back for it’s 4th year and this time it’s 80’s favourite The Goonies on a giant 40ft inflatable screen on East Green on Saturday 19 Aug. This outdoor cinema has the bonus of being free and non-ticketed. Just bring a rug to sit on.

Sunset Screenings, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Aug 5, 12, 19 & 27 

De La Warr is putting on Sunset Screenings on an outside sea-facing wall this August, with plenty of family-friendly options across the school holidays. Tron is early in the month and it ends with It’s Star Wars: Rogue One on 27 Aug. Sunset is expected around 8.30pm and there are family-friendly activities from 6.00pm on the terrace beforehand.  Best of all, the films are all free!

Dunkirk at Camber Sands, Luna Cinema, 20 – 21 Sept 

Remembering the achievement of the Dunkirk evacuation, on the evenings of Wed 20 and Thurs 21 Sept, Studiocanal will present the premiere of a new restoration of Leslie Norman’s classic 1958 epic Dunkirk on the very beaches of Camber Sands where the film was shot. Besides the screening, you can enjoy  1940s themed entertainment, including food and drink of the era (hopefully no spam fritters), vintage costumes and set dressing, music and walkabout re-enactments.

Heading into London? Luna Cinema also has some prime locations for other summer film screenings including Greenwich Park, Hampton Court, Kensington Palace and Westminster Abbey.


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