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Best drive-ins & outdoor cinemas

Get ready to channel your Sandy (or Zuko) - the retro drive-in is here. With social distancing as de rigeur as a pair of stilettos for the summer, we've cherry-picked 6 of the coolest outdoor cinema experiences.

Pull up to the bumper baby! … yep, the nostalgic drive-in is coming to an open space near you, and it’s going to be the essential summer experience (ok, maybe the only experience!).

But trust us, the 2020 drive-in has moved on from your basic 1980’s teen movie. Instead, brace yourself for live sets from Ibiza DJS (yass!), stand-up comedy, silent in-car discos, roller-skating waiters laden with popcorn and more.

It’s time to park up and party …. Check them out here.

1. The Luna Drive-In Cinema

Tell me about it, stud! The ever-popular Luna Cinema is back with a drive-in makeover. Expect giant HD LED screens, state-of-the-art digital in-car speakers and stunning backdrops. We love the sound of the Luna Bar – order food and drink from your car by scanning the QR code on the front of the in-car speaker you’re given and hey presto, they’ll roller-skate it over to you. Toilets and medics are on site too (just in case you get overwhelm from a 30ft Ryan Gosling).

Dude, where’s my car? Stunning 18th century Blenheim Palace, which is just a hop and skip over the border, and Warwick Castle. More venues TBC, too.

Settle in for a show at Warwick Castle

Go ahead, make my day: Blenheim Palace is hosting 14 fabulous films from Rocketman (10 July) to Pretty Woman (12 July) and JoJo Rabbit (13 July) and A Star is Born (16 July). Doors open at 8.30pm and the party starts at 9.30pm. Warwick Castle is showing 15 films during July so get booking pronto (Jurassic Park is already snapped up *groan*). Catch The Devil Wears Prada on 8 July, Footloose on 11 July, Moulin Rouge on 12 July and a bit of Leo and Cate in Romeo + Juliet to end the season on 13 July.

2. Cotswold Drive-In Cinema

Tell me about it, stud! A brand new drive-in for the ‘Wolds – yippee. Cotswold Drive-In Cinema lends you in-car bluetooth speakers and has wood-fired pizza, popcorn, ice-cream and drinks on demand – all served through your window. There are ‘luxury loos’ (no idea, but sound good). And prior to the movie you can even stretch your legs and go to the bar to get yourself a drink from the ‘specialist’ gin bar (socially distanced of course). And the best bit? Err, only a pre-movie live set from Ibiza DJ Gary Mack to get you in the mood, and fireworks to top off the night.

Dude, where’s my car? At the Showground at Ascott-under-Wychwood.

Go ahead, make my day: Rocketman will be first to play on the huge 10m by 6m screen on Sat 13 June. Cars are limited to 4 people and the film starts just after 9pm and doors open at 6pm. Book here, and watch this space as more new dates and films are due to be announced very soon.

3. At the Drive In

Tell me about it, stud! At the Drive In is coming to 12 cities across the UK this summer and we love its quirkiness and family vibe. Expect the fabulous-sounding (after 7847 weeks of homeschooling) silent car discos plus bingo, family games and stand-up comedy pre-performance, plus a food delivery app that lets you order hot and cold treats to your car via rollerskating waiters. There’s also a registration plate ID system which means a handy ticket-less experience and of course all cars will be parked two metres apart.

Dude, where’s my car? Bristol Airport, Southampton and Birmingham.

Go on, make my day: Head to Birmingham (location TBA) between 15-19 July to see eight films, from the PG-rated Grease sing-a-long and Toy Story to the 15+ rated Joker. Or go south to Bristol between 9-13 September to see Back to the Future and A Star is Born, taking place at Bristol Airport, which is brilliant because you can persuade yourself you’re really on the way to Malaga (*sigh*). Tickets start from £35 per car.

4. The Alfresco Film Company

Tell me about it, stud! A selection of great films in stunning settings, Alfresco’s rescehduled late summer dates are still going ahead (subject to any changes – stay tuned), but rumours are film goers will get socially distanced deckchairs and all the 2-metre apart snack and food services, along with a giant LED HD screen of course.

Dude, where’s my car? Bristol, Wiltshire College Lackham, nr Chippenham, and Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham.

Go ahead, make my day: If you want your own private, pop-up experience you can even hire Alfresco to come to your own back garden and set up a 13ft screen (from £400+ VAT) – the ultimate non-drive, drive-in. Book here. Your friends will love you forever.

5Open Air Film and chill

Tell me about it, stud! An outdoor extravaganza of socially distanced seating and cinema snacks. Movie lovers are encouraged to bring their own picnics and alcohol or drinks to this one, so stock up on the hot chicken wings and Moet and designate that driver right now.

Dude, where’s my car? Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucester’s Hempstead Meadows and Worcester’s Colewall Park.

Go ahead, make my day: Head to Cheltenham on 8 August for The Greatest Showman, Harry Potter at Gloucester on 18 August and The Lion King at Worcester’s Colewall Park Hotel on 3 July. We’re also loving their brand new ‘Cinema in a Box’ experience costing £150 – you just choose the film, they’ll drop everything off, and they come back to pick it up the next day.

Film on a Farm is gearing up

6. Film on the Farm

PLUS Hot off the Muddy press … pull up a hay bale because we hear that Film on the Farm is bringing a cool cinema night to Cirencester on the 24th – 25th July. More details will be released soon, but sign up to the website to be the first to get your hands on some tickets.

7. The Lost Cinema at Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, 28-31 Aug

One of England’s most beautiful cathedrals and grounds, how perfect is Salisbury for an alfresco cinema outing?! There’s an on-site bar and catering, or you could bring a picnic if you can be bothered. (Nah…) Book now for Rocketman, Grease or Harry Potter.

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