Summer in London is an exciting (and expensive) time of year, there are so many outdoor events going on, it is hard to say no to all of them. This has certainly been my problem lately and during July we experience not one but two outdoor cinemas. JP and I had booked ‘secret’ dates for each other but we ended up booking the same thing just luckily on different days. I had picked the Nomad Cinema at Grosvenor Square while JP chose the Luna Cinema at Kew Gardens. They were both awesome in their own way and the perfect summer experience to have. It also meant ticking two more things off my London List.
Outdoor Cinema in London: Where is the Nomad Cinema at Grosvenor Square
Right in the heart of central London this felt like a ‘proper’ London thing to do but with a festival vibe. It was part of Summer in the Square festival and when we arrived just before 8pm there was a band playing some funky beats. We were also treated to more live music before the film started from a brass band. The cinema was set up in a corner of the grassy square and although anyone could have rocked up (because after all this is a public area) it was controlled with headphones for the film’s audio. I had booked seats with our ticket and we received some fancy deckchair style ones which despite being a couple of rows back still had great views. Some of the seating area was reserved for sponsors of the event which caused a fuss with some of the attendees. There was space in front of the chairs for anyone who had opted for just a blanket.
We then took along a picnic and drinks instead of buying something once there. It certainly felt like the proper way to do it and many other people had opted for this too. The screening started once the light had faded around 9.15pm and this was when it started to cool down too. We had packed blankets and hoodies with us but if you forgot there were some available for purchase. The set up was quite a small affair and although it wasn’t perfectly organised there were no hiccups to the film. I loved the experience and after experiencing a much bigger set up at Kew Gardens I appreciated the intimacy of this venue.
All events have finished at this venue for the summer but Where is the Nomad has other venues across London showing until September.
Outdoor Cinema in London: The Luna Cinema at Kew Gardens
I’d never been to Kew Gardens before so was excited to set foot inside a place which isn’t far from my home in London. Not only that but I had heard plenty of good things about the film we were about to watch: Grand Budapest Hotel. We arrived around 8pm an hour before the screening started but an hour after the gates had opened and it was already packed. This time we have bought our own chairs but there seemed to be little order as to where you could sit – I had previously read you would have to sit in the area allocated for chairs. We managed to grab a spot in the middle of the screen and despite being far back could see perfectly.
Unlike the above experience we chose to eat before and took just a few tasty snacks, although I was happy with this I certainly longed for another picnic once I saw everyone else’s. The sound was played out over a system for this screening and despite being below the Heathrow flying space we could hear perfectly. The whole set up felt much like a country garden party and I adored the fact you could see the stars once the sun had set. An experience we didn’t get in central London. As I mentioned above the Luna Cinema was a much bigger affair with many sponsors and competitions.
There are two more screenings at Kew this summer and many more across the UK with Luna Cinema.
Although both experiences were very different I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything at either one. I would recommend both companies and there is little difference in price. An outdoor cinema is certainly a great summer experience.