Best of London: London’s Rooftop Cinemas

by Brenna Holeman

Rooftop Cinema London 5

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Best of London” post – in fact, looking back through this blog’s archives, I rarely write about things to do in London, despite having lived here for three years now. That’s a bit odd, considering I feel like I’m always doing cool stuff in the city; anyone who has been to London knows there is seemingly no shortage of museums, galleries, shops, parks, markets, shows, concerts, neighbourhoods, restaurants, and bars to sample.

Last night, however, I did something new and wanted to share it: I went to my first rooftop cinema in London. Mainly dominated by the Rooftop Film Club (where you can find all the upcoming showings and book your tickets), there are venues all over London that allow you to take in a movie while enjoying the outdoors and getting a view of the cityscape. I was invited by my friend Marie-Eve of To Europe and Beyond, and we decided to see When Harry Met Sally at the Shadwell location, Tobacco Dock. The other locations include Shoreditch, Kensington, Peckham, and Stratford; I can’t speak for all of the locations, but I believe that Shadwell and Peckham have the best views of London.

Rooftop Cinema London 3

Arriving at the venue, you collect your tickets at the box office, where you’re given a blanket and a set of wireless headphones. There are also a few food stalls and bars, so Marie-Eve and I got a couple of Aperol Spritzes (it really is my summer drink) and settled in for the show.

Rooftop Cinema London 2

The sound was really good, as was the quality of the video – plus it was just incredibly fun to watch a film outside with a big group of people. I would definitely recommend going to a rooftop cinema in London if you get the chance. And while we lucked out with a beautiful evening (it was 30 degrees in London yesterday!), Rooftop Film Club runs in all weather conditions; if it’s raining, they’ll provide you with a waterproof poncho. Is it weird that I kind of want to watch a movie in the rain?! Either way, make sure you dress accordingly, because London can get quite chilly in the evening, even in summer.

Rooftop Cinema London 6

Rooftop Film Club also operates in New York and Los Angeles, and there are plenty of other outdoor cinemas around London; Time Out seems to have a good list of the outdoor cinemas month by month.

Have you ever been to an outdoor cinema? Is this something you would do in London?

For more Best of London, check out: Broadway MarketLondon Cru Winery, The BB Bakery Bus Tour, The Saatchi Gallery, and A West End Musical. I’m happy to write more about my favourite spots in London if you’re interested! 

You may also like


LC August 24, 2016 - 2:44 pm

I love outdoor and in particular, rooftop cinema. Have been to the one in Peckham (and also do yoga there on occasions!) and the view is lovely. You did luck out with the weather – every time I’ve been, I’ve turned into a little human icicle upon the film’s completion. Next time I go I’ll be armed with three jumpers and a blanket, for sure.

Brenna Holeman August 24, 2016 - 4:09 pm

Ha ha – I know, London can get so cold at night! I really want to try the one in Peckham.

Danny August 24, 2016 - 5:29 pm

If I’m not mistaken, Frankfurt has a few outdoor cinema events, too. I haven’t been to one yet, but I did go to a free, outdoor concert by the local philharmonic orchestra just last week, so I can understand your excitement in discovering something new about your own city.

I feel like these are the sort of events that are also great in order to regain a bit of the magic of living abroad. 🙂

Brenna Holeman August 25, 2016 - 10:01 am

Yes, I love discovering new things about London! You’re right, it adds to the magic. 🙂

Marie @ To Europe And Beyond August 26, 2016 - 5:47 pm

I’m so glad you were able to join me! The rooftop cinema was such an offbeat, fun thing to do, especially on a gorgeous day!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2016 - 3:32 pm

Thank you so much for the invitation! It was so fun… and so glad you like When Harry Met Sally.

Katie August 29, 2016 - 12:41 pm

I have been to an outdoor cinema, but not on a roof! How amazing. Great movie, too. (We had friends from New York visiting this weekend and they loooove London. Kept saying we need to take a trip there!)

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2016 - 3:33 pm

You definitely do! 😀

Tamsin @ A Certain Adventure September 3, 2016 - 3:13 pm

I actually went to the same screening of When Harry Met Sally! It was such a perfect evening for outdoor cinema, wasn’t it? That beautiful sunset and the gorgeous skyline – I think it’s the nicest one I’ve been to in London. And the first time I’d seen that ridiculous, wonderful film. So glad I went! I’ve been to Nomad at my local park (Queen’s Park, in north west London) a couple of times – and that’s always nice but feels a lot more homely and has fewer of the comforts like the blankets and deckchairs. x

Brenna Holeman September 4, 2016 - 11:04 pm

Oh cool! It was indeed the PERFECT evening for it. So glad you had fun and that you enjoyed the movie!

Zalie September 13, 2016 - 3:36 am

I have actually never been to an outdoor cinema but I have always wanted to! Apparently they did it in Assiniboine Park this year…hopefully you and I can go to one next summer!

Brenna Holeman September 13, 2016 - 10:47 am

Yes, that would be amazing! I love outdoor cinemas now…

Mo October 5, 2016 - 1:28 pm

I didn’t know this was a thing! Sounds brilliant

Brenna Holeman October 5, 2016 - 2:45 pm

It’s so much fun!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.