6 mins

Movie time! 13 of the UK’s best drive-through cinemas

Whether you prefer Paranormal Activity or The Princess Bride, there's bound to be the perfect movie pick for you at one of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's best drive-in cinemas...

(@TheDriveIn)

1. @TheDriveIn, throughout the UK

(Suzuki presents @TheDriveIn)

(Suzuki presents @TheDriveIn)

How does an outdoor Grease sing-along sound? Or an old-school viewing of Back To The Future or Jaws? If the answer is 'great', then consider driving down to your nearest @TheDriveIn, which is travelling around England, Scotland and Wales until 4 October 2020.

In addition to two London venues, @TheDriveIn will be popping up in major cities, everywhere from Edinburgh Zoo and Birmingham, to Bristol and Newcastle airports – plus Cardiff, Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton.

In addition to the screenings, you can play bingo, dance in a silent (car-based) disco and enjoy some stand-up comedy. You can buy snacks and drinks via @TheDriveIn app, which will be safely delivered to your car, SUV or people-carrier. 

More information: @TheDriveIn

2. The Luna Cinema Drive-In Cinema, throughout England

Lulworth Castle, Dorset (Shutterstock)

Lulworth Castle, Dorset (Shutterstock)

The Luna Cinema Drive-In Cinema is hosting drive-through cinemas across the country, open until 18 August 2020. 

Confirmed venues are Allianz Park and Printworks in London; Warwick Castle in the midlands; Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire; Knebworth House in Hertfordshire; Harewood House in West Yorkshire; Tatton Park in Cheshire and Lulworth Castle in Dorset.

On arrival, you’ll be given a wireless digital speaker for your dashboard, through which you’ll listen to the film of your choice – take your pick from family-friendly Cars or Academy Award-winning black comedy Parasite. Peckish film fans can pre-order a hamper with a cheeseboard, or order an oven-baked pizza through your phone on site.

They'll even be delivered by waiters on roller skates! It all feels very 1952, though we’re actually stuck in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you have a convertible car, you must keep your roof up. Sorry.

More information: The Luna Cinema

3. The Great British Drive-In, Staffordshire

(The Great British Drive-In)

(The Great British Drive-In)

Why watch a film in an empty car park when you can see one in the grounds of a country mansion? Set within 400 acres, the gorgeously grand Sandon Hall, near the town of Stafford, has space for 165 cars per screening.

The Great British Drive In’s 100 sq m LED screen will be showing blockbusters, Bollywood films, Sundance favourite Whiplash and even some free educational screenings such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood, until 13 September.

You listen through your car radio via an FM transmitter. Take a picnic or order street food prepared by chefs from the immersive dining experience Funicular Productions, or Birmingham-based Digbeth Dining Club.

More Information: The Great British Drive-In

4. Itison Drive-In Movies Summer of Lockdown, Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond, Scotland (Shutterstock)

Loch Lomond, Scotland (Shutterstock)

Scotland's Itison Drive-In Movies launched in 2013, but from 29 July to 4 August 2020 will up its game to provide in-car quizzes, 'car-aoke' and street food delights, as well as outdoor cinema.

The setting really makes this drive-through stand out. After all, what could be more romantic than watching Dirty Dancing on the shores of Loch Lomond? Though if you prefer the romance to remain off-screen, watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Stand By Me, Armageddon or 28 Days Later, instead.

Once you’ve bought your ticket, take a screenshot of it in case you have a poor signal. It will be scanned through your car window on arrival. You listen to the films through your own FM radio. Cars, 4x4s and people carriers are allowed but vans and coaches are not.

More information: Itison 

5. Pop Up Drive-In Cinema, Belfast

City Hall, Belfast (Shutterstock)

City Hall, Belfast (Shutterstock)

Set on a remote island, the thriller Shutter Island is the obvious choice of film if you’d like to attend Pop Up Drive-In Cinema. That’s because the cinema’s 10m screen is located (until 26 July 2020) at the wakeboarding park Let’s Go Hydro on Knockbracken Reservoir, just south of Belfast. 

Most nights have two screenings, so you could also watch other aquatic-themed films, from Cast Away to family favourite Hook. If you don’t live nearby, you can turn the event into a staycation and sleep on-site at one of the reservoir’s new domes, which come complete with hot tubs.

More information: Let's Go Hydro

6. Adventure Drive-In, throughout England and Wales

Newport, Wales (Shutterstock)

Newport, Wales (Shutterstock)

If a socially-distanced in-car dance party takes your fancy, we won’t judge. You can tune into 80s pop and 90s club classics before watching Joker or The Lion King thanks to Adventure Drive-In, a drive-through cinema open throughout the summer.

There are multiple locations in England, from Carlisle to Crewe. You can also catch a film in Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot, Newport and Powys in Wales. More venues are to be announced soon. Make sure you pre-book your tickets and take your own drinks and snacks, as none are sold on site. Check dates to see when it's in your area...

More Information: Adventure Drive-In

7. Cinestock, West Sussex

(Instagram/Cinestock)

(Instagram/Cinestock)

Cinestock is well prepared for the Great British Summer, creating an indoor drive-through cinema for 200 cars (until 21 August) – which means your windscreen wipers won’t spoil that epic drama you’ve always wanted to watch.

The indoor screen also means the audience needn’t wait until it gets dark to watch a film – so expect family-friendly screenings of Dumbo and Abominable in the afternoons. There's also a second venue on the same West Sussex showground, where you can pull up to comedy shows from comedy stars including Mark Watson, Ed Byrne and Marcus Brigstocke.

More information: Cinestock

8. Tamworth Castle Grounds, Staffordshire

Tamworth Castle (Shutterstock)

Tamworth Castle (Shutterstock)

Tamworth Castle in Staffordshire might have been built around 1073, but in all this time no one thought to host a drive-through cinema in its grounds. Until now, that is. From 14 to 15 August 2020, you can be among the first to watch The Greatest Showman and – you’ve guessed it – Grease, on castle grounds.

You'll listen to the film through your car stereo via an FM transmitter. You can also pre-buy snacks, warm up over a hot drink from Coffee Craving UK or enjoy a gourmet burger from The Fork Society. Unlike a few other venues, people carriers, vans, lorries, caravans, motorhomes and motorcycles won't be allowed.

More Information: Tamworth Arts and Events

9. The Big Drive-Inn, Northern Ireland

Antrim's coastal road (Shutterstock)

Antrim's coastal road (Shutterstock)

If you’ve reached your Dirty Dancing limit, then The Big Drive-Inn (open until 19 July 2020) has one of summer’s largest selections of films. Take your pick from the creepy Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring to the animation Trolls.

The drive-throughs are based in Antrim, Down and Tyrone in Northern Ireland.Once you’ve pre-booked online, you’ll receive a QR code by email. You can request a handheld bluetooth device to hear the film inside your car, or go retro and wind down your windows to listen to the outdoor speaker system. 


There are also venues in Ireland, in Cavan, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. 

More information: The Big Drive-Inn

10. Rooftop Film Club, London

Alexandra Palace (Shutterstock)

Alexandra Palace (Shutterstock)

As the name suggests, Rooftop Film Club has garnered a reputation for hosting films outdoors in memorable locations. The team is now hosting classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Footloose, as well as If Beale Street Could Talk on a 12m screen at Alexandra Palace, until 31 July.

The Grade II-listed building is perched on a hill in north London, with views of The Shard and Canary Wharf. You must pre-book and show your ticket on your phone. Take a picnic or use a contactless method of payment to buy popcorn, vegan hotdogs and fries from Popdogs – your meal will be delivered to your car by wait staff on skates.

More information: Rooftop Film Club

11. Drive-In Films, throughout England

Stowe Gardens, Buckinghamshire (Shutterstock)

Stowe Gardens, Buckinghamshire (Shutterstock)

While many of the UK’s drive-through cinemas don’t allow alcohol, you can pre-order soft, hot and alcoholic drinks at Drive-In Films at Mickleover Sports Club in Derbyshire, Banbury Rugby Union Club in Oxfordshire and Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire (until 12 September).

Films include modern gems such as the Joker and Rocketman, plus the Tom Hanks classic, Forest Gump. To watch, you'll need to pre-order your drinks and tickets online. On arrival, present your QR code so it can be scanned, then tune your car stereo into a FM signal. Best of all, your drinks will be delivered to your car door. 

More information: Drive-In Films

12. Nightflix, Essex and Nottinghamshire

(Nightflix)

(Nightflix)

Not to be confused with 'Netflix', you have until 29 July 2020 to head to Nightflix in Colchester, Essex or Newark, Nottinghamshire, for the chance to sing-along to La La Land, laugh at Bridesmaids and feel nostalgic watching The Goonies (until 29 July 2020).

Later in the summer, the Newark location will also stage tribute bands (from 15 to 23 August), so you can listen to hits by Elvis, Elton and ABBA through your car's FM radio system.

While all the usual social distancing rules apply – you must pre-buy tickets, show them on your phone at the gate and stay in your car – you’re allowed to dance outside your vehicle at the concerts. You can also stretch your legs when buying food and drink at each venue. Contactless payment is preferred.

More information: Nightflix

13. Drive & Dine Theatre, southern England

Chichester, England (Shutterstock)

Chichester, England (Shutterstock)

The team behind the foodie festival Pub in the Park has created Drive & Dine Theatre (running until 2 August 2020). As well as Syon Park and Selhurst Park in London, the cinema will tour St Albans, Bath, Chichester, Marlow, Tunbridge Wells and Warwick.

The Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge – a regular on TV cooking shows and the man behind Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in Corinthia London – has designed the menu. Pre-order cheeseburgers, burritos and picnics, then tuck in while you watch films ranging from 1917 and Knives Out to the car racing drama Le Mans 66 (Ford v Ferrari).

Comedian Mark Watson will also perform. You'll listen to your chosen entertainment through a wireless speaker on your dashboard, which you collect on arrival. Unfortunately, motorhomes, motorbikes and vans are not permitted.

More information: Drive & Dine Theatre

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