A piece of classic Americana has, in less than a year, become a staple of British life, and we’re not talking about obesity, handguns or vexatious litigation.

The drive-in movie is about as American as being arrested for jay walking and, in normal times, is just as unnecessary, after all London has some of the best luxury cinemas in the world. But these aren’t normal times, so fasten your seatbelt and set the sat-nav for 1950…

Luna Cinema

Luna Cinema would normally be cranking up their summer season of open air gigs around now, mounting their massive screen and putting on some classic movies as we sit on the grass and mingle in groups of more-than-six.

No doubt they’re expecting to bump-start their regular season as the pandemic ebbs away, but meantime there’s something just as good, a drive-in.

With food on tap, great films lined up (it really is a very good line up of classics, from The Goonies to Pulp Fiction to the Lion King), and a scorching summer ahead, there’s every reason to roll up at one of seven fantastic venues.

The list of hosts reads like Burke’s Peerage, with stately homes including Blenheim Palace, Tatton Park, Knebworth House and Harewood House, adding a touch of grandeur to proceedings.

The Alfresco Theatre

As Tom Kerridge hits the road with his Pub in the Park concept, another of his creations will be popping-up as it tours the nation with The Alfresco Theatre.

Bringing a combo of stand-up, theatre, live music and classic films, there’s obviously great food too, courtesy of Tom and his band mates Rick Stein, Jason Atherton, Atul Kochhar and Paul Ainsworth.

London’s Syon Park will be getting a visit from this caravan of culture in June with hit comedians posh Ivo Graham and ventriloquist Nina Conti along with the Bootleg Beatles, the Gruffalo plus films including Bohemian Rhapsody, Ferris Buela’s Day Off and The Greatest Showman.

Tom Kerridge is coming out of lockdown hibernation all guns blazing. Faced with the same social distancing conundrum that the rest of the industry’s grappling with, the chef has ensured he’s first out of the gates when Boris fires the starting pistol by embracing the ultimate COVID-safe dining solution, the Drive-In.

Kerridge’s Pub in the Park concept has been tweaked, and venues secured to bring us the Drive & Dine Theatre. Which basically does exactly what it says on the tin.

The Michelin Starred chef has designed a simple menu perfect for film lovers to enjoy (maple bacon cheeseburgers, a chicken tikka masala plus a five-bean chilli burrito for the vegans).

Rooftop Film Club

While the current laws don’t allow us to be huddled onto rooftops in the traditional Rooftop Film Club fashion, an alternative has been cobbled together. Being on top of London instead.

Rooftop Film Club have taken over the carpark at Ally Pally to create a cinema overlooking London and churning out drive-through classics like Grease (everywhere has Grease!) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as well as Rocketman, Great Gatsby among others.

The Drive In

The Drive In is back at East London’s Troubadour Meridian Water. The Enfield drive in is long on ’50s nostalgia with live actors, classic cinema refreshments, comedy and entertainment.

And, of course, feature films! Which will include current hits like Godzilla vs Kong and Judas and the Black Messiah mixed with classics such as Grease and Bend It Like Beckham.


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