It’s The Summer Of The Drive-In Cinema | Kidadl


It’s The Summer Of The Drive-In Cinema

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Are you ready for a family outing that isn't a walk or a trip to the supermarket?

If you've worked your way through Netflix, and you are getting a little tired of your DVD collection- you might be starting to wonder if you can head to the cinema yet for a change of scenery and a bit of loudspeaker action! Well, cinemas are allowed to reopen very soon, but for those of us who would still like to keep a bit of distance- how about checking out a movie from the safety and comfort of your own car?!

Open-air and drive-in cinemas have been around in the UK for a while, but now as life starts to slowly move on post-lockdown, there has never been a better time for finding new ways to have some socially distant fun.

The first ever partial drive-in theatre 'Theatre de Guadalupe' opened in New Mexico in 1915, but sadly didn't stay open for long, it wasn't until the 1950s that drive-in movie theatres really began to take off. Rural areas in America caught onto the idea quickly and they began popping up everywhere, a cheaper alternative to driving into the city to see the latest films and a fun way to spend time with friends and family too. Due to the rise of televisions in the home, drive-in theatres experienced a huge decline from the 1970s onward. However- they are back, and with modern technology mixed with some retro vibes, they are set to be more popular than ever!

Drive-In Cinema

What Is A Drive-In Cinema?

Drive-in cinema is a way to enjoy the latest movies and classic films, all from your car- in the open air! Generally, you will drive up to a ticket office, have your tickets scanned by staff in PPE, in a socially distant way. You will be given all the information about how to hear the movie, how to order snacks, and what to do in an emergency. You will then be directed to a parking space with a great view of the truly huge LED screens.

How Will We Hear The Movie?

Drive-in cinema has come a long way since the days of winding your windows down to hear the sound, the cinemas we have found will give you either a speaker to have in your car, and return at the end- or their own FM radio channel that you simply tune your car radio into.

What Does It Cost?

These movies can work out as much better value than a regular cinema trip, they often charge for the car as opposed to each person; for example, 'The Drive In' charge per car, and there is no limit to how many people as long as each person has their own seat. Snacks wise, many places let you take your own, but all have options for reasonably priced in-car ordering, where the food is dropped straight to your bonnet- no contact, and you can pay via an app- kind of futuristic?!

These movies can work out as much better value

Where And When Can We Go?

We have selected a round-up of some amazing drive-in cinema venues, screening not only some of the latest blockbusters but also showing some absolute classics! All of the venues below are practising social distancing, safety is a massive priority and your experience will only be enhanced by knowing you are protected. Please be sure to take the necessary precautions, such as bringing hand sanitiser to have in the car, and a mask for if you take a trip to the toilets. All of the below drive-in cinemas are opening in July, just in time for a wonderful summer. Venturing out for anything non-essential post lockdown can feel a bit stressful, but this is a perfect way to try something new without compromising your safety.


Aldenham Country Park, Elstree, Hertfordshire

Aldenham Country Park -- a long-standing favourite for families -- has a new attraction for the age of coronavirus. The Carview-20 drive-in specialises in family favourites, vintage classics and the biggest blockbuster movies. American diner-style refreshments can be delivered contact-less to your door, and sound is played straight through your FM radio for the most seamless cinema experience at just £32 per car.

ET (U)

Home Alone (PG)

Incredibles 2 (PG)

Despicable Me 3 (PG)

The Drive In

Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, London

Open from the 4th of July, The Drive In is fully embracing the 1950's with their approach to the drive in experience (only the good bits though, no smoking!) Tickets are £40.25 per car, and all parking spaces are at least 2 meters apart, safety is of utmost importance. With a licensed bar and food stalls, all supplying amazing movie snacks you will be spoilt for choice at The Drive In, refreshments will be brought right up to your car totally contact-free as you pay online. Sound is played through your FM radio, if you don't have a car radio, a portable radio works too!

There are early showings you can take the little ones to, then later on if you have older ones you can have a slightly more grown-up evening and take them to see Bladerunner or Dirty Dancing!  These are the movies you will soon be able to see at The Drive In:

Mary Poppins (U)

Paddington (U)

Peter Rabbit (PG)

Sonic the Hedgehog (PG)

Back to the Future (PG)

Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again (PG)

Mrs Doubtfire (PG)

Grease (PG)

Jumanji: The Next Level (12A)

The Goonies (12A)

Knives Out (12A)

Moulin Rouge (12A)

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (15)

Rocketman (15)

The Shawshank Redemption (15)

1917 (15)

Blade Runner (15)

Dirty Dancing (15)

Bridesmaids (15)

Bad Boys For Life (15)

The Drive In Club

Stadium Road car Park, Brent Cross Shopping Centre, London

This drive-in is handily located off the North Circular and close to the M1, so should be easy to get to for families in north London. As with other drive-ins, you can watch from the comfort of your car, or use a socially distanced area beside your alotted space. Food and drink services are available, and sound is pumped in via FM radio. Shows include:

Zootropois (PG)

Dick and Dom


The Luna Drive In

Locations in, North London, East London, Oxford, Midlands, Hertfordshire, Leeds and Cheshire

You may already be familiar with The Luna Cinema, they have been the pioneers of the UK pop up cinema scene for the last 12 years. However, they have now expanded to include a drive-in option, whereas before you would be seated on picnic blankets and outdoor seating, you can now enjoy the same fantastic Luna experience the socially distant way, from your car!

Here are just some of the movies you will be able to catch at The Luna Drive in from the 21st July, there are some absolute classics to introduce the kids to- can you imagine seeing Labyrinth for the first time on the silver screen?

Happy Feet (U)

The Little Mermaid (U)

Labyrinth (U)

Aladdin (PG)

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (PG)

Jurassic Park (PG)

The Devil Wears Prada (PG)

Grease- Singalong! (PG)

Back to the Future (PG)

The Goonies (12A)

Ferris Buellers Day Off (12A)

La La Land (12A)

Romeo and Juliet (Baz Lurhmann 1996 version) (12)

Joker (15)

Dirty Dancing (15)

Rocket Man - Singalong! (15)

The Rooftop Film Club - Drive In Film Club

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London

The cool film types at The Rooftop Film Club are opening up a drive-in venue too, showing a mix of new releases and classic films. With a 40-foot screen and sound played through your car radio, this is sure to be an excellent drive-in experience. Great news if you are taking the whole family- they don't mind if you bring your own snacks! But if you fancy a treat, American and Pan-Asian fusion 'Popdog' have supplied an awesome menu. All the social distancing protocols will be respected, so this is another great option for a socially distant cinema experience.

Here are just a few of the amazing films The Rooftop Film Club will be screening from the 4th of July:

Up (U)

Trolls (U)

Sing (U)

The Incredibles (U)

E.T The Extra-Terrestrial (U)

Mary Poppins Returns (U)

Spies in Disguise (PG)

Toy Story (PG)

Black Panther (12A)

Captain Marvel (12A)

Mean Girls (12A)

The Goonies (12)

10 Things I Hate About You (12)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)

Written By
Amy Lines

Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!

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