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29th May 2018

I went to my first open air cinema and “had the time of my life”

Will Lavin

“Come here, lover boy”

If you’re like me then you’ll understand that you reach a certain stage in life where going out clubbing and doing the same old thing week in, week out gets a little boring, in fact it becomes monotonous. And up until that point you think going out and having a drink and hitting the club scene is the only thing to do to entertain yourself of an evening, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Sure, sometimes it’s a struggle to think outside of the box when looking to do something on the fly but I discovered this past weekend that there’s more to a Friday night than a trip to Wetherspoons, a night of dancing (or attempting to at least) in your local club, followed by a kebab on the way home.

Have you ever been to an open air cinema? Okay, so maybe you have but what about one in the grounds of a castle? At a racecourse? At an RAF museum? In an Abbey?

Sounds cool, right? That’s because it is.

As a newbie to this sort of thing, when I ventured over to Osterley Park and House for my first open air cinema experience, courtesy of the good people at The Luna Cinema, let’s just say I was a little unprepared. I didn’t realise you needed chairs, or blankets, or pillows, or even food and drink. I just rocked up with my guest and we proceeded to sit on the grass looking like open air amateurs while everyone around us had picnic blankets, full on duvets, bottles of wine and treasure troves of food parcels.

Luckily for us, The Luna Cinema had us covered. With seats you can rent, blankets you can buy, and offering a pizza cabin and fully stocked bar, they thought of everything.

But forget the mini community inside the cinema grounds that felt like something straight out of an American teen sitcom for a moment, the walk to the screen well and truly set the tone for the evening.

Once we’d driven into Osterley Park and House we found ourselves in a scene straight from Downton Abbey – it was beautiful. Walking the nature trails buzzing with active wildlife and past beautiful lakes sun kissed with the reflection of the evening’s summer sunset and then ending up at the screen with the Osterley mansion providing a stunning backdrop, we knew we were about to experience something very unique.

Getting some eighties action in, our screening was of the classic Dirty Dancing (come on fellas, admit it, it’s a great movie). So naturally we were excited to hear the superb soundtrack bellow out across the park, as was everyone else, so much so that when the movie started there were many in attendance who were stood up dancing, tapping their feet or clapping along to “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes the second it kicked in.

Whether it was the “oohs” from those reminded of how attractive Patrick Swayze was in his prime, or the contagious laughing from those experiencing the movie’s cheesiness for the first time, we felt like we were a part of something, a community, a camp, whatever you want to call it. We just knew it was a very different experience from sitting in a movie theatre in the dark too afraid to make a sound fearing someone in front of you might turn around and shush you.

Sitting under the stars watching a familiar movie full of laughs, love, dancing and a killer soundtrack beats being behind the velvet rope of a club’s VIP complete with bottle service and sparklers any day of the week.

So if you’re looking for something to do over the summer that involves both the outdoors and film then you might want to check out The Luna Cinema listings and see what they’ve got coming up. With everything from Blade Runner at Greenwich Park and Bridesmaids at Ascot Racecourse to West Side Story at Waddesdon Manor and The Italian Job with full orchestra at Opera Holland Park, there’s a lot to choose from.

Talk about having “the time of my life.”

View The Luna Cinema full listings here.