Summer film festivals

David Gritten / 02 February 2016 ( 30 June 2017 )

Summer film festivals offer grown-up alternatives to blockbusters and superhero movies. Here's our pick of the best film festivals in the UK.

Summer Nights Festival, various locations

An inspired idea, this, screening contemporary and classic films in the sumptuous grounds of eight stately homes or heritage sites including Kedleston Hall and Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire and Norfolk’s Blickling Estate for two or three nights at each site.

This year’s film line-up includes popular classics such as Ghost, Dirty Dancing and Breakfast at Tiffany's to recent blockbusters such as La La Land and Fantastic Beasts.

July 14 to September 16, 2017. Details from

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Film4 Summer Screen, Somerset House, London

In just a decade, this has become Britain’s most popular outdoor film festival. You sit under the stars in the magnificent neo-classical courtyard of Somerset House and watch new or classic films. Audiences sit or sprawl on blankets and pillows, and bring picnics. It’s a glorious place to be as the sun gradually sets.

Films showing at Somerset House this year include Moonlight, Hollywood classic The Philadelphia Story and Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Toro.

August 10-23, 2017.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

From modest beginnings, this festival of mostly documentary films has become a magnet for film-makers and audience throughout Britain and from abroad. It’s a buzzy, exciting place to be, and many of the films being screened will feel urgent, impassioned and relevant to today’s world.

Doc/Fest also specialises in excellent post-screening talks and Q&As with film-makers. 

June 9-14, 2017. Full programme at

Edinburgh International Film Festival

This annual film festival celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and it is sure to include the most exciting and innovative new film talent around. One of this year's highlights will be Oliver Stone introducing Wall Street

June 21 - July 2, 2017. Find out more at

Rooftop Film Club

This outdoor festival in the capital allows you to experience classic, cult and recent film releases at the coolest of locations – on four of London’s finest rooftops in Shoreditch, Stratford, Kensington and Peckham Rye.

Sit back and relax in these unique urban environments and watch your favourite movie on the big screen as (hopefully) the warm summer nights descend. Throw in the comfy chairs, fabulous food, cold drinks – and what else do you need for the perfect cinematic experience?

Film-wise, there’s something for everyone. This year’s programme includes classics such as Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany's and 80s classics Top Gun and When Harry Met Sally to recent hits such as La La Land.

May – September, 2017.

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