Somerset House is one of London's biggest cultural centres, housing institutions like the Courtauld Gallery and no shortage of temporary exhibitions and festivals. In the summer, it's also home to a truly exceptional open-air cinema.
The Film4 Summer Screen is set to return to Somerset House in August, transforming an exquisite 18th century courtyard into one of the capital's most luxurious cinematic venues. The 14-night programme should delight filmgoers of all tastes, with a range of classic comedies, thrillers and musicals running alongside more recent fare.
While it's still more than a month away, tickets for screenings are available now and selling out quickly. Those booked into hotel accommodation in London this summer, then, should act quickly if they wish to attend a show or two.
The 2013 Film4 Summer Screen will be headlined by the world premiere of About Time, the new romantic comedy from Four Weddings and a Funeral director Richard Curtis. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, this time-travel caper is eagerly anticipated and it's testament to the Film4 Summer Screen's prestige that the venue's been chosen for the premiere.
Some of the films for which tickets are still available include the 1969 classic Kes – widely considered a landmark of British cinema and the quintessential Ken Loach movie – and Akira Kurosawa's spectacular reimagining of Macbeth, Throne of Blood.
For fans of cinematic opulence on the grandest scale, technicolour marvel The Red Shoes should prove unmissable. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, this is another high water mark of British filmmaking and sure to cast a powerful spell on a balmy summer evening.
The Film4 Summer Screen runs from August 8th to 21st. For evenings on which a single film is shown, the tickets are priced at £14.50 plus booking fees; this rises to £18.50 for double and triple bills.
Somerset House boasts an accessible city-centre location, near to the Embankment, Charing Cross, Covent Garden and Temple tube stops.