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Outdoor Films @ Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
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It Will Be a Pleasure to Watch Free Films at Vauxhall
We may not be blessed with the most reliable of climates in the UK, but that doesn't prevent a proliferation of outdoor pop up cinemas from appearing in London. Among the offerings from Luna Cinemas this summer are two screenings at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

The original Pleasure Gardens, which opened in 1661 and finally closed in 1859, were one of a triumvirate of gardens, the other two being Marylebone and Ranelagh in Chelsea. In their heyday, visitors to Vauxhall would be entertained by musicians and dancers, watch firework displays, dine in the supper boxes and get tiddly on the Arrack Punch, which is described in Thackeray's Vanity Fair. The garden was also known to attract rogues and gentry, royalty and ladies of the night.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Canaletto's 1751 Painting of The Grand Walk (Image courtesy of

Entrance to the tree-lined walkways and other attractions was free when Vauxhall could only be reached by boat. Nowadays you can get there easily by tube, but entrance to the two films is still free. There will be no supper boxes for fine dining, but the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and local cafes and restaurants will be serving food, The Tea House Theatre will be selling picnic hampers, and film-goers will also be able to supply their own al fresco catering.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens Summer Screen (Image courtesy of

The films to be screened will be Mama Mia on 23 May and Searching for Sugar Man on 13 June. If you can't get to either of these, keep an eye on the Luna Cinema's website for other outdoor film shows.
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Why? To enjoy films in the open
When: 23 May and 13 June at 8.30pm
Where: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Cost: Free
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