Advice to Somerset House Summer Screen visitors

Somerset House for the last few years has screened some open air movies each summer. Here’s some advice if you’re going.

  • Do arrive 2+ hours before the movie starts when the doors open, as space goes quickly and you’ll want to stake your claim. Have a picnic.
  • Do not bring any glass bottles, they’ll only make you decant it all into plastic cups before entry.
  • Do bring a blanket and some cushions to sit on. There’s no seats, just the stone floor of the courtyard. They sell blankets and cushions at extortionate prices.
  • Do bring plenty of food and drink, otherwise you’ll have to pay extortionate prices at their (cash only) bar.
  • Do get cash out first, if you’re going to give them money. They don’t accept plastic and have no cash machines, and there is no re-admittance.
  • Do get your junk food first and bring it in. Pizza Express, Krispy Kreme and Caffé Nero are all nearby if you crave them, but there is no re-admittance.
  • Do bring umbrellaswaterproofs. This is British Summer – it might rain (or hail!). That would be pretty miserable and I’m not sure I’d stay in that, but bring them anyway!
  • Do bring extra layers of clothing and maybe an extra blanket. Sitting still at night can be cold even in the summer.

We only failed at bit at the last one, having brought only one extra layer of clothing, but it wasn’t too bad. Experience highly recommended!

3 thoughts on “Advice to Somerset House Summer Screen visitors

  1. What about chairs (or indeed wheelchairs)? I know some places ban chairs, but I would certainly need mine, and I’d like my husband to be at the same height so I can talk to him and he can pass me things as and when I need them.

    Do people bring chairs or all sit on the floor? If they bring chairs, how does that affect people sitting behind them – are they good natured or do they grump? What about wheelchairs?

  2. I’ve just realised you said “bring umbrellas”. A lot of venues – while unable to ban them – encourage people to take them down. And the people behind will often complain and ask you to take them down (or try to get a steward to do so). Are you sure umbrellas are welcome? Waterproofs, yes. Brollies? Evil!

  3. No one brought chairs that I could see. They would definitely block the views of people behind them, so they’d probably be asked to not use them.

    So I don’t know what they would do about wheelchairs, but since they would block the view of many people behind them what could they do other than have a dedicated area at the back or sides? I don’t know the answer.

    You’re right about the umbrellas, they would block peoples’ views too, so I’ll edit the article.

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