When: July & August 2018
Where: Sleddale Hall, Lowther Castle and Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, and Hamsterley Forest in County Durham
£: Tickets cost from £15
What is it?
Picnic Cinema has carved out a national cult following for their ‘cinema parties’ over the past six years and are upping the ante with a season of seriously offbeat films for 2018.
Taking picnickers to iconic locations including castles, forests and national trust properties over the years, the golden ticket attraction has to be the screenings of Withnail & I at Sleddale Hall (a.k.a Crow Crag or Uncle Monty’s Cottage), where the classic was filmed near Shap in Cumbria just over 30 years ago.
In 2017, tickets sold out in just 20 minutes, with visitors making the pilgrimage from as far as San Francisco, Italy, Belgium and Ireland. Fans of the film will be glad to hear the proceedings are complete with sherry, cake, fancy dress and the occasional bottle of lighter fluid. The Withnail at Crow Crag event has become one of the most unique cinema experiences in the UK.
Far more than an outdoor cinema, the full Picnic Cinema experience includes dressing up, camping over, and letting your hair down with fun and games before the film, music, dancing and many more surprises.
The 2018 season kicks off with four screenings of Withnail & I (15) at Sleddale Hall on 13th and 14th, and 20th and 21st July. Tickets are always popular, so if you fancy heading along this year, join the Picnic Cinema mailing list for advance notice of when the tickets are due to go on sale.
This year, the cinema will be returning to Hamsterley Forest in County Durham, where picnickers will be sent two miles into the forest for Werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers (15). Dig out your best camo gear, furry hats and fake blood and head into the atmospheric forest, complete with smoke, sound effects and spooky lighting (good job it’s not a full moon).
A visit to Lowther Castle will coincide with Crafty Vintage’s weekend fair on 4th August, with a screening of Sightseers (15). Appropriately set in the looming ruins of Lowther, this dark comedy follows Chris, who shows his girlfriend some of his favourite sights in the north of England. Events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very nasty turn.
Some familiar locations feature in the film, including Keswick’s Pencil Museum, Long Meg and her Daughters, and Honister Slate Mine. Enjoy the Craft and Vintage Market in the day, complete with street food, bar, vintage clothes, and handmade gifts, before pitching tents and dressing up in your finest fair isle jumpers and stick on beards, and knitted lingerie of course…
Picnic Cinema is also returning to the glorious setting of Muncaster Castle on the West Coast of Cumbria on 10th and 11th August, kicking off with The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (15). Be prepared to showcase the very best drag in your wardrobe with glam dresses, feathers and frills, heels, flip-flops and all.
The Saturday promises a more relaxed affair with The Big Lebowski (18). This Coen brothers classic turns 20 this year and has inspired many festivals, conventions and bars around the world. Channel your inner Dude with cardigans, dressing gowns and all out purple.
The Muncaster Castle Weekender boasts two nights of revelry, complete with fun and games, an on site BBQ and café, dancing, and the chance to camp in the grounds of the iconic castle.
If camping isn’t your thing, many of the venues offer the option to upgrade with belle tents provided by Belle Hotel. Turn up to a ready made tent, complete with a range of different furnishing options or try Muncaster Castle’s onsite accommodation at the Coachman’s Quarters.
Picnic Cinema is run by Eden Arts, an arts organisation and charity based in Penrith, Cumbria. All income raised from Picnic Cinema helps support Remote, a Rural Touring Cinema project that enables rural communities to put on cinema screenings in village venues.
More info: picniccinema.co.uk