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Muddy loves: cinema under the stars

A film with fizz in hand and a warm bed two minutes away felt like a mini-holiday! Love film, love outdoor cinema!

With the sun becoming more of a regular fixture in the sky, I find I want to be outside on those balmy summer evenings. And while loads of us save trips to the pictures for rainy days, the popularity of alfresco cinemas popping up across the UK makes the option of a moonlit movie night very tempting.

Many outdoor screenings these days are really more like festivals with gourmet food and cocktails on offer. And if you look throughout the UK you’ll see they’re hosted at a vast array of stunning venues from palaces and manor houses to themed locations. We’ll be doing a lil’ Muddy Northants Outdoor Cinema Guide in the not too distant but first up, me and some of the Muddy famille hot-footed it over to Highgate House as soon as we heard they were playing Mamma Mia (a perennial fave of Mini Mudlets).

Highgate House is renowned for the gorgeous main building, sumptuous grounds and delicious food, but what it’s not so well known for is the big blow up screen which is pretty impressive and as you can see, very inviting to folk to set up a pitch.

There are various options on tickets. These VIP big inflatable sofa/armchairs with blanket come with BBQ included (Burger, Chips & Salad) and a glass of Prosecco all for £22.50pp. I wanted these sooooooo badly, but so popular are these bouncy chairs of comfiness they were all sold out! General tickets were still on sale though, and at £12.50pp (plus £5 for the BBQ, it was still pretty good value, with under 15’s for £8.50pp).

People rock up with blankets, pillows and even novels (I saw one woman having an evening on her own, Prosecco and magazines in hand, two hours before the film started and she looked happy as Larry). You can’t take booze or food in, but at £5 for a pretty decent BBQ, no one seemed too bothered. The red bus is a bar and there was also a Prosecco and popcorn stand…what more could one want for an evening?!

These kind of events really are for anyone. There were couples having a romantic tete a tete, groups of friends having a giggle and like us, families who could have a late night together all in the safety of these gorgeous grounds.

It’s worth noting that even when the weather is boiling (which it had been), when that sun goes down, brrrrrrrrrrrrr! They can’t show the film until the sun has fully set, so if you have very littlies be aware it can go on to nearish midnight, so definitely take layers, and even a blankie, although Highgate do have some on offer.

We had made the GENIOUS decision to make a night of it and stay over, so as soon as the credits were up, we were metres from our cozy room and tucked up with a hot chocolate. With bed & breakfast for only £75 per room, it meant we could both have a drink on the evening and be fed like Queens the next morning; it really was a no brainer. Our family room was spacious, stylish, comfy and super clean, and it felt like we were having a proper break away from domesticity! I should have done my homework on the facilities as there is a pool and tennis court which we could have taken advantage of, but hey, there’s always next time

All in all I couldn’t fault our trip and one thing I really loved was how friendly the staff were (it’s a little Muddy test I have – especially in smart establishments – it doesn’t cost to smile). The chef was a hoot frying up his massive pan of onions, the manager (a fellow Welshie) was extremely friendly and keen to hear feedback from everyone, and all those working on the stands had a huge smile. I guess being outside on a balmy summer’s evening will do that to you – so go on Muddies, I reckon you should give Cinema Under The Stars a try!

Grease is showing at Highgate House on Friday 14 July.

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