Summery films Crazy RIch asians La La Land

15 summery films that will make you feel like you’re on holiday

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From the dreamy Singapore location of Crazy Rich Asians to the holiday romance vibes of Dirty Dancing, watch any of these and let yourself drift away to a vacation state of mind.

Summer is in full swing – for better or for worse, when it comes to British weather and certain pandemic-related restrictions. 

But never fear, there are other ways to get your escapism kicks. Hollywood has been kind enough to provide us with many different portals into the magic of summer travel, delivering the holiday vibes that we so sorely crave this time of year.

Whether it’s a hot romance that you’re hankering after or a bonkers trip with a friend, we’ve pulled together the best movies to watch that will make you feel like you’re off to a new destination.

Here are 15 of our top cinematic recommendations for holiday bliss.


One of the most precious throwback movies of the 00s, Crossroads tells the story of three friends who take a road trip across the USA. 

Starring Britney Spears (!) and written by Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes, this film is the absolute epitome of a coming-of-age story, with the added magic of being set on the road. Strap in for holiday nostalgia, tears and friendship goals.

La La Land

It’s difficult to think of a summery film more dreamy than a Damien Chazelle (think Whiplash and First Man) musical set in Tinsel Town itself. If you haven’t seen it before, it follows the story of Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who fall in love while trying to make their dreams come true in Hollywood.

With the perpetual sunshine, the catchy jazz-esque soundtrack and the swooning romance – this musical treat will transport you far away from home. 

la la land

Lost In Translation 

A chance meeting in Tokyo leads to an unlikely friendship between a burned out actor (Bill Murray) and a lost young woman (Scarlett Johansson). It manages to encapsulate all the wonderment, unpredictability and catharsis that can come with a really good trip away – particularly if you can find yourself in the process.

The Darjeeling Limited

A Wes Anderson favourite: three brothers take a trip across India by train and start to wonder about their relationships with each other and whether anything can be done to build their bond. Stunning scenery, heart-warming sentiment.

Girls Trip

Starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall, this one is a delightful tale of debauchery. We head on a trip to a New Orleans festival with a group of long-time friends as they attempt to reclaim their party-going days and rekindle their inseparable friendships.

The Notebook

What started as a boy-meets-girl summer romance between Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) unfolds into something much more lifelong. A tearjerker and a summer classic all wrapped into one, the film follows the story of the couple as they realise that you can’t outrun love. 

Call Me By Your Name

The beautiful cinematic adaptation of André Aciman will transport you straight to the piazzas of Italy, as two men – one young, one older – grapple with their feelings for each other over one stifling summer. Starting Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Hardworking stockbroker Stella takes a much-recommended first-class holiday to Jamaica, and is forced to re-evaluate her life and priorities when she embarks on a steamy romance while she’s away.

We are jealous of these exciting developments left, right and centre.

Eat Pray Love

Adapted from the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert and starring Julia Roberts, we follow the protagonist on an enviable expedition to Italy, India and Bali. From sampling the tastiest of pizzas in Rome to meditating her post-divorce woes away in a yoga ashram – this film gives us plenty of escapism, as well as inspiration for our next trip overseas.

Mamma Mia

What feels more summery and symbolic of an escape to paradise than Hollywood actors and actresses cavorting around, singing Abba classics against a beautiful backdrop of a Greek island?

Starring the one and only Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth (to name a few), we are absolutely living vicariously through their beach frolicking, boat sailing and Greek taverna frequenting.

Mamma Mia

The Talented Mr Ripley

Set on the beautiful Italian coast, the tense story of an underachieving young man (Matt Damon) who sets out to steal everything a spoiled playboy (Jude Law) has unfolds over a beautiful summer holiday.

It’s stylish, it’s full of suspense and full of panoramic views of the coastal towns surrounding Naples. What more could you want for your travel fantasies?

The Beach

Based on the novel of the same name by Alex Garland, The Beach follows a solo backpacker’s discovery of an idyllic Thai island untouched by tourism. But the community living there may not be all it seems.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in his youthful prime, the gorgeous views of Koh Phi Phi island and the crystal blue ocean is enough to make you want to book a one-way ticket to a far off destination. One day!

Crazy Rich Asians

A young couple travel from New York to Singapore for a wedding, but there’s one hitch – Nick Young (Henry Golding) never told his girlfriend Rachel (Constance Wu) that he’s a member of one of the most fabulously (but no less dysfunctional) wealthy families in the continent.

Singapore is a stunning setting, as are the opulent parties and the amazing fashion. You’ll be adding the city to your list of holiday destinations before you know it.

Henry Golding and Constance Wu embrace in the poster for Crazy Rich Asians

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

A nostalgic treat for all Disney Channel and Hilary Duff fans, we follow lovable high schooler Lizzie McGuire and her class on a school trip to Rome.

As if a movie set in the Eternal City isn’t enough, Lizzie begins a love affair with an internationally famous singer (because of course) and is seen riding around on a Vespa for most of the film. We quite literally love to see it.

Dirty Dancing

An absolute classic. Baby (Jennifer Grey) falls in love with a handsome dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) while spending her summer at a holiday camp in Upstate New York.

It’s the holiday romance we’ve all always wanted, not to mention the iconic soundtrack and dance moves.

Images: Warner Bros/Rex Features

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