Longer days, warmer weather and a little more sunshine might be just what you need to put a spring in your step.

Indeed, research has shown that sunlight can boost the level of serotonin – the “happy hormone” – in our bodies. But, if your next holiday is some way off and the weather forecast looks far from inviting in your corner of the UK, how could you benefit from the potential feel-good effects of summer?

Happily, we know just how to help.

Sit back, relax, and maybe turn the heating up a notch, while enjoying these classic sun-drenched films.

Mamma Mia

This smash-hit musical is set on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, although most of the filming took place on the beautiful island of Skopelos.

Indeed, the setting is as much of a character as the main protagonists. From white-washed hilltop villages and sandy coves to dazzling blue waters glistening in the sunshine, the idyllic backdrop makes this a perfect choice if you’re hankering for sun, sea, and sand.

The story centres around fun-loving and hardworking Donna (Meryl Streep), who is busy preparing her somewhat rundown Greek hotel for her daughter, Sophie’s, wedding reception.

Donna, the former lead singer of “Donna and the Dynamos” delights in welcoming two of her oldest friends, and former backing singers, to the island. However, little does she know that Sophie – who is desperate to be walked down the aisle in the traditional style – has invited three men she thinks could be her father to the wedding.

As inevitable farce and comical misunderstandings ensue, the characters sing and dance their way through an infectious playlist of hit ABBA songs.

The combination of familiar, sing-along tunes and sun-filled settings creates an irresistibly feel-good summer extravaganza. What’s more, if you love Mamma Mia, there’s a sequel to enjoy too!

Roman Holiday

Unsurprisingly, this Audrey Hepburn classic is set in Italy’s sumptuous capital city, Rome. As Princess Ann (Hepburn) cycles through the city streets and eats ice cream on the stairs of the Piazza di Spagna, you’ll forget the weather outside and be absorbed by feelings of summer and sunshine.

The plotline offers a healthy dose of comedy and romance. At the start of the film, we meet Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), a frustrated reporter who is on the verge of getting fired. When he happens upon a woman asleep on a park bench, he plays the gentleman and returns her safely to her apartment.

The next day, when Joe realises that the sleeping beauty was none other than Princess Ann, he bets his editor that he can get an exclusive interview with her, in a bid to save his job.

No spoilers here, but we suspect you can guess where this leads…

The Before trilogy

If you’re feeling impatient for summer holidays abroad, here’s a triple dose of cinematic sunshine and travel, spanning Vienna, Paris, and the Peloponnese coast in Greece.

Starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, the Before trilogy chronicles the romantic relationship between Jesse (Hawke) and Céline (Delpy) during three periods of their lives.

In Before Sunrise, American student Jesse meets French student Céline on a train to Vienna. They spend the night walking the city streets and fall in love, but their future looks uncertain. Before Sunset and Before Midnight pick up the love story at nine-year intervals.

You’ll have to watch the trilogy to find out what happens. There are also rumours of a fourth Before film, so there may be more sun-drenched escapism to come.


This 1978 blockbuster is probably one of the most well-known and loved musicals. Indeed, it was the highest-grossing musical at the time.

Set in the summer of 1958, Grease opens with Danny and Sandy falling in love against a backdrop of golden sand, crashing waves and blistering sunshine. The soundtrack even includes a song titled ‘Summer Nights’.

Of course, the path of true love rarely runs smoothly. So, when the couple reunites at the start of their senior term at Rydell High School, Danny struggles to balance his feelings for nerdy, goody-two-shoes Sandy with his reputation as Mr Cool.

Along with their friends, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds, the pair battle with the pressures of high school and being teenagers, while trying to find a way forward as a couple.

It’s a dazzling spectacle of colour and song – the soundtrack was the second best-selling album in the United States at the end of 1978. There’s also plenty of vintage 1950s clothing, cars, and set-pieces to enjoy.

Under the Tuscan Sun

The sunshine is baked right into the title of this heart-warming romantic comedy.

Frances Mayer (Diane Lane) is a 35-year-old writer from San Francisco. When she gets divorced, Frances relocates to Tuscany in the hope of banishing her writer’s block and starting a new life.

The small town of Cortona provides a charming setting for this summer tale of new beginnings, friendship and love.

Lane’s performance earned her a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Actress and the film is much loved by fans of romantic comedy.

Get in touch

Now that you’re feeling sunny, bright, and energised, it’s an ideal time to get your finances in order and boost your savings for your next summer getaway.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you create a financial plan tailored to your specific needs, please email us at hello@intelligentpensions.com or call 0800 077 8807.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.