Your Guide to the UK’s Best Comedy Clubs & Festivals
The UK plays host to some of the best comedy venues in the world. So, for a guaranteed evening of laughs, we’ve narrowed down the UK’s best in comedy from festivals to popular venues in our handy UK comedy guide.
Comedy Clubs in London
When it comes to stand-up in the capital, you’re spoilt for choice; there are comedy clubs dotted all over London, including award-winning venues you simply can’t miss.
In central London, Leicester Square is the place to go if you want to see some top-notch live comedy. Head to the Comedy Store, the Top Secret Comedy Club or the 99 Comedy Club to see popular circuit comics and up and coming talent perform alongside arena-filling names.
Head south to Greenwich for an evening at the popular Up The Creek comedy club. This purpose-built comedy club was set up in the 90s by comic Malcolm Hardee. Catch up and coming acts, open mic nights, and the venue’s Sunday Special where every Sunday night you can enjoy a brilliant line-up of rising stars that are usually compèred by well known UK comedians. The Sunday Special was also voted the UK’s best comedy night by the Guardian.
For a more intimate setting with some quality stand-up, visit Angel Comedy Club North of the capital at one of its two venues: Camden Head pub and the Bill Murray (Islington). Both locations are run by comedians and is crowd-funded but be sure to turn up early as they fill up fast!
Nearby you can also enjoy a night at Downstairs at the King’s Head. Set in the basement of a traditional pub in Crouch End, this 100-capacity venue has hosted performances from some of the country’s most popular comedians.
London Comedy Festivals
Underbelly Festival runs every year from April to September at London South Bank. With lots of great comedy acts, as well as circus, cabaret, and live music performances, it’s not to be missed!
Another great way to spend a day in London is to head to the Greenwich Comedy Festival. The festival runs annually at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich showcasing the best in comedy alongside some delicious gourmet street-food and drinks.
The Balham Comedy Festival is held at The Bedford’s club room via the annual Banana Cabaret comedy show. The festival has featured notable performances from well-known comedians such as Al Murray and Ed Byrne.
Comedy in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is renowned for its comedy as its home to the UK’s most popular comedy festival and a whole host of fantastic venues for new and emerging comedians.
Comedy Clubs in Edinburgh
For a good laugh right at the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, Monkey Barrel Comedy is a must. Located on Blair Street, this 100-capacity comedy venue is one of the most popular in the city, and is open 7 nights a week.
The Stand Comedy Club showcases contemporary comedy from local acts, though it also hosts shows from big-name comics. The club is located on York Place as well as having sister venues in Glasgow and Newcastle.
Don’t Miss the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!
Of course, we couldn’t talk about comedy in Edinburgh without mentioning the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival and, though it’s primarily known for its comedy, there are theatre, dance, cabaret, music and spoken word performances on offer, too. Taking place across 3 weeks in August each year, it’s one of the most popular (and most-visited) festivals out there.
It also presents comedy awards every year, which are amongst the most prestigious in the industry; it’s why many comics spend so much time preparing for their Fringe performances. You’ll find preview shows taking place in cities across the UK in the run up to the Fringe so, if you can’t make your way up to the festival, be sure to check those out.
Comedy Clubs in Glasgow
More of Scotland’s best comedy venues can also be found in the cultural city of Glasgow.
For weekend comedy in Glasgow, head to the Glee Club on Renfrew Street. With live stand-up on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s a great place to get some laughs in after a busy week.
The team behind Rotunda Comedy Club organise the Scottish Comedy Awards and the Scottish, English & Irish Comedian of the Year competitions, so you’re guaranteed a night of laughter with the best of the best. Guests can enjoy a two-hour show every Friday and Saturday night, and dine at the venue’s restaurant and bar.
Located in the city’s main nightlife district of Sauchiehall Street, is where you’ll find weekly comedy on Saturday evenings held in the basement bar of The State Bar. It’s thought to be Glasgow’s oldest comedy club.
Comedy Clubs in Newcastle
Weekly beginner’s night Red Raw at The Stand’s Newcastle venue gives some of the newer faces in comedy a chance to perform. Showcasing emerging talent every Wednesday, it’s a great place to see the comedic stars of tomorrow. Established comedians also perform at the venue; there’s even a bistro bar on the ground floor, so you can really make a night of it when you visit.
O2 City Hall is also another great venue to visit as it attracts a bigger crowd. The venue has hosted some famous faces in comedy over the years, including Jimmy Carr and Jason Manford.
Comedy in Manchester
Manchester is also home to some brilliant long-standing comedy clubs and venues.
Head to the award-winning Frog and Bucket to catch sets from new and established talent. This Manchester institution opened back in 1994 on Newton Street; it’s now located on Oldham Street, on the edge of the Northern Quarter. The venue’s weekly ‘Beat the Frog’ event has become a mainstay for emerging northern comics; Peter Kay, Johnny Vegas and John Bishop all performed at Frog and Bucket early on in their careers.
With stand-up on offer almost every night of the week, The Comedy Store is another surefire if you’re looking for laughs. Located at Deansgate Locks, this vibrant venue also has a spacious bar and fine dining restaurant on-site.
See Up and Coming Comics at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival
The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival is definitely worth visiting too, if you’re into comedy. Taking place across various venues across the city, this local arts festival provides a great opportunity to see a roster of new talent.
Comedy Clubs in Birmingham
The Glee Club is one of Birmingham’s most popular comedy clubs, offering regular stand-up and sets from some of the industry’s most beloved comics.
Just the Tonic Comedy Club, located on Dale End Road, is loved by locals and tourists alike for its buzzing atmosphere and eclectic offering. With sets from TV comics and rising stars, it’s a must-visit for anyone who loves their comedy.
For endless laughs and a good night out, the UK will have you spoilt for choice when it comes to comedy. Whether you’re visiting for a day or are checking out the latest talent at a festival, make sure to secure a stay at one of our many centrally located hotels across the UK.