Where to find the funny this week

TONIGHT – see the Festival of the Spoken Nerd at West London venue Ginglik with guests Tiffany Stevenson, Colin Wright and Alexander Allmont. The theme is games, so dig out your best Lego / Commodore 64 / Mario t-shirt.  Tickets are £8 and the show starts at 8pm.

On Wednesday, head to the Soho Theatre to see rising star Josh Widdicombe live This is the show that got him nominated for Best Newcomer at Edinburgh last year.  Show starts at 7pm, tickets from £10.

The N20 Comedy Festival continues in Clapham Junction on Thursday. Tom Adams and his whimsical songs starts at 8pm (£10 / £8), and Tom Deacon tries out his new show at 10pm (£12 / £10).


The Cartoonists Who Captured the Queen: On Display in Bloomsbury

It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, and London is preparing a year-long celebration to honour the fact.

The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury is playing its part with an exhibition of 60 years of unofficial portraits of the Queen and the rest of the Royal family as they appeared in the British press.

Telegraph writer Charles Spencer says,

The cartoonists range from Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator E. H. Shepard, with his coy, cloying drawing of cute little fairies wishing the then Princess Elizabeth health, happiness and prosperity on her 21st birthday, to far harsher caricatures by the likes of Ralph Steadman and Spitting Image creators Fluck and Law. But even in the knockabout world of cartoons, the great majority of the exhibits seem to convey affection for the monarch who has reigned over us for so long – though the likes of Princess Margaret, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Edward escape less lightly.

Things To Do With The Kids Next Week

It’s half term in London next week, which means that the kids are off school and there are extra activities running to keep them entertained.  Which is lucky if you are also visiting with children over the next few days!

  • The Imagine Children’s Festival runs 10-26 February at the Southbank Centre with all sorts of events: storytelling, music, crafts and a funfair. Children run the festival and perform at the same time (some events for free, check the website for details).
  • The Selfridges Pop-Up Library will feature authors reading from their books throughout the week (free).
  • From Tuesday to Friday kids can create amazing animations, crazy container puppets, clay pots and candle holders at the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton
  • This is also a great time to visit one of London’s city farms. Vauxhall City Farm (free) has the most on this week, but other farms exist in Camden and Hoxton.
  • Create fantastical landscapes and build a telescope with artist Dawn Smithers at Orleans House Gallery in Richmond, 10am-3pm Thursday (£25).
  • Are your kids animal lvoers?  Take them to the Grant Museum of Zoology from 1-5pm, all week, and investigate nature’s best inventions (free).
  • If they’re more into adventure, visit the helicopters at the RAF Museum in Hendon between 13-17 February.  Session times are 11am-1pm and 2-4pm (free).
  • Clapham Common Funfair is open all week from 12-10pm (£1 per ride with special charity wristband).
  • Feed crocs, piranhas and primates every day this week at 1pm at the Tropical Zoo – quick, before they move to another location (£7.50 for adults, 6.50 for kids).

Top names to appear at first ever Guardian ‘Open Weekend’

The Guardian today announced that it will be holding its first ever ‘Open Weekend‘ in March, opening up its doors to thousands of members of the public across two days.

Joining Guardian editors, writers and columnists will be speakers from all over the world – including Egypt, Pakistan, the US and India – who will be taking part in the festival during the weekend of 24 and 25 March in and around the Guardian’s offices in King’s Cross, London – just down the road from the Judd Hotel in Bloomsbury.

Among those taking part are authors Ian McEwan, Robert Harris, Jeanette Winterson, Alain de Botton, Kamila Shamsie and Adhaf Soueif, the economist Jeff Sachs, the director Steve McQueen, the playwright David Hare, artists Grayson Perry and Jeremy Deller, broadcaster Jon Snow and politicians David Miliband, Tom Watson, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas, Tristram Hunt and Chris Huhne.


Day and weekend passes are available to purchase at guardian.co.uk/openweekend.

Saturday day pass: £40
Sunday day pass: £30
Weekend pass: £60

J-Pop in London at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes

Many visitors to London opt for a Bloomsbury Bed and Breakfast because of the easy access to nightlife, and as a 24 hour city, many night owls are just looking for a base when they visit the city for a party weekender.

Ever at the cutting-edge of trendy new music, the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in Russell Square has started running a J-pop (Japanese pop) night.

Japan Underground boasts live bands and music from top J-Pop and J-Rock DJs. The launch night, themed on the cult Samurai fighting game Sengoku Basara, sold out and the venue’s next night, on February 4, is set to be a Japanese tribute to the best of the West – with a full DJ set of remixed dance-floor hits and a Queen cover band.


Read more about it here.

London Comedy Film Festival

The last weekend in January sees the London Comedy Film Festival hit BFI Southbank.

Over four days at BFI Southbank LoCo’s first London Comedy Film Festival will champion the craft of comedy film-making with an array of previews, classics, masterclasses and parties. With help from on-screen greats ranging from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Kermit, Fozzie and Animal, and with films ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to independent, international films, LoCo’s comedy film festival will be sure to blow those blues away.

For more information visit: www.locofilmfestival.com

Where to Celebrate Burns Night in London

The 25th of January sees the annual celebration of the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. It’s a fairly big deal across the UK, and there are several places in London to enjoy the event.

The Ceilidh Club runs a string of Burns Night ceilidhs at Hammersmith Town Hall on 20, 21, 27, 28 January and 4 February. Expect a full dinner, regional whiskey, and dancing events. Tickets £13-25

Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library will host a ‘pre-Burns Night Party‘ on Monday 23 January.  The event is completely free and starts at 7pm.

The most Scottish pub in London, the Rob Roy at Paddington will celebrate with bagpipes at 7pm and haggis.

In London before the 25th?  The Boisdale restaurants in Belgravia, Bishopsgate and Canary Wharf are celebrating early with a Burns Celebration on Monday 16 January.


Step into the past at the Volupté Lounge

Volupté is a world of decadence and delight – a place to escape, unwind and be entertained.  With decadent cocktails, swing bands, burlesque dancers, and afternoon teas, the venue – open for lunch and dinner – brings vintage glamour to Bloomsbury’s borders.

The Volupte Lounge is just a 7 minute walk through Bloomsbury from the Judd Hotel. The nearest tube is Chancery Lane.

For more information, visit: http://www.volupte-lounge.com/

Travel over Christmas and New Year

Visitors to London around the Festive period can get caught up in the temporary timetable and fare changes that take over Transport for London, so we thought it would be a good idea to post the information here for anyone coming to say at the Judd Hotel.

To plan your quickest way around London over Christmas and New Year, use Journey Planner.

On New Year’s Eve you can travel between 11.45pm and 4.30am on the bus, tube, tram, and DLR for free.  The same will apply to any London overground services running after 11.45pm.

There will be a reduced service on all modes of transport on Bank Holidays during the festive period.  Bear this in mind when buying weekly or season tickets.

Always use a licensed minicab or a taxi (black cab) to ensure your journey is legal and safe. Text CAB to 60835* to get three local cab numbers.

There will be an extra charge of £4 for black cab journeys between 20:00 on 24 December and 06:00 on 27 December, and between 20:00 on 31 December and 06:00 on 2 January.

Cycle Hire
Not all docks will be in use during this period.  Vew the docking station status page for more information

Download a full TFL festive travel leaflet here.