Before my husband and I spent our days arsing around at food and music festivals, our favourite place to go for larks was a dingy room off the Royal Mile.
Specifically the Edinburgh Festival (or rather the Fringe part of it), where we'd deliberately sit in the front row to heckle and be heckled by people like Stewart Lee and Richard Herring, Paul Foot and Dan Antopolski, Daniel Kitson and Simon Munnery, Chris Addison and Greg Davis (aka Fat Rik Mayall aka the teacher from the Inbetweeners).
As slightly arrogant comedy purists, we only went for stand-up gigs, the dark stage lit by a microphone and a sardonic grin. Unfortunately, this stupid policy saw us pass up the opportunity to see the first UK shows of both Flight of the Conchords and The Mighty Boosh, reluctant to spend a tenner on something as shonky-sounding as "musical comedy". Such hubris meant we ended up spending a great deal more on their recent tours.
Though all the venues looked much the same inside, the outsides were a different matter. The exalted Assembly Rooms, the courtyard of the Pleasance, the edgy Gilded Balloon (RIP) and of course the inflatable upside-down purple cow known as the Udderbelly.
Some of you may have noticed that said purple cow has landed on its back at the Southbank Centre, next to the London Eye. The E4 Udderbelly Festival is where many of this year's comedy acts are previewing their Edinburgh shows.
Just outside the cow is the Magners Pasture, a 1000+ capacity beer garden with table service, food, and pub games like giant Connect 4.
Entry to the Pasture is free, and the signature drink is Magners Golden Draught – a new cider from Magners crafted using Dabinett apples which give it a crisper taste and lighter colour than Magners original. They've also got pear cider (cough, perry) which personally I prefer, as well as your standard pub drinks.
If you do like the Golden Draught, every pint you buy comes with a token to let you have a go on the Magners UFO catcher and win stuff like iPads (or at least another pint).
There's a bookable VIP bar called the Golden Barrel which has table football, self-service Golden Draught tables, and fancy chairs which cradle your bum in a slightly disturbing manner, but the main section of the Pasture has nice trestle tables and parasols, and even TV screens showing summer events such as Wimbledon.
The Magners Pasture is at South Bank until the end of the E4 Udderbelly Festival on 17th July.
Although you don’t need a ticket to an Udderbelly show to enjoy the Magners Pasture, you can get tickets at the box office there, or in advance at www.udderbelly.co.uk.
You can also win tickets to shows at www.facebook.com/Magnerscider
Book the Golden Barrel VIP bar by contacting email@example.com