Traditionally for adults, there’s now a small, but growing number of hip family membership spaces in London where kids are the primary members. Wave goodbye to chilly church halls and overcrowded soft play as these family members’ clubs have it all. Beautiful creative and inspiring play spaces for children, organic food, scheduled exercise and mindfulness – but, one thing they all have in common – the surroundings also appeal to grown-ups too.
In London especially, it seems parents (and kids) absolutely love the celebration of family, community and spending quality time together (rather than using as just a babysitting service) that a private members’ club experience provides. Plus, you’ll never have to look for another destination for your child’s birthday party again!
Here our pick of the best family members’ clubs in London you’ll wish you’d joined already (or, at least put your name down on the waiting list!)…
FOR THOSE SEEKING WELLNESS: Cloud Twelve, Notting Hill
Describing itself as a “one-of-a-kind wellness and lifestyle club”, Cloud Twelve lies in the heart of Notting Hill. Over three floors you’ll find an interactive play and learn zone for families, on-site spa, salon, nutritionally focused plant-based organic brasserie (open to non-members as well) and a holistic wellness clinic (specialising in everything from ayurvedic massage to cryotherapy).
Member benefits include access to the magical forest-themed play zone, on-site crèche for 0-7 year olds, children’s café and parents lounge. There’s also an impressive schedule of kids’ classes such as music, art, cooking, science and nature. But with wellness at the at the centre of their club, lactose and sleep consultants, complimentary medicine and signature classes such as mindfulness are all available (at an additional cost).
Discover: Cloud Twelve
Where: 2-5 Colville Mews, London, W11 2DA
Membership: From £2000 a year
Get Social: @cloudtweleveclub
FOR THOSE SEEKING CREATIVITY: Maggie & Rose, Kensington, Chiswick and Islington (from September 2019)
What began as a gathering of mums in the front room of flat in Kensington, is now an international family lifestyle brand. The idea dreamt up by Maggie Bolger and Rose Astor was to provide a beautiful creative space for children in surroundings that appealed to grown-ups too. Opening it 2007 Maggie & Rose is often dubbed the ‘Soho House’ for minis.
In London, you’ll find two clubs in Chiswick and Kensington with a third opening in Islington in September. Inside, are treehouse-inspired play areas, cafés providing homemade food, and in Chiswick a roof terrace and brasserie. Each of these clubs also has a nursery where they teach a unique curriculum through food, art and imagination.
GOOD TO KNOW: It’s possible to sign-up for a summer-only membership if you want to try before you fully commit.
Discover: Maggie & Rose
Where: 58 Pembroke Road, W8 6NX (Kensington) , 1 Essex Place Square, W4 5UJ (Chiswick) and Islington Square, 126 Upper St, The Angel, N1 1TU (Islington opening September 2019)
Membership: From £75 per month (off peak)
Get Social: @maggieandrose
FOR THOSE SEEKING A RELAXED VIBE: 3 House Club, St. John’s Wood
A more relaxed kind of family members club that offers various membership options, as well a non-membership and drop-in rates for those spur of the moment ways to fill an afternoon. For kids aged 0-8 years, 3 House Club hosts up to 30 classes per week, covering everything from dance classes for mums to Mini Mozart for kids. There’s also ballet, crafts, storytelling, yoga, healthy cooking and rhyme time. And, for older kids there is science, chess club, art history and even Hindi language classes.
The space also has weekly coffee mornings for local mums and dads, with prenatal events and postnatal dance classes too. All helping to create a new-parent community on your doorstep; if you’re in the neighbourhood, the unlimited one-week class pass for £45 is a great way to get a feel before joining.
Discover: 3 House Club
Where: 3 House Club, Bridgeman Street, NW8 7AL
Membership: From £110 a month (for up t0 11 classes) and £280 per month for unlimited access.
Get Social: @3houseclub_london
FOR THOSE SEEKING CITY-LIFE ESCAPE: Purple Dragon, Chelsea and Putney
Sharai Meyers founded Purple Dragon in 2008 (now two clubs in London). And, it’s where all London’s hippest mums (Victoria Beckham is a member, and back in Harper’s toddler days, used to love potato printing with her) head to escape the stresses of urban living. Based around Montessori principles, the freedom children feel at Purple Dragon is what makes this one off the most relaxed members clubs in London.
There are numerous activities on offer – sensory light rooms, art studio, kitchen, play-house, life-sized doll house, soft play, music room and ball pits. There’s also an indoor pool at the Chelsea club. Dedicated staff or ‘play buddies’ are on hand to help children get the most out of the areas and activities which include ballet, cookery and yoga, meaning that parents can relax in the café. And, since adult spaces – to work, to relax, to have a coffee – are integrated alongside its all very chilled yet, totally practical.
Discover: Purple Dragon
Where: Bramah House, 30 Gatliff Road, SW1W 8DP (Chelsea) and Tileman House, 131 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 2TR (Putney)
Membership: From £900 per year (for 20 family visits), they also offer different types of membership from weekdays only to unlimited monthly.
Get Social: @purpledragonplay
FOR THOSE SEEKING FLEXIBILITY: Cupcake Family Club, Parsons Green
More like a second home than a members club, Cupcake Family Cafe offers all the ingredients to ensure a perfect membership package to suit every family from prenatal classes to babies and children aged 0-5 years. Along with its sister brand, Slice Urban Fitness they offer the perfect combination of activities for children including cooking classes, ballet, yoga, drama and art classes AND adult fitness classes, postnatal classes and new mum workouts with an on-site creche, members’ lounge access and a soft play area.
Discover: Cupcake Family Club
Where: 11 Heathmans Road, Parsons Green, SW6 4TJ
Membership: From £129 per month (+ a one-off £99 joining fee)
Get Social: @cupcakefamilyclub
Out of London? – or, on a trip, holiday or visiting family in the UK:
FOR THOSE SEEKING SOMETHING OUTSIDE THE CITY: The Little Gym, nationwide
Whilst not a members’ club in the traditional sense, The Little Gym is a UK-wide network of purpose-built gymnastics centres. Each is passionate about providing an all-round education for kids from four months to 12 years. What this means is that as well as learning gymnastic skills, experienced teachers provide a curriculum based on forty years of teaching across the world. So, children don’t simply learn how to flip, tumble and complete routines, they also fine tune their motor skills, social skills and senses.
The Little Gym is also one of the few sports clubs around which is non-competitive (shock, horror!) The strong belief here is that children will become confident, resilient and successful little people thanks to a more nurturing and personal approach for each child. And they have the backing of professional occupational therapists who can’t speak highly enough about what children, and their parents, learn about themselves at The Little Gym.
Each UK Gym is a franchise, so the classes available may differ slightly, but in the main, they start for babies at four months (Bugs) running up to twelve-year-olds (Flips, Hotshots, Twisters and Choppers). Many of the Gyms have added member benefits such as free practice time, free Tumble & Tea for under-threes, as well as discounts for birthdays and holiday camps. It’s also a great way to meet other parents over a coffee.
Discover: The Little Gym
Where: There is 12 sites across the UK, head to website to find your nearest
Membership: You need to be a member to enjoy all the classes on offer (classes start at £14) BUT, during the holidays, themed camps are open to all, and you can host a party at The Little Gym as a non-member. see individual classes for monthly fees and offers.
Get Social: @thelittlegymuk
(With special thanks to Victoria Evans at City Kids Magazine)