People have increasingly started to embrace the purchasing of memberships and subscriptions as Christmas gifts instead of buying items that get thrown away in January.
Sometimes choosing a Christmas gift can be super easy – get dad another record for his extensive collection and mum a piece of jewellery from her favourite brand. But it’s not always so simple. Some people are always tough to buy for. And the easy gift that you always buy them can get a bit boring and repetitive.
That’s why we like to change it up each year by buying our loved ones a yearly subscription or membership. This can come in so many different forms. You can get them annual passes to galleries, subscriptions to monthly wine deliveries, or membership to a group that supports one of their many hobbies.
You can even buy a Christmas gift like this for yourself – because why does everyone else get one of your amazing presents while you just get another naff key chain from grandma? Get yourself a membership to that gym you’ve always wanted to join. Or a yearly ticket to your favourite sports stadium.
The options are pretty much endless. No matter what your personal passion is, there’s probably a London or UK-wide membership there just waiting to be purchased for the new year. Here are but a few of our favourites.
Choosing a gym is a difficult thing to do – let alone if you’re deciding for someone else. We don’t recommend buying someone else a gym membership unless you know, for sure, that they’ll want that specific location. That’s why we are all about ClassPass. They work with gyms and fitness studios all over the City, letting members pick and choose classes from each location. So, for example, if you buy the £35 monthly membership, you get access to about six different classes.
For that month, you can do a boxing class at BXR (the boutique boxing gym), a dance class at 1Rebel, yoga within the immersive FLY LDN studio (feature image), a spin class at Boom Cycle and a HIIT class at Another Space. After that, you still have credits left to do more. And a lot of these gyms are high end. Buy your friend or family member a few months credit and they can decide if they want to keep going. They could even sign up for a membership to one of the gyms they’ve tried out. It lets people road test possible gyms too.
If your loved one rides a bike then this is the ideal gift membership for them this Christmas. And they don’t have to be a professional cyclist to reap the benefits. One of the most important reasons they should be members of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is because they get free liability insurance and access to a free legal helpline. Discounts on theft insurance is also hugely important in London, with bikes being stolen all the time – even when people own good locks.
Members also get exclusive discounts with 100+ London shops (that can be cycle repair, clothing and accessories or tickets to cycling events. Individual membership costs £49 for the year while entire households can get it for £75 and concessionary membership is just £25. This not only gives them access to all the best discounts and offers but also helps to fund the London Cycling Campaign’s important charitable efforts.
They use the money to advocate for cyclists in London, lobby for legislative change and improved cycling infrastructure and generally make London a cleaner and safer city as more and more people are urged to get on their bike all year long. Everyone benefits from this one.
This is for the culture lovers out there -those who don’t want to restrict themselves by signing up to just one gallery or museum in the UK. Because there are just so many out there. Members can explore over 240 museums, galleries and historic places for free and enjoy 50% off entry to major exhibitions, including those at Tate, V&A and the National Museum of Scotland. A year’s membership costs £75 unless the recipient is under 30 – then it’s just £45. That’s a huge win and such an easy gift to get someone young. And, by purchasing the membership, you’re not only giving a great gift to one individual but also contributing to the great work done by the Art Fund – supporting art all over the UK. It’s a win, win.
Fresh Food Schemes
Gifts can be practical too. If you’re afraid your kids are going to get scurvy because they haven’t been eating any healthy food since moving out of the house, then regular fruit and veg schemes are perfect. And it’s super simple. Once members, they get fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to the door. It’s all seasonal and mostly locally sourced.
This means you don’t know what you’re getting each week – it’s all a surprise. You then have to use what you’re given, being forced to think a bit more creatively when it comes to cooking (they do give weekly recipes though). We are big fans of Growing Communities because they are all about giving back to the local community rather than just making profits. But they focus on East London. Other bigger companies include Abel and Cole, Oddbox and Boxxfresh and reach other parts of London. By purchasing this membership, you’ll be doing your gift recipient a whole lot of good.
What better way to get through cold and miserable winter than by drinking copious amounts of delicious wine? It’s how we love to do it. That’s why we’re all about getting a membership to the famous Wine Society. They are a large-scale cooperative meaning they’re not all about making profits because they are run by and for their members. That’s super important. They won’t be trying to up-sell or overcharge you. They exist to ensure you get exactly what you want out of it.
They offer fairly priced, spectacular tasting wine from all over the world. They do all the hard work of choosing the best bottles and negotiating prices so that the members simply get to reap the rewards. And this Christmas membership gift could potentially benefit the purchaser (you) too. They’ll go into the lottery to win their own 15-bottle mixed case including wines, spirits and bubbles. So, you can be a little selfish when buying this one.
Private Members Clubs
The City of London is full of private member’s clubs. And those who work and play in the Square Mile should really take advantage of all their offerings. Now, it may be tough to choose one for a friend or loved one, but we have you covered with this little guide.
The Curtain, located on the cusp of Shoreditch and the City, is ideal for a slightly younger crowd of creatives from all sectors. Here, you get access to their rooftop pool and café, cinema room, underground bars and workspaces as well as invites to their incredibly impressive line-up of regular events designed for members only.
The Ned is known all too well too. Everyone is obsessed with their rooftop pool and restaurant as well as the labyrinth of underground facilities. Swim in their pool, get groomed at the barber or salon and get exclusive discounts to each of their restaurants in the main ground level space.
The Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square is all about old school elegance. They’re massive private members section has plenty of meeting rooms, lounges, a wine tasting room and even a cigar sampling space. Members also get access to the luxury spa and gym.
You can also look up the likes of the Devonshire Club and M Den for even more private member’s club offerings. There are so many options for this great gift – which would also be a perfect from you to you present. Because you should also treat yourself at Christmas, not just those around you.
The Barbican Centre has to be the most loved arts and culture institutions in the City of London. A lot of this is thanks to their multi-disciplinary approach. Members get free or discounted access to art exhibitions, film screenings, dance performances, theatre shows and so much more. A yearly membership goes for £59 and gets you all the best perks. If you’re loved one is a regular visitor of the Barbican Centre, then it just makes so much sense – because of all them savings.
Membership will give them access to the private lounge and invites to their famous private events. Give them access to the inner circle of the Barbican Centre. And, if you buy them the ‘Membership Plus’ for £114 then they can even take you as a guest for most of the best bits too.
Any UK explorer will be all about this one. It’s mostly given to old folks and families but they’re not the only demographic travelling around the country, visiting local landmarks and the like. Adult membership (26 years+) is £72 a year, and young person membership (18-25 years) is £36 a year. Junior membership (0-17 years) is £10 a year. And under 5s go free.
This gives you free entry to over 500 different landmarks, free parking at each of the National Trust parks, a handbook full of planning tips and a subscription to the National Trust Magazine which comes out three times a year. And, if you buy it as a gift before 10 December, they’ll also add in a membership welcome pack. The money from this gift even helps the National Trust care for the places they visit and keeps them special for ever, for everyone.