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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.

Gift giving is even more important now than it has been for a long time. Not only do you get to spoil your friends and family who you haven’t been able to see all year, but you also get to support small businesses which are finding it really tough right now.

So, we think now is the best time to buy a present that lasts. That keeps on giving. And that has got to come in the form of a gift membership or subscription. You support the gift recipient and a business for an entire year.

Or you can just get one of these memberships for yourself. You may have been treating yourself a lot during the lockdowns, but it doesn’t hurt to keep that going into the festive season. Whatever gets you through these strange times.

The Wine Society

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. If we’re being honest, it’s what we’ve been doing during both lockdowns too! 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.

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Either get a Wine Society membership or one of their wine boxes/ cocktail kits as a gift this year

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. Buy yourself or a loved one a membership for life with a one-off £40 payment and then you can reap all the rewards of being a part of this really unique business.

But if lifetime membership seems too much, you can easily get one of their luxury wine hampers or fun DIY Bellini kits which come with a bottle of top notch Prosecco as well as two different additions – try both their peach and rhubarb nectars for something simple but altogether special. The options are endless here!

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Support the arts by getting all the benefits with this one

National Art Fund

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.

Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre has to be the most loved arts and culture institution 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 your loved one is a regular visitor of the Barbican Centre, then it just makes so much sense – because of all them savings.

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Members get priority access to all kinds of exhibits and performances. Photo by Tim P. Whitby

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. This is an incredibly easy way to support the arts right now.

Sadler’s Wells

London’s home of dance is always hosting some of the world’s best performers. We are huge fans. And you don’t need to be an avid dance enthusiast to get a whole lot out of their annual membership. You don’t need to know the difference between a grande jeté and a tour en l’air. We certainly don’t. We just Googled that. They put on countless kinds of performances that are accessible to all – contemporary ballet, breakdancing, physical theatre and so much more. They even have an extensive online selection of past performances for those of us who can’t make it down in person.

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Sadler’s Wells host some of the best dance companies like Alexander Whitley’s shown here and in the lead image. Photos by Johan Persson.

Sadler’s Wells members directly contribute to the work they produce, both on and off the stage, and in return receive a range of exclusive benefits. Membership costs £70 a year and gives you access to exclusive events, priority booking and 20% on most tickets at Sadler’s Wells and The Peacock.

National Theatre

Membership at London’s National Theatre, costing £80 a year as a gift, gives access to regular £15 seats and a 50% saving on talks and discussions. National Theatre Members do amazing things – they enable the creation of bold new writing and landmark classics, inspire audiences around the globe, and help provide opportunities for as many people as possible to experience the transformative nature of theatre.

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We can’t wait to get back to theatres. And a National Theatre membership is ideal for anyone who shares this urge.

Supporting these guys is a no brainer. Not just because you help create spectacular live art, but because they are going to sell out of tickets really quickly once they reopen. You’re really going to want that priority booking (for your loved ones and yourself).

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Get all the Portuguese food & wine here at Bar Douro

Bar Douro Wine Club

Portuguese restaurant and wine bar, Bar Douro have just recently launched their very own wine club. This quarterly subscription service (priced at £120 per box), available for delivery nationwide, allows members to delve deeper into Portugal’s dynamic wine scene, including lesser known grapes, regions, styles and producers, some of which will be available in the UK for the very first time.

Perfect for the cooler nights and the festive season, the 4th Quarter Bar Douro Wine Club Box features 2 reds, 2 whites and 2 sparkling wines, meaning there is something for everyone. Packaged in an intricately illustrated Bar Douro box, members will find perfect food pairings, intricate tasting notes and producer stories from Bar Douro’s very own quarterly wine ’zine along with the six wines, transporting a community of wine lovers to the warm Portuguese vineyards of the Douro and the volcanic shores of the Açores every three months.

You may not be able to get into Broadgate right now to eat and drink all of Bar Douro’s smashing offerings, but you can get a taste of the experience at home with this membership. Perfect for wine lovers who want to explore new and exciting wine regions of Portugal.

National Trust

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.

ClassPass

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.

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An exclusive membership to BXR London might kill you – these classes are intense

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, 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.

Shakespeare’s Globe

As a charity that receives no regular government subsidy, these guys rely on the generosity of their supporters to keep going. During these challenging times, your support matters now more than ever. Every Membership purchased – whether a Friend, Best Friend, Patron or Gift Membership – grants the member access to all kinds of perks too. Simply purchase the gift membership online and choose when you want it to be delivered to your loved one. They’ll get a proper Welcome Pack (not just a shiny card) to make them feel extra special.

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