This holiday season, why not give your loved ones a gift that keeps on giving? Here is our list of the Top 10 London-based memberships and subscriptions that will remind your friends and family that you love them every single day of the year. For art lovers: Consider a membership to the Tate. It gives them unlimited entry to all of the Tate Exhibitions (at each of the four campuses) with fast-track entry, special viewing opportunities and access to the Members’ Rooms at Tate Britain and Tate Modern. An annual membership costs £60 and you need to place your order before 19 December to receive the membership card before Christmas.
For whisky lovers: Instead of buying the men in your life another tie or book, why don’t you get them something they really want? Whisky. A membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society will run you £100 and includes the Society membership pack and four unique single cask single malt bottles. The membership also gives them exclusive access to a programme of whisky tastings and dining evenings, like the ever popular steak and whisky night, as well as the opportunity to buy a variety of rare single cask single malt bottles.
For fruit and vegetable lovers: A year long membership to a veg scheme might be just the thing. Try Abel & Cole, which delivers fresh, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables weekly starting at £9 a pop (for the small veg box). If your gift recipient doesn’t mind trekking out to Hackney, Growing Communities, a social enterprise based in Hackney, East London, is another option that provides a weekly selection of seasonal organic produce sourced as locally as possible. The collection-only scheme’s boxes can be picked up from five pick-up points across Hackney for as little at £6.50 a week (again, for the small veg box).
For theatre lovers: Consider a membership that not only gives them access to exclusive theatrical experiences but also gives you (and them) the warm feeling of knowing that the arts are being supported. We recommend Punchdrunk, an immersive theatre company known for pushing the boundaries of theatre, visual arts, music and live performance. For £30 annually, they get priority booking to a selection of Punchdrunk productions and a complimentary limited edition dvd of one of their past productions, FAUST (which is not available for general sale). For £250 annually, they get all of of the previously mentioned benefits, plus a one-to-one ‘experience’ at some point during their membership.
For makeup lovers: Glossybox is a London-based startup that delivers 5 high-end luxury samples from exclusive brands monthly for just £10 a month (plus p+p) with no fixed terms. Glossybox also recently expanded to a men’s box that features 7 products delivered every three months for £15 a time. Past brands have included All For Eve, Arbonne, OPI, Murad and more.
For film lovers: The BFI membership is a good deal at £40 as it promises two exclusive film screenings every month, priority bookings, discounted tickets and rare access to the BFI National Archive. If a neighbourhood cinema is more their style, we recommend The Phoenix in East Finchley, which has a £25 yearly membership, or the Everyman Cinemas, which gives access to a number of different local cinemas, for £48 a year.
For outdoorsy types: The Regent’s Canoe Club, located at the City Road Basin on the Regents Canal, lets members paddle on the canal every Monday and Thursday evening for free. Boats, paddles and bouyancy aids for these evenings are also included in the low membership cost, which is £48 for an annual membership, or £12 for short term membership, like the one ranging from March 2012 – 31st May 2012. For those who are more adventurous, the Club also takes regular trips to white water rivers across the UK and offers inexpensive kit hires for those outings.
For the intellectually curious: The School of Life in Bloomsbury is known for being one of the most innovative alternative learning spaces around. They are currently offering a Limited Edition Annual Sermon Pass for £103.50, which allows the person to join “the congregation” each month for the entire year. These Sunday “sermons” are distinctly non-religious, with the driving question being “what values should we be living by today?”. Past sermons have ranged from talks on Kinky Sex and Americans to Humour and Good Design.
For foodies: A one year membership to Tastecard is a safe bet. The card, which costs £65, allows them to get discounts to over 5,500 restaurants across the UK. Deals with the card range from 50% off the total food bill to 2 meals for the price of 1.
For high rollers: A membership to a private member’s club might be the best present you could ever give. Shoreditch House, for instance, offers access to the restuarant, pool, gym and discounted tickets to the Aubin Cinema. Membership to the club runs £700 (or £500 if you are under 27) a year, which breaks down to £58.33 a month. That is less than the cost of some single gym memberships. You have to apply and be accepted, however, so make sure you get your application in ASAP.