Baby plus-one? Welcome to the child-friendly members’ clubs
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Richard Caring’s famed Mayfair members-only club offers the luxury of a carefree luncheon (or impromptu shopping trip), as it becomes a family-friendly spot on Sundays offering themed activities hosted by a team of entertainers from Tarka.
With an annual membership fee of £3,250 and a £1,750 joining fee – not to mention the cost of fine dining – it’s certainly not an affordable offering for childcare but is a nice and much appreciated perk for time-starved members. 46 Berkeley Square W1J, annabels.co.uk
This new 20,000sq ft Kensal Rise-based club, opening in September, is fitted out for both parents and their kids and, according to its founder Charlie Gardiner, meets a growing need. “The dream for most is to find somewhere they love visiting as much as their children do,” he says, highlighting the design of the adult-focused areas, which have been arranged with the understanding that there are tasks and activities parents are keen to squeeze in while their children are occupied. There will be a co-working space, a fitness studio and treatment room as well as a family-friendly cafe and restaurant overlooking the Grand Union Canal. A nursery is, as one would expect, on hand for childcare but there’s also a jungle gym, soft play and cinema. The venue is close to Notting Hill, an affluent catchment area, and Gardiner says there’s been no shortage of members happy to pay the monthly £199 fee – the first and second raft membership, which covers access both for kids and to the workspace for parents, sold out immediately. He has confirmed, however, that more spaces will be available once the club opens. 557 Harrow Road W10, jaegoshouse.co.uk
As the name suggests, this four-storey townhouse in St John’s Wood is set up for socialising – up to six members are included in the £185 monthly fee that gives access to a members’ only floor divided into a botanical bar and lounge, a lending library and a soft play area.
The brasserie has an all-day menu, serves cocktails and hosts cookery workshops. The latter costs extra, as do the club’s classes and events, typically around £20, but the upside is that members can dip in and out of activities as they wish. For parents who need to work, desks can be booked in four-hour slots for £15 while the kids explore during supervised “Play Buddy” sessions. A godsend for school holidays are the day camps, which run from 10am to 4pm – these are also available to non-members. 47 St John’s Wood High Street NW8, b-together.com
Maggie & Rose
Established in 2006, Maggie & Rose is London’s longest-established family club. Its co-founder Maggie Bolger came up with the concept, drawing on inspiration from Soho House. The concept has grown quickly: there are now London clubhouses in Kensington (which features a fabulous tree house-inspired play area), Chiswick and Islington, and the business has an international arm with four outposts in east Asia.
Common to each are play areas, snugs, teacher-led classes on cooking, music, art and “make-believe”. Unlike some of the other more recent family club openings, the focus here is much more on the child, although space is provided for adults to work. Membership starts at £140 per month, which covers an entire family (including caretakers). maggieandrose.com
This club has a no-shoe policy, which immediately sets a playful tone in the exceptionally well kitted-out club. Arranged over a single 15,000sq ft floor is a child’s paradise with numerous zones: from multiplayer fitness games on an “iWall” to a climbing wall, 15m indoor pool and F1 or golf pro sports simulator – as much of a draw for parents as it is for kids. There is a lounge area with pods where parents can quietly send emails and the restaurant offers the same menu for adults and kids, just served in different-sized portions. Those looking to join should expect a waiting list from six weeks to three months. 30 Gatliff Road SW1W purpledragonplay.com
The 200-acre Naunton Downs estate, just a short gallop from Cheltenham, is home to world-class horse training facilities, an 18-hole golf course and, more recently, a new lifestyle destination conceived by owners Ben Pauling (a top racehorse trainer) and his party-planner wife Sophie, whose “home from home” clubhouse (dubbed the Soho House of racing) has been conceived in conjunction with Mayfair’s Fitzdares Club. Between 9am and 9pm on Saturdays, and 9 to 6.30pm on a Sunday, members (and non-members) can indulge in the Cotswolds venue’s farm-to-fork cuisine while their little ones are entertained by Tarka, who run an exhilarating kids’ club on site for children aged three and over. Drop-off is also available for £10 an hour. Naunton Downs, Naunton, Cheltenham GL54 3AE, nauntondowns.co.uk
Tucked away in a cobbled Notting Hill mews, the wellness-focused club pairs the joys of quality spa action with children’s playtime. The big attraction for kids is the enchanted forest-themed soft-play area with a climbable treehouse and ball pit, and other areas are set aside for arts and crafts, staffed by “play buddies”.
To ensure parent pampering time is uninterrupted, The Spa and Wellness Clinic provides a complimentary crèche, but this luxe offering comes at a price: summer membership options start at £800 a month. 2-5 Colville Mews W11, cloudtwelve.co.uk
One for those keen on sports, the chain offers on-site crèche services at its Notting Hill and Chelsea outposts, which have top-spec fitness facilities kitted out with gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools. Babies and kids up to five can be left for up to two hours every day, leaving parents to enjoy a game of padel or a gym session. Adult membership starts from £168 a month, but for the crèche perk, the child needs to be a member too, costing from £54 monthly. harbourclub.com