Every day this month the Londonist team will be pointing you in the direction of a Christmas present that (with a bit of luck) you won't already have on your list. Climb up onto our collective lap and we'll see what we can move from our sack to your stockings...
For the friends and family members who seem to always be busy with art exhibitions, arthouse films, dance, theatre and music of a more traditional concert format, a membership to a much-loved art institute could be a very nice present. As well as feeling rewarded for frequent attendance, the discounts, special treatment, exclusive entry and intangible smugness that come with membership is precious.
The following places offer memberships with the following benefits:
The ICA is offering a nicely packaged gift membership for Christmas with online ordering for convenience. Membership is £35 for the year and entitles members to unlimited free entry to exhibitions with a guest, invitations to private views, free entry to the bar with a guest and free entry to all club nights with a guest before 10pm, special preview screenings for members, priority booking, 10% discount at the shop and - bonus! - reduced ticket prices at the NFT and Ciné Lumiere. For more information, go here.
The Barbican is also offering a gift membership for Christmas. Membership is for a year and offers members monthly guides to what's on posted to your home which is more exciting than it sounds because so much happens at the Barbican, a bit of advance notice is always welcome. Discounts on exhibitions, films, 20% off music, theatre and dance events, 15% off in the shop, café, restaurant and bars and invitations to special previews, private views and pre / post show talks. For more information, go here.
For the arthouse cinema lover in your life, how about the Curzon cinemas membership? Venues in the Curzon group are the Chelsea cinema, the Renoir, Richmond Filmhouse, Curzon Mayfair and Curzon Soho - if any of these are regulars for someone you know, a membership could be very welcome. Membership is £30 for the year but only £50 for two people at the same address. members receive two free tickets on joining, discounts on all subsequent ticket purchases, a free monthly members' preview, no booking fees when booking by phone or online, discounts at the Konditor & Cook café in a Curzon Soho and - fabulous! use of the Curzon Mayfair Royal Boxes at a discounted rate! For more information, go here.
And then there's the Tate membership... also offered as a gift membership, this membership is a biggie. There's a range of memberships to suit your way of visiting any of the Tate galleries in London, Liverpool or St Ives but whatever you choose, you get free entry to all exhibitions, free entry to the members' rooms at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, the monthly Tate Etc magazine, priority booking and invitations to private views (though it looks like that's an extra on top of standard membership). Worth doing a bit research before committing to a year's membership, so read more here.
The South Bank Centre offers membership too but isn't as whizzy or exciting as the others - nonetheless a good choice for a Hayward Gallery regular. More information about the South Bank Centre membership here.