London has many exclusive private members clubs … Annabel’s, Soho House, Home House, The Arts Club… but did you know that your child can join their own super exclusive private members club? A relatively new phenomenon these multi-functional spaces are popping up around London and they are absolutely priceless for both child and parent alike.
Oscar is a member of two family private members clubs – it may seem excessive but we joined back in 2020 just before we went into the third lockdown when we thought these were the only places that would stay open as they were early years settings. (Unfortunately they didn’t stay open anyway).
Oscar is member of Purple Dragon in Chelsea and Cloud Twelve in Notting Hill and as frequent visitors to both I though it would be useful to write an honest comparison of the place for anyone thinking of joining.
Purple Dragon is between Pimlico and Chelsea, a fairly short walk away from Sloane Square.
Cloud Twelve is in Notting Hill, located along a private Mews road. It is between the gorgeous and popular areas of Westbourne Grove and Portobello Road.
Personally, I think location is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a family club. Purple Dragon is super convenient for us as I can walk there or its eight minutes in a taxi, for this reason I go around twice a week and I have really made the most of the membership. As Cloud Twelve is a twenty five minute journey for me, I have woefully underused our membership so really consider this when applying.
Purple Dragon is a 15,000 square foot multi-functional space with a restaurant, a large area for imaginative play, soft play, a cookery room, an art room, a music room, a swimming pool, a climbing wall. There’s also a restaurant and an adult quiet space.
(Imagination space at Purple Dragon)
Cloud Twelve has a much smaller family space. It’s one main room which includes a soft play area, a restaurant and designated spaces for art, music and imaginative play. Unlike Purple Dragon, Cloud Twelve has a designated adult-only space upstairs which includes a spa, salon and wellness clinic.
(Play space at Cloud Twelve)
In this sense, it really depends what you’re looking for. Personally, I have never actually used the adults-only space at Cloud Twelve but I imagine it’s heavenly for anyone who does! The Purple Dragon family space is much bigger than Cloud Twelve meaning there’s a lot more for children to do and they will honestly never get bored even if you’re there the whole day. Where Cloud Twelve is smaller and all in one room, you can give your child more independence and enjoy a coffee without taking your eye off them.
Who are they for
Purple Dragon suits children from 0 to around 9 or 10 depending on your child’s interests. There’s a baby ball pit and soft play for the tiniest and swimming from three months. Older children can enjoy activities like the climbing wall and football or golf stimulation. And there’s plenty to do for children in between. Cloud Twelve is more focussed on younger children, it’s perfect for toddlers but children over 7 may be limited in activities.
More Details About The Spaces
Both Purple Dragon and Cloud Twelve have soft play and again it really depends on what you’re looking for. The soft play at Purple Dragon is much bigger meaning there’s more to do plus it’s appealing for older kids – there’s slides, a trampoline, lots of places to climb and balls to jump around in.
(Swimming pool at Purple Dragon)
Cloud Twelve has a much smaller soft play which is well suited for younger children – I’m happy for Oscar to play in it on his own while I watch from outside whereas at Purple Dragon I need to get into the soft play myself and follow him around which can be a rather back breaking experience.
(Play spaces at Cloud Twelve)
Both have a music room at Purple Dragon there’s a proper full size piano, guitars and drum kit. I’m not overly impressed by the music room at Cloud Twelve, it doesn’t have much better equipment than we have at home – bells, a mini piano, tambourine etc.
(Music Room Purple Dragon)
(Music room Cloud Twelve)
One thing we absolutely love about Purple Dragon is the pool where Oscar has his swimming lessons and this is honestly worth its weight in gold.
Staff and Child Care
Both Purple Dragon and Cloud Twelve have brilliant members of staff running the family areas. At Purple Dragon they are called ‘play buddies’ they are there to facilitate learning and play and not to be in sole charge of your child. They speak 26 different languages including Mandarin, Spanish, Cantonese and Arabic and have backgrounds in drama, music and sports and education.
The play buddies at Cloud Twelve are also qualified professionals who are there to enhance the child’s experience. Cloud Twelve also has a creche that uses a Montessori framework and is included in the membership. You can even book at home babysitting services through Cloud Twelve though I have never used either of these.
The Restaurant / Food
Purple Dragon has a much larger restaurant space than Cloud Twelve but it is a larger club. PD serves regular classics in adult and child size portions such as fish goujons and chips, pasta dishes, burgers, pizza, grilled salmon, chicken, they also serve brunch dishes and salads. On Sundays there’s Sunday Roast which is as good if not better than some that you get in the pub. There’s also an ice cream station for both young and old! They have a no outside food policy so you can’t bring your own.
Cloud Twelve serves vegan only food which to be honest I find a bit limiting but of course it’s amazing if you’re vegan. The first few times I ate there I wasn’t wildly impressed, though I enjoy vegan food I found the offering a little lacking and the choice especially for children was very limited (vegan pizza, or pasta with a choice of three toppings). But recently Erpingham House have taken over the kitchen with their 100% plant-based concept and I enjoyed a really delicious beetroot humous, I’m keen to try more!
Many parents will be happy to know both clubs serve caffeine and alcohol!
Tiers of Membership
Purple Dragon has four types of membership:
Premier – The top tier of membership allows access all day; any day. You can bring in two guests complimentary, you have £100 allowance to food and beverages per quarter and preferential access to free swimming on Wednesday and Sunday. Cost for this membership is £6,000, you must pay per child but siblings get a 10% discount.
Early Bird – a great option for small kids this membership allows access weekdays from 9.30am until 2pm. You can bring one free guest and it’s £50 for each additional guest and you have £75 allowance to food and beverages per quarter. There is free swimming on Wednesdays. Cost for this membership is £4,100, you must pay per child but siblings get a 10% discount.
Night Bird – more for those who require an after school option as children can access the club weekdays from 2pm until 7pm. You can bring one free guest and it’s £50 for each additional guest and you have £75 allowance to food and beverages per quarter. There is free swimming on Wednesdays. Cost for this membership is £4,100, you must pay per child but siblings get a 10% discount.
Out of Towner – is the option for those who may not be able to use the club on a regular basis. This membership allows 34 visits per year with unlimited use of the club. You can bring one free guest and it’s £50 for each additional guest. Cost is £3,950 per child.
FYI there is also a fee of £1,000 when you first join.
When Oscar first joined we bought the Out of Towner membership as we were unsure how much we used it. I ended up using it so much that the 34 visits expired very quickly and we upgraded to Premier. When Oscar starts school I’ll review what type of membership we have.
(Cookery Purple Dragon)
Cloud Twelve have three types of membership (though this has changed from when we first joined)
Gold Membership – The all singing, all dancing membership allows unlimited access to the club, 2 hours of creche a week, 24 guest passes, preferential booking to events and an exclusive welcome pack worth £785. Cost for this membership is £5,000. Sibling Discount is 15% for 2nd child, 30% for 3rd child, complimentary for 4th child.
Silver Membership – Morning Sunshine or Evening Superstar. This membership is available from Tuesday to Friday only, and guests choose from: Morning Sunshine: 9am – 2pm Evening Superstar: 2pm -7pm. Membership allows for 1 hour of creche a week, 12 guest passes, preferential booking to events and an exclusive welcome pack worth £545. Cost for this membership is £3,500 and sibling discount is same as above.
Bronze Membership – Catch Me if You Can allows full access to the club with a limit of 38 visits, a total of 20 hours at the creche for the duration of membership, 4 guest passes, preferential booking to events and an exclusive welcome pack worth £345. Cost for this membership is £2,400. There’s no sibling discount.
FYI there is also a fee of £500 when you first join.
When we joined we had the equivalent of bronze membership but we haven’t used all our visits and our membership is lapsing soon, which is why I said above it’s really important that your club is close and accessible.
Both Purple Dragon and Cloud Twelve offer classes for your kids. At Purple Dragon there’s cookery, art classes, music classes and superhero adventures – these are all included in the membership. Oscar also has a weekly swimming class which we pay extra for and he absolutely loves.
(Painting, Cookery, Swimming at Purple Dragon)
Cloud Twelve offer classes that are geared to different levels depending on your child’s age from 0 – 3 or 3 -7. They focus on cognitive and physical development through art, fitness, story telling, creation and even science experiments. There’s always something going on at both clubs and it’s really easy to book at Purple Dragon via the app. At Cloud Twelve you can usually just walk into a class as it’s rarely busy.
(Icing class and smoothie making at Cloud Twelve)
Now I must be honest about the classes, I personally find them a little bit token as the classes I pay for outside of the clubs are much better but it’s good to entertain your children for half an hour especially when they’re very small.
Purple Dragon and Cloud Twelve both hold special events throughout the year. Last year I attended both of their Halloween events and Christmas events and I thought I’d give a little comparison. For Halloween Purple Dragon has one big party from 3pm til 7pm on the Friday before Halloween whereas Cloud Twelve held several events where you could book your two hour slot slot. This did mean the PD party was much busier but Cloud Twelve is a much smaller space anyway.
At the Purple Dragon party the decorations were amazing, like proper professional theatre props whereas at Cloud Twelve they were more like home made spider webs out of cotton wool and paper cut out spider jobs. Both had organised lots of activities at Purple Dragon there was pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin hunt, a disco, a photo booth. There were drinks and canapés served all night that went with the Halloween theme at PD.
(Purple Dragon Halloween Party)
Cloud Twelve had a photographer, pumpkin hunt, potion making, dancing, mask making and a disco at the end. They also had a photo booth. One thing that was really cool was that they had a staff member dressed as Willy Wonka hidden upstairs and each child got to visit his chocolate factory and choose a treat! Otherwise food and drink was a little limited for example on one drink per adult.
(Cloud Twelve Halloween, Oscar refused his costume lol)
Now I have to say the Purple Dragon party was overall much better and that wouldn’t have really been a big deal but the Purple Dragon party was completely free for members. Whereas the Cloud Twelve party was £40 each, I really think it should have been free when you’re paying so much for membership.
At Christmas Cloud Twelve again had a party where you could book slots with entertainment from party gurus Dazzle and Fizz, activities and a visit from Santa. Purple Dragon didn’t really have a party but had a weekend of festive activities, food and a Santa. The Cloud Twelve Party was £80 per child with one adult and then an extra £20 for additional adults which I found a little outrageous to be honest.
A few last things to mention, that didn’t fit in any section but are questions I get asked a lot. Both have very impressive levels of hygiene and are constantly cleaned through out the day. Each are equipped with baby changing facilities and have nappies, wipes and everything you need. Purple Dragon has an app (I do love an app) but I think they haven’t made the most of it, it’s mostly used for booking classes and things but I think they do a lot more with it.
Each club works better for different people and honestly Purple Dragon has worked better for us but that is partly because it is so close to us. We joined PD on a limited membership and ran out of passes within three months and renewed and upgraded to the Premier membership. Where as with Cloud Twelve our membership is about to lapse and we still have passes that we haven’t used. We won’t be renewing as we just didn’t use it enough, which I’m a little sad about to be honest.
(Trampoline Purple Dragon)
There are a few other family clubs in London:
Maggie and Rose is one other well known clubs and it is the original family club – I’ve never visited but the pictures look beautiful and apparently they really focus on creative play. Maggie and Rose also run nurseries.
Harbour Club have multiple sites around London and I have visited the Notting Hill branch as a guest of a friend. It’s basically a luxury leisure centre that also has a comprehensive kids programme, private sports tuition, a holiday club and complimentary creche.
I visited the restaurant at b_together in St John’s Wood and I haven’t actually seen the family space but it includes a nursery, shop, work space, studio for classes and soft play.
Opening soon is Jaego’s House in Kensal Rise which is set to be an all singing, all dancing family club that looks totally amazing! There’s a nursery, soft play and kids cinemas for littles, and a gym, co-working space and treatment rooms for adults plus restaurant for all. I love the look of it and though I can’t join another club, I love the fact that they offer a ‘pay and play’ option for one off visits.