Many people will advise expats that if a new arrival wants to make friends they should simply head to the local pub. Although a pub can be the focal point of a neighbourhood, London is a collection of areas that also offer something for everyone in terms of social clubs, groups or societies where like-minded peers gather to share common interests. 

Clubs come in all shapes and sizes, some with brick-and-mortar locations, and others organised through social networks with changing venues and a consistent calendar of events to choose from. Most encourage hosting guests, enjoying refreshments, forming new personal and professional relationships and interests, and/or delighting in new or old habits. Whatever one is looking for, expats are sure to find it in London.

Expat clubs in London

London is an extremely diverse city that draws people from all over the world, and new arrivals will be glad to know that there are plenty of expat clubs and societies to help them feel more at home. From groups of expats from all over the world, to groups aimed at particular nationalities, to groups exclusively for professional networking or for expat women, London has it all. These groups are just an internet search away and are a great place to get support and information about the trials and tribulations of expat life in London.

►Recommended: The American Society in London, The Canada Club, The Britain-Australia Society

Social activity clubs in London

The advent of the internet and use of social media has allowed social activity clubs to flourish. Organisers plan gatherings that include activities ranging from sporting events and social parties to occasions focused around hobbies such as reading or playing an instrument.

Unlike traditional clubs they need not be limited to one kind of event, location, or special interest, but can include a broad range of options published in monthly calendars. Members can have input into upcoming events, which are based upon the changing interests or preferences of the members.

Membership itself may come at a nominal cost, sometimes a one-time joining fee. Membership, as well as the events, may be limited or open to the general public.

►Recommended: Thinking Bob, New Stagers, Brixton Book Group

Sports clubs in London

Athletes, sports fans or both will find opportunities to actively participate in or spectate a sport of their choice. Expats can watch and enjoy a veritable A-to-Z of sports in a host of London venues; pitches, courts, sports fields, leisure facilities and recreation areas.

'Sports clubs' include those dedicated to specific organised teams or leagues as well as fitness and leisure centres that include state-of-the-art gyms, studios and classes, and recreational centres with tennis courts, running trails and more. A choice of annual or monthly memberships is usually available, generally with a registration fee upfront.

Recommended: Rabble, Social Sports Mix, Winchmill Hill Sports Club

Members-only clubs in London

Those looking for an exclusive membership experience or environment may look to a private, members-only institution. Some have a traditional clubhouse, bar, or restaurant where members gather, while others may offer overnight accommodation or the use of various facilities worldwide.

These clubs may have waiting lists and/or long application processes that might be dependent on being nominated and voted in by existing members. Monthly or annual membership fees, as well as membership entitlements, may vary considerably. Membership can sometimes be passed on to friends or family and may include reciprocal global locations to enjoy on travel or when returning home. Additionally, there are clubs that offer affordable packages along with relaxed membership policies. 

Recommended: Annabel's, Kindred, Soho House

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