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Joining a social club in Singapore: We ask EL families where they signed up and why

As these happy Expat Living readers can attest, a social club is a great option for anyone searching for a slice of home away from home or just a place for the family to meet new friends. Below, three readers review The British Club, Hollandse Club and Seletar Country Club. Want to look into more options? Check out our full guide to social clubs in Singapore here.

Heather Riley with her kids, Thomas and Sophie

Heather Riley, British
We arrived in Singapore in 2004 with two small children. The British Club became a regular place for me to visit with Thomas and Sophie; both children loved to be in the playroom and the games room, of course. My son had his first swimming lesson at the Club.

I immediately started using the gym and signed up for various early-morning fitness classes. I also made quite a lot of friends from regular visits to the sports club – plus I met David Beckham, which I will remember forever! My husband Chris visits less frequently, due to his travel schedule, but we all enjoy the English breakfast at the club together on weekends.

The Club offers families a great choice of things to do and places to eat. The Indian food is some of the best in Singapore, and a huge family favourite. For newcomers, there are frequent welcome drinks, networking evenings and other activities to help people meet and spend time with other expats. This certainly helps in the process of settling in and becoming familiar with a new place.

Even now, I’m personally greeted by the same staff that I’ve known for nearly 10 years. Recently, Amudha, one of the ladies who used to run the children’s playroom, chatted to my teenage son Thomas and remembered him fondly as a four-year-old causing havoc in the playroom. As a family, we feel part of the British Club community and really appreciate the staff who work hard to make everyone feel so welcome.

The British Club, 73 Bukit Tinggi Road, 6467 4311

Remko and Michelle Witteveen, with kids Wybe, Mees, Oliver (and two nice people who we assume are the lovely g-parents!)

Remko and Michelle Witteveen, Dutch
We arrived in Singapore last year with our three boys, Wybe (15), Mees (13) and Olivier (11), and two Labradors. We previously lived in Singapore from 2002 to 2005 and were members of the Hollandse Club. We then moved to Hong Kong for two years, before spending six years back in the Netherlands.

We rejoined the Club when we returned, because of the many fond memories, and because it’s a fantastic place to eat, especially with friends or family. We like the soft tennis court; Olivier trains now and then on the courts – he’s a very active tennis player. We also enjoy the Dutch books in the library and the variety of social activities organised by the Club.

It’s also perfect for when we have guests or grandparents staying. You don’t want to stay at home all the time, but Singapore can be a very crowded and expensive place if you’re always out and about. Our guests love the Club, and they can even go there on their own, as long as we call to sign them in. There’s even accommodation available if your house is crowded or if your guests want a bit more privacy. 

If you’re a family with kids, or just looking for a relaxed and affordable place to spend your time, the Hollandse Club is a very friendly and open family club. It doesn’t make you feel unwelcome with exclusivity, security procedures or registration processes.

Hollandse Club, 22 Camden Park, 6464 5225

Nassim and Karin Majdalany, with kids Lana, Krista and Roy

Nassim and Karin Majdalany, British Lebanese
We’re a family of five: two very busy parents juggling work and family; and three kids, Lana (12), Krista (10) and Roy (4).

The Seletar Country Club is a hidden gem – not many expats know about it. At the weekend, it’s nice to have somewhere to go to as a family that’s peaceful and relaxing. We had visited several of Singapore’s more central, better-known clubs; however, visiting Seletar convinced us to join. As you walk in, the openness and space of the Club around the main restaurant and the pool make you feel like you’re miles away on holiday. There’s a beautiful view of the golf course, too. We’re not golfers, so we joined as social membersm which allows us to use everything but the golf course.

We all swim at the Club – the pool is never too busy – and sometimes play family tennis; Nassim goes to the gym; occasionally we go kayaking or on a little sailing boat at the reservoir. We have a family lunch at the main restaurant most weekends. We’ve also held a couple of the kids’ birthday parties at the Club’s bowling centre. The kids love the outdoor playground and the indoor soft playroom.

Whether it’s raining or sunny, we always enjoy the club. The staff know us and are always very welcoming and friendly. It leaves us feeling refreshed and re-energised for the coming busy week.

Seletar Country Club, 101 Seletar Country Club, 6481 4812