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The best Meetup groups

Olly Mann / 24 October 2016

Social networking site Meetup invites you to join or host events to meet new people with shared interests in your area. Here we list some of the best groups across the country.

Mature friends
Make new friends in your area by finding an activity-based Meetup group is an international phenomenon. The website, which allows people to create local interest groups that anyone can join, has 27 million members worldwide and thousands of groups in the UK. There are almost too many to choose from, so this is our pick of some of the biggest and best.


Dance Walking, London

Plucky dance enthusiasts download a pre-agreed playlist of music, then jiggle, rather than walk, their way through the capital’s beauty spots.

Find out more Dance Walking

Hull Salsa Dance Classes

Just £5 buys a little piece of salsa lesson heaven at this friendly club for seasoned dancers or complete beginners.

Find out more Hull Salsa Dance Classes

Crawley Motorbike Riding Meetup for the over 50s

Find freedom on the roads with this Sussex-based collective, who mix group rides with social events.

Find out more about Crawley Motorbike Riding

Cycling for Softies, Edinburgh

Unsaddling and walking up hills is perfectly acceptable, where gentle rides on usually flattish routes are complemented by stops for tea and cake.

Find out more about Cycling for Softies

The Alternative Sports and Games Club, Bournemouth

When contact sports aren’t your thing: an inventive club that organises everything from treasure hunts and skittles to board-game nights.

Find out more about The Alternative Sports and Games Club

Discussion and social groups

Yorkshire Friends Over 50, Pudsey

On top of the hill, NOT over the hill!’ is the billing for this very active group aimed at 50-plussers with a taste for coffee mornings, pub lunches and more.

Find out more about Yorkshire Friends Over 50

Unhurried Cambridge

This ingenious Meetup puts people round a table then lets them each chat through a topic of their choice, uninterrupted, while others listen in.

Find out more about Unhurried Cambridge

Where Would Jane Go?, nationwide

Austen-loving stately home appreciators visit country piles across the UK, eating picnics and indulging a shared love of cream teas.

Find out more about Where Would Jane Go? 

The Red Diary Group, Glasgow

A social network for the over 40s with some 800 members. Events range from pub quizzes to a Christmas whodunit.

Find out more about The Read Diary  

In Touch Peterborough

A monthly Meetup with a very impressive range of activities for members, from cinema nights and bowling to live music, walks and even clay-pigeon shooting.

Find out more about In Touch  

Outdoors and pets

West Penwith Walking Group, Cornwall

Sample the delights of the wild Cornish coastline courtesy of a well-attended hiking collective with around 400 members. Routes are generally between five and 15 miles.

Find out more about West Penwith Walking Group  

Edinburgh Nature Meetup Group

Delve into everything from the fascinating world of fungi to summer wildflowers in Holyrood Park, alongside other nature lovers.

Find out more about Edinburgh Nature  

Coventry and Warwickshire Stargazers

Explore the wonders of the night sky with like-minded amateur astronomers. Experienced members bring their telescopes, so you don’t need your own equipment.

Find out more about Coventry and Warwickshire Stargazers  

Walking With a Sketchbook, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Take an organised stroll with these ‘Sketchy Walkers’, stopping for pencil drawings in the company of an expert artist.

Find out more about Walking With a Sketchbook  

Happy Hounds East Sussex

Even non-owners can join in the fun with this Eastbourne-based walking group for people who love dogs, nature and a little post-hike respite in a pub or café.

Find out more about Happy Hounds  

Hobbies, games and craft

London Drones

A group of drone builders and enthusiasts meet in the capital to swap ideas, discuss designs and explore new possibilities.

Find out more about London Drones  

The Vikings of Middle England, Leicester

History fans meet to re-enact battles, perfect their ancient combat skills and run Viking-flavoured craft workshops.

Find out more about The Vikings of Middle England  

Stroud Board Games Group

Wednesday nights are tabletop gaming nights at this popular Cotswolds Meetup, for people who know their way around a Monopoly board – and people who’d like to.

Find out more about Stroud Board Games Group  

Nottingham Natty Knitters

Anyone with the slightest interest in yarn’ is welcome at this Midlands group with an emphasis on knitting, crocheting and gentle chit-chat.

Find out more about Nottingham Natty Knitters  

Chippenham Men’s Shed

A social club mixed with a communal DIY workshop, with a committee that includes a ‘Maker of the Tea’ and a ‘Washer of the Dishes’. Ladies also welcome. Wellbeing and philosophy.

Find out more about Chippenham Men's Sheds

Socially Awkward, Manchester

A friendly welcome awaits at this group for people who struggle with anxiety or depression that affects their social life.

Find out more about Socially Awkward  

Hampstead Philosophy Walks

From Rousseau to Plato, with hiking boots. A forum for philosophers to discuss ideas while exploring one of London’s most beautiful parks.

Find out more about Hampstead Philosophy Walks  

Unbelievable? Christian and Skeptic Discussion Group, London

Inspired by a popular radio programme/podcast, a Meetup based in a pub for believers and atheists pondering life’s big questions.

Find out more about Unbelievable?

Lead a Happier Life Meetup, Bathgate, West Lothian

Workshops and talks majoring on the power of positive thinking.

Find out more about Lead a Happier Life

Laughter Yoga Club Manchester 

Harness the feel-good force of chuckling at this well-established, not-for-profit Meetup with classes that take you through the basics.

Find out more about Laughter Yoga Club

Careers and business

Suffolk Developers, Ipswich

Computer software creators of all levels of skill and experience can gather to hear talks, swap ideas and quaff coffee.

Find out more about Suffolk Developers

Scotland Data Science & Technology Meetup, Edinburgh

More than 1,300 people are on the register for this get-together, melding presentations and networking for fans of big data, analytics and technology trends.

Find out more about Scotland Data Science & Technology

London Enterprise Technology Meetup

Fostering innovation in the tech sector is the raison d’être of a group with some 3,500 members. Regular discussion groups and inspiration from visiting speakers.

Find out more about London Enterprise Technology

Bristol Entrepreneurs and Opportunity Seekers

Meet, learn and network with other people who are buzzing with business ideas. Featuring organised talks and social get-togethers.

Find out more about Bristol Entrepreneurs and Opportunity Seekers

The Art of Smartphone Filmmaking, Manchester

Unlock the power of the mobile with a group that offers tips on how to create high-quality films for everything from social media to business vlogging.

Find out more about the Art of Smartphone Filmmaking

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