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As another Christmas rolls around we all have to put our thinking caps on once more for gift ideas for our family and friends. Mindful not to buy unwanted token gifts that will be added to the ‘re-gift and recycle pile’, it can be difficult to give thoughtful gifts. Get to a certain age and it’s a case of downsizing and decluttering and most of us want to avoid accumulating more ‘stuff’.
Herein lies the beauty of the experience gift; typically a voucher or a pre-booked event that can be sent to the recipient via email, meaning it’s perfect for loved ones near and far.
By purchasing an experience, you are providing someone with the opportunity to perhaps try something they never have before, to step out of their comfort zone, create memories and have an enjoyable day out. Now that’s got to beat a candle, a bottle of wine and a pair of fluffy socks.
We have put together a suitably eclectic list of experience gift ideas that with a little Googling, you can book or purchase for your loved ones this Christmas.
A fantastic experience gift for young and old, a football stadium tour makes for a great day out for fans of the beautiful game.
Offered at most Premier League club home stadiums, these experiences give the recipient the chance to walk out of the players tunnel and stand on the pitch. Each stadium offers something a little different so best to check with your loved one’s team of choice for exactly what is included.
This is an experience that has exploded in popularity over the last few years and now makes for one of those must-try activities.
More exciting than your average night at the bowling alley, axe throwing – as the name suggests – involves throwing a hand axe at a wooden target with different points scored depending on the accuracy of the throw.
Most cities in the UK have axe throwing centres nowadays and an evening spent at one with family or friends can make for a thrilling, not-to-mention memorable experience. Just be sure to check for minimum age requirements at your selected location if purchasing for a family with children.
A popular gift choice for males in your family, although certainly equally appropriate and enjoyable for women, is a whisky and cigar experience.
Typically hosted at a whisky distillery or cigar emporium, these experiences allow the recipients to indulge in differing combinations of cigar and whisky varieties, appreciating the comparable and contrasting richness of flavours. Just be warned, you are sure to finish up a bit hazy!
A whisky and cigar experience may make a lovely gift for different generations to enjoy together such as a father and son or grandfather and grandson, but could be just as well enjoyed by a group of friends.
There is something suitably dignified, archaic and nostalgic-seeming about the experience and it’s sure to result in an afternoon to be remembered (or vaguely remembered!)
In keeping with the nostalgia theme, how about giving the gift of family – the family tree that is? You can gift someone the ability to investigate their family history for themselves by purchasing a membership to Findmypast.
Findmypast is a UK-based online genealogy service whose website hosts billions of searchable records of census, directory and historical information.
Findmypast is used as a main resource in the television show Who Do You Think You Are? and they have just recently announced their exclusive selection by The National Archives to digitise and release the 1921 census of England and Wales, launching in January 2022.
Now, this is something a little different. The UK is home to several steam locomotives that continue to operate.
Gift your friends or family the experience of travelling or even dining aboard an old-timey steam train as it travels through picturesque British countryside. Many steam trains offer cream tea or lunch experience gifts accompanied by a round trip in an authentic steam-powered engine.
A bonus for any Harry Potter fan in your family is the ability to travel on the Jacobite Express in Scotland as it traverses the raised arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a location made famous in the Harry Potter films. Sure to be a memorable experience for all involved.
Give the gift of nature and relaxation to your loved one this Christmas and buy them a night or two spent ‘glamping’. A portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’, glamping usually takes place in a luxury hut, pod or tent, providing the glampers with the benefits of being amongst nature with the added mod cons of a proper bed, electricity, heating and plumbing.
There truly are few things as restorative in modern life as a night spent under the stars and away from the city. The best thing of all, a glamping experience doesn’t have to be just a gift given to other people, surprise your best friend , partner or sibling with a night away with you and partake in the enjoyment of the experience yourself.
Escape rooms are a great family experience for those with teenage children but are also equally fun for a group of adults.
Your group is placed inside a room or series of rooms and must work your way out by solving a variety of logic puzzles before the time runs out. Escape rooms require teamwork, problem solving and creative thinking and result in a shared sense of achievement.
There are numerous escape rooms throughout the UK including many themed rooms. Most are licensed and include a bar and place to sit and reflect upon your escape room triumph or tribulation.
One we had to include is our very own Parsley Box gift card.
Available in denominations of £20, £30, £40 and £50 our gift vouchers are perfect for loved ones who are already Parsley Box customers or for those you think might enjoy experiencing the convenience of our delivered-to-your-door meals.
Our gift cards can be used for the purchase of any item from our website including food, drinks, merchandise and products from our garden range, and can be purchased and redeemed either online or over the phone with our friendly staff.
Our list is a mere drop in the ocean of experience gifts available for purchase in the UK.
Tempted by any of them or have your own suggestions…?
We’d love to hear from you.