6 of the UK’s best experiences to gift this Christmas

Seaham Hall is just moments from Durham's Heritage Coast
Seaham Hall is just moments from Durham's Heritage Coast   -   Copyright  Seaham Hall
By Hannah Brown

We’ve all got a lot of stuff these days, and frankly no one wants or needs any more clutter. But what we’ve all been missing out on over the past two years is spending time with loved ones.

So this Christmas, why not gift an experience and spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest?

And, as an added bonus, you’ll have much less wrapping to do. Plus, with nearly one in five Christmas gifts destined for landfill, you’ll be helping to reduce waste too.

Here are a few of our favourites :

Take to the skies

Strathaven Hotel, situated about 20 miles south of central Glasgow in Scotland may seem like your typical country house hotel. However, as well as serving up the usual afternoon tea, they can also teach you how to fly.

So why not give the adventurer in your life a trip to remember, with dinner, bed, breakfast, and a one-to-one flying lesson. But don’t worry, the lesson isn’t with the hotel receptionist, all classes are run by a UK Civil Aviation Authority licensed instructor.

During the lesson, there’s a fly by photo opportunity too so don’t forget your camera.

Sit back, relax and…bathe in wine?

AIRE Ancient Baths, London is a sanctuary in the heart of Covent Garden. Based on the ancient bathing traditions of the Roman, Greek, and Ottoman civilizations in a restored historic building, AIRE offers something a bit more than your regular spa day.

For an especially remarkable gift, why not give the Couples Wine Bath experience?

AIRE
Is this a wine lover's dream?AIRE

Guests are submerged together in an antioxidant rich formulation made of tempranillo grapes in a 17th Century Venetian Well bath. Once they’re finished bathing, couples can soothe their bodies with a 60-minute full body massage with grape seed oil, transporting the mind to a deep state of relaxation.

AIRE offers a gift now, book later system so the recipient can pick the perfect time for them. And don’t worry if your loved one isn’t in a couple, they also offer an individual version of the Wine Bath experience.

Get back to nature

There’s something very satisfying about going outside and getting your hands dirty. Cotswold Hideaways have teamed up with Cotswold National Landscapes to offer two experiences and two courses to help us get back to nature.

Our pick is the Call of The Wild Woodland Experience. Bring out your inner woodsman (or woman) and learn to collect and chop firewood, build a campfire and cook in the open air.

If you’re not sure which experience to pick, you can buy a voucher and let your loved one choose instead.

Cotswolds Hideaways
Get back to basics in this one day outdoor experienceCotswolds Hideaways

Get creative

Set in Scotland’s stunning Loch Lomond and the Trossach’s national park, a trip to Gartmore House is the perfect gift for the budding artist in your life.

The historic building has been transformed into an activity holiday destination and offers everything from creative writing and vocal coaching to calligraphy, upholstery and stained glass.

If spending time inside isn’t their thing, Gartmore also offers a range of outdoor activities including archaeology and drone photography.

Buy a voucher here.

Gartmore House
There's a craft for everyoneGartmore House

Make a splash

It seems like every man and his dog has bought a paddleboard over the last 18 months. But if you’re looking for a gift for someone who’s still yet to try it, why not give them a day exploring the River Thames? Based in Marlow, Moose Canoe Hire also offers kayaks and canoes for half day or full day adventures.

Gift vouchers are available here.

Have a little break

Set just a few hundred metres back from the beach, 5* Seaham Hall in County Durham is the perfect destination for a taste of luxury.

The Georgian mansion is surrounded by 37 acres of grounds and was the setting of the poet Lord Byron’s wedding back in 1815.

Seaham Hall
The Ada Lovelace suite at Seaham HallSeaham Hall

You can send your loved one to stay in one of Seaham’s six unique suites, some of which come with their own wood fired hot tub. While there, they can spend the day at the spa, or dine in either the modern British dining room or the relaxed Pan-Asian restaurant.

Gift vouchers are available for the restaurants, the spa or stays.