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Making memories can last far longer than that bright new shiny toy opened on Christmas day, which is why gifting an experience this Christmas is something that you should be thinking about.
Christmas is traditionally a time of giving. A chance to show your family, your children, friends, neighbours, and extended family how much you care. Choosing a gift can be difficult at times, especially when you put added pressure on yourself to get things right. Obviously, Christmas isn’t just about the gifts, it is all about quality time and spreading joy and love amongst the people you care about. But that doesn’t mean to say that you don’t want to give a gift to someone you care about. Sometimes it can feel like you are buying for buying sake, am I right?
- Experiences to Gift this Christmas
- Festive Experiences
- Days out and Trips
- Spa Days and Indulgence
- Action and Adventure
Experiences to Gift this Christmas
This is where giving the gift of an experience can be such a good idea. Many people are considering this option as a gift for their family and friends. In some cases, Christmas can be overwhelming with gifts, and an experience gives that person the chance to not only enjoy the excitement of what is to come but enjoy the experience at a later date as well. However, what sort of experiences are a good gift at Christmas? No matter what age or gender, here are some of the best experiences that you could gift this Christmas.
CBeebies Panto: Robin Hood
Modern Films Family in partnership with BBC Studios Kids & Family, the BBC family channel CBeebies and BBC Children in Need are excited to share the brand new trailer for this year’s CBeebies Panto Robin Hood, available in cinemas from 1st December 2023!
CBeebies has once again taken to the stage for Christmas 2023, with a brand new adaptation of the famous British legend. It was filmed live at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno Wales and will include original extra scenes and fun added in too just for cinema audiences.
This adaptation of the traditional story will see Robin Hood and his Merry Band protecting Sherwood Forest and its animal inhabitants from the Sheriff of Nottingham, who has a very naughty plan to destroy the wood of its riches for her own benefit.
Book your tickets now at cbeebiespanto.com
Gingerbread Decorating Workshop at St MArtin In The Fields
New for 2023, St Martin’s is hosting gingerbread decorating workshops for children in the stunning St Martin’s Gallery, next to the Crypt Café. Children will have the chance to decorate gingerbread biscuits, baked by hand by St Martin’s Head Chef and shaped into an array of festive shapes including stars, Christmas trees and gingerbread people. Santa’s Elves will tell tales full of festive cheer of Santa’s love of gingerbread and lead a sing-along finale of Christmas songs with the children.
This 45-minute session is an ideal way to get creative this festive season! Warming glasses of mulled wine will be available for adults to purchase while the little ones decorate their biscuits, or you can pop to the café for special hot chocolate. At the end of the session, children can take their festive creations with them as gingerbread treats to enjoy and share at home, and Gingerbread decorating kits are able to buy in the shop as a perfect souvenir of your visit.
Suitable for children aged 4+, the Gingerbread Decorating Workshops are available on Saturdays and Sundays from Saturday 25 November, and daily from Monday 18 December until Sunday 23 December. Workshops run on the hour from 10am. Tickets are £20 for one child and up to two accompanying adults. Every child requires a separate ticket, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Days out and Trips
Frameless – Immersive Art Experience
With a festive twist for Christmas, FRAMELESS is a cultural exhibit that even the kids will love!
A day out with a difference and guaranteed to inspire and entertain all ages, you’ll explore the 42 masterpieces from 29 iconic artists from Van Gogh to Dalí, each reimagined through cutting-edge technology, and discover an unexpected world spanning 30,000 square feet in the heart of Central London, just steps from Oxford Street and Marble Arch.
Alongside the four main galleries, there is a new festive-inspired artist residency beginning from 25th November exploring the wonder of the Northern Lights, a specially designed seasonal food and drinks offering in the stunning Café-Bar, and a gift shop brimming with unique present ideas.
Discover more at www.frameless.com
Location: 6 Marble Arch, London W1H 7AP
What’s Christmas without a big game of Monopoly? This year, raise the stakes in a Unique 4D Gaming Experience for all the family!
- Crown the ultimate Monopoly champion in this physical version of the world’s favourite board game, where each square acts as an immersive escape room!
- Perfect for family bonding in the run-up to Christmas, you will work to complete challenges, build houses, charge rent, escape jail and even control London’s waterworks whilst earning as much money as you can.
- Hotly discuss the game’s antics afterwards at the ‘Top Hat Bar & Restaurant’, complete with a delicious Monopoly-inspired menu which is bringing a touch of festive sparkle this month. From the ‘Brie Parking Christmas Burger’ to a delectable ‘Mulled Apple Martini’, Top Hat is offering visitors an array of seasonal snacks and tipples.
- Choose your family’s favourite board with a choice between Classic, Luxury, City, and Classic: Own It All
- Located in the heart of London, Monopoly Lifesized includes real-life characters of the legendary board game Tokens as their guides – adding to the family fun for all ages!
- Tickets from £49 pp and Family tickets available with a 20% discount
Discover more at www.monopolylifesized.com
Location: 213-215 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PS
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve
Treat your loved ones to unforgettable moments at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve this Christmas by gifting them one of the Reserve’s glorious gift vouchers. The 600-acre Reserve is Kent’s biggest wildlife park and offers something for everyone, from safari experiences, animal encounters, decadent dining and unique overnight stays.
Instead of leaving a traditional gift under the Christmas tree this year, why not present your loved ones with the perfect experience to make 2024 a truly unforgettable year? What could be a more perfect present than a shared experience, chosen with love and care for those closest to you? Experiences lead to richer memories compared to memories attached to material objects and give a truly personal touch.
Gift Voucher for Safari and Animal Lovers
For your animal-loving friends and family, the incredibly flexible Howletts and Port Lympne gift voucher is valid for all animal experiences, special safaris, annual passes and day tickets at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve or their sister site, Howletts Wild Animal Park.
Whether your loved one is crazy for big cats, or gaga for giraffes and gorillas, there is an unforgettable animal encounter for everyone. Animal encounters offer guests the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite species, spend time with their dedicated Keepers and ask all the questions they’ve always wanted to ask the friendly animal experts at Port Lympne or Howletts.
- Ranger Tour (1 hr 30 mins) £30 – Exclusive VIP ranger-guided tour giving guests the chance to explore the Port Lympne Safari route and its many species, including giraffe, black and white rhino, zebra, wolves, bears and many more.
- Giraffe Safari (2 hrs) £75 – A Giraffe Safari gives guests the chance to actually hand feed Port Lympne’s large herd of giraffes and explore the safari route getting up close and personal to zebras, camels, rhinos, bears and many more.
- AAA Safari (2 hrs 30 mins) £105 – Access All Areas Safari explores the Port Lympne safari route and its many species, allowing guests to have the chance to hand feed the large herd of giraffes and also their rhinos, as well as get up close to zebras, camels, bears and many more.
- Gorilla Encounter (30 mins) £85 – If gorillas are a favourite why not treat your loved one to an up close and personal experience at Port Lympne’s Palace of the Apes? Have the chance to see the new baby gorilla face to face and actually feed the beautiful family of gorillas.
- Gorilla Scatter Feed (15 mins) £30 – If you are mad about gorillas, come and meet the Silverbacks to feed them in their garden
- Brown Bear Scatter Feed (15 mins) £45 – If you are barmy for bears, come and meet our brown bears to feed them their favourite treats
- Baboon Scatter Feed (15 mins) £15 – Meet the keepers and feed this crazy species
- Bison Scatter Feed (15 mins) £15 – Scatter feed and learn about how we are able to protect them
Gift Voucher for Foodies
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve offers a wide range of Christmas vouchers, catering for all tastes and interests. If you are shopping for a foodie loved one, consider Port Lympne’s delicious festive Afternoon Tea. What better way to indulge than with a lusciously refined afternoon tea in the grand environment of the Port Lympne mansion, bathed in the glow of a crackling log fire?
The lucky recipient of your thoughtful gift will settle down to enjoy this quintessentially British classic in the historic surroundings of one of England’s finest Grade II listed country houses, once a favourite retreat for royalty, aristocracy, prominent politicians, authors and playwrights. If a Sunday Roast is more their style, then the Port Lympne’s dining gift vouchers are valid on any menu at the stunning Garden Room Restaurant and Bar, all with the option to add full access to the sprawling animal reserve to provide the perfect day out.
- Afternoon Tea – £29pp plus park ticket (required)
- Sunday Roast – 2-course £42pp, 3-course from £47pp – includes access to Port Lympne Reserve
Warner Bros. Studios Tour London
Ever since the incredible Warner Bros. Studio Tour London opened its doors at Leavesden in 2012, Potterheads have flocked in their thousands to explore breathtaking sets, intricate props and iconic costumes.
Venture through the Forbidden Forest and come face-to-face with Aragog in his lair and stroke Hagrid’s beloved Buckbeak. Bask in the glory of the Great Hall in the company of spellbinding statues and costumes. Avid Quidditch fans get the chance to study the evolution of Harry’s legendary Quidditch kit. With so much to take in from start to finish, it’s sure to be a Potter overload for muggle fans of all ages!
Visit WBStudioTour for more information.
Spa Days and Indulgence
Bannatyne Spa Day
If a healthy dose of R&R is long overdue, find sanctuary at a Bannatyne Health Club. Pick from locations across the UK and enjoy a day dedicated to your well-being. Discover state-of-the-art gym facilities, luxury swimming pools and a range of spa facilities to help you to relax and unwind. Once you’re fully acquainted with the facilities, head over to a treatment room for 40 minutes of blissful treatments.
You’ll choose from three packages which include a range of express massages, replenishing facials and soothing foot treatments. There’s no better way to relieve yourself from the stresses of everyday life, to soothe the mind and lift your spirit.
Visit Red Letter Days for more information.
Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie
A pillar of British culture and enshrined into our daily lives, the world wouldn’t seem complete without a good cuppa in hand. And what better way to enjoy an excellent brew than with a tantalising selection of finger fancies to enjoy over a catch-up with a friend?
Settle into the quaint surroundings of Patisserie Valerie for an afternoon tea treat like no other. Sandwiches and delicate cakes, along with clotted cream and jam smothered over fresh scones, make up this gorgeous spread.
Visit Red Letter Days for more information.
Action and Adventure
Discover Ancient Egypt in VR at Horizon of Khufu
In a new era for virtual reality, doors are now open for Horizon of Khufu, where travellers voyage back in time 4,500 years ago to Ancient Egypt. Following its international success, the virtual reality adventure transports culture seekers to the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world and land of the Pharaohs.
Since its opening this October, visitors to Westfield Stratford City, the world-class retail district, have been able to enjoy an archaeological treasure without ever leaving London. Travellers crawl through ancient burial chambers, witness mummification ceremonies and navigate the Nile by boat to attend the funeral of King Khufu, creator of the Giza Pyramids.
Developed by leading virtual reality studio Excurio in partnership with Egyptologist, Peter Der Manuelian from the Giza Archives Project at Harvard University, Horizon of Khufu uncovers 1,000 square metres of ancient ruins. This new format, called Immersive Expeditions, allows large numbers of visitors in the same space to experience a 45-minute expedition simultaneously with 360° views at the top of the only Great Wonder still standing.
Harnessing a sensational combination of archaeological and historical data, the immersive expedition recreates an ancient civilisation built 4,000 years ago in a format unrivalled anywhere else in the UK. Travellers will never break a sweat climbing the 146-metre-high building and are led by a virtual guide named Mona who unveils the King’s ancient secrets and tombs as the sun sets.
Whether yearning for an adventure or unique historical experience, Horizon of Khufu is suitable for ages eight and up and is the perfect family holiday with no flights required. Horizon of Khufu will bring members of the public an unparalleled sensory experience going beyond the limits of modern virtual reality.
Discover more on the Horizon of Khufu website
Location: Westfield Stratford City, Unit SU1060, The Street 1, Ground Floor, London E20 1EJ
Up at The O2 Climb
See views of London like never before as you scale the iconic O2 with a friend and stand atop the city landmark! You’ll be provided with all the safety gear you’ll need, including grippy boots, a safety harness and a jacket, and will be attached to the safety rail and allowed to climb your way to the top. Your guide will be around during the experience to answer any questions you might have about the structure or the surrounding area.
Once you reach the top you’ll be given plenty of time to take in the view and snap any photos of the views over Canary Wharf and beyond.
Visit Buyagift for more information.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving Experience
Have you always wanted to skydive but want a taster before you take the plunge? Then why not try an exhilarating indoor skydive experience at a choice of iFLY locations. You will each enjoy two spine-tingling flights, the equivalent freefall time of three 12,000ft skydives. Using a wind tunnel that is similar to those used to test F1 racing cars, you will float in the air! This unforgettable experience also includes a full safety briefing and a full kit.
Visit Buyagift for more information.
Arsenal Emirates Stadium Tour
The ultimate interactive tour is now available as you go behind the scenes at the Emirates Stadium for a tour like none other. This fantastic audio tour allows you to guide yourself around the stadium at your own pace, taking in the press conference area, the first team dressing room and of course, a walk out of the tunnel to the imagined roar of the Arsenal crowd. Listen on as Arsenal legends past and present talk you through their own experiences of pulling on the famous red and white jersey and even hear from the gaffer himself in the changing room.
Once you have finished the tour you will have full access to the fascinating Arsenal Museum, where you can travel through the illustrious history of your club.
Visit Buyagift for more information.