From high tea to the high skies in a spitfire: we round up the best experience gifts to give this Christmas.

We’ve all got those hard to buy for people on our gift lists: the picky ones, the ones who have everything they need, or simply those who are sustainably minded and thus not looking for more ‘things’. This year, rather than a last-minute panic-buy, how about treating them to an experience gift instead? A day out indulging in pampering, fine dining or their favourite hobby; there is an experience gift to suit all tastes, pockets and ages, from a chocolate making masterclass to flying in a WW2 spitfire. If you want to create memories this Christmas, here is our top pick of experience gifts to treat them to.

Afternoon Tea For Two At Fortnums, £120

A 300-year old tradition, you can be sure Fortnum & Mason knows how to lay on a fine spread. Enjoy a Champagne afternoon tea with all the trimmings in the glamour and grandeur of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon to toast in the New Year. Book it.

Pork Pie Workshop And Steam Train Journey For Two, £157

A charming gift for a train-mad child and their parent or grandparent. Enjoy learning how to make a traditional Melton Mowbray pork pie from scratch, then set off on an atmospheric steam train journey with picnic in hand to enjoy as you hop on and off the circular route. Book it.

Flight In A WW2 Spitfire, £2,975

A true bucket list experience, book this and you’ll take flight in one of only 53 operational spitfires left in the world. The 30-minute flight is piloted by a current or ex-RAF pilot, so you can relax in safe hands and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime view. Book it.

Crystal Maze Experience Live For Two, £90

Live out your 90s fantasy and take part in the immersive adventure as you and a friend battle against the clock to solve puzzles and win the crystal. Travel through the zones and end your day catching tokens in the iconic crystal dome. Book it.

Alice In Wonderland Escape Room For Four, £90

Quite literally escape down the rabbit hole in this VR experience into the fictional world of mysteries and magic spells. Interact with all the characters, including the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat and overcome a series of challenges to defeat the Queen of Hearts. Book it.

Design Your Own Perfume Experience For Two, £118

Perfect for a fragrance aficionado, spend the afternoon learning about the perfume-making process and how to identify singular notes before blending your own personalised scent to take home. Book it.

Afternoon Cheese On A Barge for Two, £54

A great Afternoon Tea alternative for those without a sweet tooth, step aboard the Cheese Barge in the Paddington Basin and sample six British cheeses with accompanying wine whilst you watch the busy canal life slip by. Book it.

Bean To Bar Chocolate Marking Experience For One, £65

The perfect gift for a chocolate lover looking to deepen their knowledge and skills in the art of chocolate making. Set in the Cocoa Vaults at Hotel Chocolat’s Convent Garden store, be led by an expert to learn the chocolatier technique of tempering, how to pair flavours and understand the journey from bean to bar. Book it.

Tank Passenger Ride Experience, £29

Not one for the faint-hearted and certainly an experience for war historians or petrol heads, jump aboard the 15-tonne armoured tank, complete with 6.5 litre Rolls Royce engine and gun turret to take on the bumps and thrills of an off-road course through the Oxfordshire countryside. Book it.

By Lydia Mansi
November 2022

Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.