So, you missed out on the Black Friday sales and are now in a tizz over what to buy for your family this Christmas. But before you panic-buy a pair of gardening gloves for your auntie (who doesn’t even have a garden), we’re here to tell you there’s a better way.
Experiential gifts are the future. The create memories, often develop or provide a new skill, and, most importantly, they can be bought and delivered (providing you have a printer) from the comfort of your sofa.
Maybe your best friend has always fancied herself as a DJ, or your pal George really wants to get into painting, or your mum might even want to learn how to make the perfect cocktail. Whatever it is, we’ve got you covered with our experiential gift guide.
For the foodie
Greenwich Pantry: There’s a class for every wannabe chef at this family-run food boutique. You can give the gift of sushi making, vegan baking or the opportunity to create an Indian feast. Prices start at £59.
Biscuiteers School of Icing Workshop: These workshops teach beautiful, intricate icing skills and leave you with a tin-full of decorated biscuits to take home and enjoy afterwards. Give this biscuit-y gift to your housemate, and you might even get to try a few of their creations.
Cook Italian With Me: These hands-on, small cooking classes are perfect for those wanting to learn new skills and meet people along the way. From Gnocchi to Tiramisu, there’s a wide range of Italian dishes to perfect for £45.
Cook and Speak: Give the gift of French culinary skills and French language skills in one for £45 with these unique classes. Classes are open to bon viveurs of all speaking and cooking levels – Bon Appetit.
Migrateful Cookery Classes: Your loved ones can discover international recipes and try out new languages at these homely cooking classes where asylum seekers, refugees and migrants teach their traditional cuisines to the public. Classes cost £37.90
For the booze nerds
Gin Journey: A gift for the gin lovers out there. Sample five different gins and five cocktails as you’re chauffeured from bar to bar in your gin carriage by Gin Journey. A night of Mother’s Ruin will set you back £74.63
London Cocktail Club: This masterclass at London Cocktail Club will teach you how to make three cocktails and treat you to one upon arrival. A great gift for mixologists in training.
The Beer and Cider Academy: You know that mate you have who fancies himself as a beer connoisseur and practically lives in at his local brewery? This is made for them. The Beer and Cider Academy teaches its pupils about all stages of the beer and cider-making, from fermentation to picking the right flavours.
Candle Making and Cocktails: Cocktails and candles may seem an odd combination but here it makes perfect sense. Or incense. Picture your pal sipping on a Negroni as they sample fragrances and essential oils to create the perfect scent. One ticket = £34.70.
World Wine Tour Wine Tasting Workshop: If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a wine fanatic, look no further. This irreverent and informal wine tasting workshop run by Gilbert Winfield is a fun and accessible way to learn a bit more about everyone’s favourite drink.
For the sporty
Swedish Fit: The hugely popular Swedish Fit provides a warm-up, cardio, strength and stretching all in an hour. It may sound intense, but the focus is on having fun and moving to the beat, which makes it the perfect gift for a fitness fanatic.
Jomba: This high-energy fitness class is the ideal gift for those who find the gym a little boring. Forget Zumba, because at Jomba you can burn up to 1,200 calories a class, and jump around while you do it. Classes cost only £13.52, which is an added bonus.
Lightbox Yoga: Start with a traditional yoga class, then add 25,000 LED lights, immersive visuals and a live DJ – and you’ve got Lightbox Yoga. Fitness never sounded so fun. You can gift it for only £16.
Rave Fit: This rave-inspired cardio class allows you to burn calories and get fit in a club atmosphere. Classes cost £16.
Dance Classes at Drink, Shop & Do: Master some iconic dance routines at Drink, Shop & Do’s quirky classes, from Jingle Bell Rock from Mean Girls) to Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Hit Me Baby One More Time.
For the crafty
Organic Soap Making Workshop: This soap-making workshop will make a lovely, thoughtful gift for the beauty fanatic in your life. Attendees can choose herbs and flowers suited to their dermatological needs and create luxurious organic soap to take home and enjoy.
Make 100% Natural Beauty Products: Beauty products are great, but making your own beauty products is even better. At this class, you can learn how to make delicious-smelling body scrubs, lip balms and more to keep for yourself or give as a gift to friends!
Make Your Own at Peckham Levels: There are plenty of great Make Your Own experiences on offer at Peckham Levels. From Chalkboard Illustration to Make Your Own Printed Tea Towels, there’s something for every craft-conscious South Londoner.
Drink, Shop & Do Gift Vouchers: There are more crafty activities than you can shake a stick at Drink, Shop & Do, so why not gift a voucher so your friends or family can have a go at papier mache, clay making Elvis or even ‘Sass Your Socks’. Sounds crafty!
PopUp Painting: The wannabe artisté in the family can paint like Banksy, Picasso and more with a wine glass in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other at these beginner classes.
For the culture seeker
Barbican Membership: The Barbican Centre hosts a plethora of amazing exhibitions, films, music and theatre. Gift someone a membership for £59, so they can enjoy free exhibitions access, 20% off cinema and more.
Tate Membership: Help someone get their culture fix and a year of unlimited art with a Tate Membership. This includes exclusive access to three stunning Members Rooms, so you can escape the crowds and enjoy some private exhibitions.
Southbank Centre Membership: A Southbank Centre Membership entitles that lucky someone to first dibs on huge gigs, massive talks and Insta-worthy exhibitions, not to mention the Members only cafe with stunning views over London. Single membership costs £65.
Introduction to Teaching Pointe Work: Give an on pointe pressie in the form of introductory ballet teaching classes at the Royal Academy of Dance. This class teaches the history of Pointe work and provides pointers such as picking appropriate shoes and using the right vocabulary.
National Art Pass: This mega art pass provides access to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, which makes it the ultimate gift for a culture vulture. Individual membership costs £67.
For the learner
Urban Photography Safari: This is made for someone who wants to step up their photography game and explore the city at the same time. The class is run by award-winning documentary photographer James Millar and is suitable for all skill levels.
Make Your Own Hanging Indoor Herb Gardens: The green-fingered Londoner can learn all about different kinds of herbs and how to plant, grow and nurture your very own indoor garden at this upcycling class.
Writing Workshops: Writing workshops are a great way for the aspiring journalist to spend a day perfecting their skills and meeting new people. This Guardian workshop teaches the skills of long-form journalism.
Hidden London Tours: London’s disused stations and secret sites are your oyster on these London Transport Museum tours, where you can learn the myths and memories of abandoned tubes and the underworld of the city.
Shoreditch Street Art Tours: Shoreditch is home to some impressive street art, and this popular tour explores the newest and best in class, painting a vivid picture of East London’s street art and graffiti scene.
For the music lover
DJ Courses at London Sound Academy: Help a pal graduate from bedroom DJ with these pro-taught DJ courses, designed to get you up and running as a newbie DJ or producer. A taster course costs £80.
Royal Albert Hall Gift Vouchers: Plug in to 390 events a year, from Rock and Pop to Classical, with some gift vouchers to the iconic Royal Albert Hall.
David Bowie Musical Walking Tour: This 2.5 hour Bowie-centred guided tour of Brixton takes fans through the icon’s musical career with live performances along the way to bring the experience to life.
Concert tickets: Live music is a gift that keeps on giving, and London has an endless variety of amazing gigs to buy for a grateful mate or loved one. Every month, we showcase the best taking place on our music calendar.