Culture

Gift guide: The best experience gifts to give this Christmas

From life drawing to salami making, we’ve selected the best workshops and courses to give as a gift this Christmas

Want to up your game in the gift giving stakes this Christmas? Then choose to give an experience, rather than a thing. Here’s five fascinating courses and workshops to give someone this festive season, from baking to drawing.

Get into art at the Royal Drawing School

This 10-week drawing course at the Royal Drawing School is a great gift for anyone who wants to flex their artistic muscle. A step on from a straightforward life drawing class, Life Drawing: Subject and Object examines how objects are inextricably linked to human presence, combining still life and drawing from the figure techniques to offer a unique art experience. Every two weeks there will be a new set-up with a model and a selection of objects, followed by the same scene recreated without the model. Through this, artists can explore how objects change through their relationship with humans, and vice versa. All levels are welcome, and one-to-one feedback will be given to guide students.

£195, 14 January 2019 to 18 March 2019, 6.30 – 9pm, shop now

Discover English sparkling wine

English sparkling wine is fast getting a reputation to parallel – if not better – that of champagne. Introduce the oenophile in your life to some of the country’s best vintages with a tour of an English vineyard. Handily, a lot of these are located in Kent or Sussex, which have the best of the country’s sunshine and climate. Award-winning brand, Chapel Down, which is based in Kent, offers a three-course lunch in their on-site restaurant, followed by an expert guided tour of their vineyard and an extensive tasting session to discover more about their wines.

£100 per person, chapeldown.com

Take to the skies

Learning to fly is high up on most people’s bucket lists. Make it a reality for a someone this Christmas, and treat them to a hands-on flying experience. Fly Days offer a 60-minute flying lessons where the student actually gets to take control of the aeroplane, after a specialist pre-flight briefing with an expert instructor (who will be there the whole time too, of course).

£249, flydays.co.uk

Learn to bake bread

We’ve already raved about the baked goods that Bread Ahead offers in its London bakeries. Now, you can give the gift of great baking skills, and sign someone up to one of their intensive one-day breadmaking courses. Available in both their Borough Market and Pavilion Road bakeries, the course teaches how to make four different types of bread: ciabatta, soda bread, focaccia and a white country loaf. It runs for six and a half hours, and also includes lunch (hopefully consisting of freshly baked bread).

£180, breadahead.com

Make your own salami

Got a gourmand on your hands? Feed their love of the finer things, and get them a salami-making workshop with meat experts London Smoke & Cure. Their three-hour salami classes take place in their HQ in Streatham, and teach students the many steps needed to make a fermented and air-dried salami, from selecting the right pork to butchering it, mincing, filling, fermenting and drying. And, once the class is over and each students’ 1kg salami (worth £40) has dried, they’re posted to them to enjoy at home.

£125, londonsmokeandcure.co.uk