Experience day gift ideas for Christmas

Caroline Cassidy

The Christmas shopping season is here once again and Brits up and down the country will be trawling the Internet and the high street for that ideal gift. But if you want to give a friend, family member or loved one something really special this year, an experience day might be just the thing. Check out our guide to the best available.

Car driving day
Car driving day

The Ultimate Supercar Experience most certainly provides a day to remember - following a briefing from qualified instructors, it's time to hold on tight for a thrill as you swap between a Ferrari 360, a Porsche 911 Carrera, Lamborghini Gallardo and Aston Martin DB9, each with a dedicated instructor. Available nationwide with treatme.net for £349.

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For those that would prefer to see how the pros do it, the Pirelli Pro Rally Blast promises a few white knuckles as MR Rally drivers Matt Stephens and Miles Johnston show off their slides and handbrake turns while you cling to the co-driver's seat. An hour's thrill-ride costs £47.96 from buyagift.co.uk, and you get entry to the pro event at the venue of your choice.

But if you prefer a more hardcore vehicle, why not try the Ultimate Tank Driving Experience, where you'll get full tuition from ex-forces instructors as you master a Chieftain Tank, Abbot Self Propelled Gun, Armoured Personnel Carrier and quad bike. £169 from ExElement.

Adrenaline junkies
There are so many opportunities for thrill-seekers we barely know where to begin - from indoor skydiving, paintballing and bungee jumping, there are experiences aplenty.

For instance, if you've ever wanted to roll down a hill at 30mph in a giant hamster ball, then sphereing or zorbing is most definitely for you (with a no-harness water-soaked option available).

Or if trial by fire is more your thing, then why not master the art of walking over hot coals with a smouldering 1000 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit beneath your feet. And since you'll get expert instruction, try walking across a bed of broken glass for a doubly extreme experience.

And for the sporty types, an introduction to the hottest new extreme sports, wakeboarding, is a surefire winner.

Fearless flyers
Experience days offer more than one way to take to the skies and if a jumbo jet isn't quite thrilling enough for you, how about a 30-minute microlight flight. In just half an hour you will learn all about these lightweight aircraft and even take control as you fly over the breathtaking landscape below. Available in locations across the UK for £69 from intotheblue.co.uk.

Or get as close to a bird as possible in a glider. Experience the wonder of powerless (and silent) flight as you catch some thermals and glide gently back to earth. Nationwide vouchers available for £99, also from intotheblue.co.uk.
Civilised and scrummy
For a very English experience that any traditional family member will enjoy, why not take afternoon tea at the Park Lane Hotel (£65 with Virgin Experience Days). Enjoy incredible pastries, fine teas and service that's second-to-none, all within the beautiful art deco setting of the Palm Court.

Alternatively, treat the whole family or six of your very best friends with an exclusive dinner at The Smart School of Cookery in Essex. Eating in a private room with your very own professional chef on show, you can choose from an extensive range of menus or challenge your culinary professional with the theme of your choice. Priced at £279, also with Virgin Experience Days.

Romantic gestures
If romance and a little quality time with your partner is what you crave then why not try something a little different to the usual weekend break away.

Picture fabulous views, open fires, meditation and reiki healing - all from the comfort of a traditional Tepee. You'll get all the joy of natural surroundings with the comfort of sheepskin rugs, a double bed and holistic therapies... the perfect gift.

Have you enjoyed the experience of a lifetime? Tell us about it below...