Dorset experience days - The perfect gift guide
Dorset experience days make an ideal gift, for Christmas or all year round.
Here at Girl About we champion all things local, and this year more than ever it is so important to support our local businesses.
We are so lucky in Dorset and The New Forest to have an abundance of wonderful local businesses that offer a variety of classes, days out and experiences to suit all tastes.
Making memories with a loved one will last a lifetime, just think how much they will treasure that time together making or doing something special.
In this guide you will find all sorts of ideas for your Dorset Experience days from cookery schools to animal encounters and gin tasting or a back to nature sculpture visit.
All Hallows Cookery School
Based at All Hallows Farmhouse, in rural Dorset, the cookery school is run by award winning Lisa Osman, a born and bred Dorset local who is passionate about her business and teaching skills over recipes.
The school specialises in AGA cookery classes whether a beginner or a master, or just want to try something new.
This would be the most perfect of Dorset experience days for someone who has just bought an AGA or inherited one that they just don’t know what to do with. I know I wouldn’t have a clue if I found myself faced with cooking on an AGA.
You can choose from bespoke one to one tuition, small friendly group classes or even online in the comfort of your own home.
All classes can be purchased as a gift and will be posted with a hand written card and gift voucher to the address of your choice.
These Dorset Experience days are available to people all over the world and you can even stay on site to complete your experience.
You can also buy a selection of items from their online shop.
Lisa always shares the most tantalising of photos of the recipes she creates and beautiful photos of her flowers and garden, I always love seeing what she posts. I just need the AGA now.
The Kitchen Cookery School - Chewton Glen
Next, A New Forest experience, not only do Chewton Glen provide the best spa days and luxury accommodation, they also offer cookery courses from the talented Gerard Molloy who is “teaching a delectable selection of full-day, half-day, and evening classes that will bring an international flavour to The Kitchen Cookery School, such as Italian Classics, Southeast Asian Street Food, Middle Eastern cuisine, and much more!”.
Throughout the year they also have guest celebrity chefs who come and teach a course, look out for these on their website.
You can choose from full day, half day, and even a kids and teens course which is such a great idea, as a Nutritionist myself I think its so important to get kids cooking and learning how to prepare food themselves.
As Dorset experience days go these would be at the top of my wishlist.
Dorset Nectar Cider Tour and Tasting
We are all used to gin tasting days but how about something different for a Dorset Experience days gift? Try a cider tasting tour in Bridport, West Dorset.
“Learn about the important role of bees in pollinating the apple blossom and have an opportunity to commune with nature in this stunningly beautiful orchard.”
You will learn how the cider is made, how to keep it safe using ancient traditions and a guided tasting of their award-winning artisan craft ciders ranging from fruity to traditional.
Sounds like the perfect gift for a cider lover.
1812 - Cocktail Masterclass
Everyone loves a cocktail and I can’t think of a more fun Dorset experience days than by learning about cocktails with friends or family. At Christmas it could be a festive creation or maybe something to match the time of year at other times.
On arrival receive a delicious Bellini or glass of fizz, learn all about the classic cocktails from a bygone era right up to date with todays creations.
Bakehouse 24 - Bake your own Sourdough and Doughnuts
Situated in my home town of Ringwood, lies Bakehouse 24 a specialist artisan bakery crafting traditional sourdough breads, cakes and pastries. All baked on the premises. I can guarantee this will be the most yummiest of breads you will have tasted.
Every Sunday you can learn the art of sourdough baking with Pete, the owner at Bakehouse 24, by the end of the day not only will you have your own bundle of delicious baked goods to take home but the knowledge to start your own home produced sourdough baking.
New for year 2023 is their doughnut bakery workshop, learn how to make, fry and fill scrumptious doughnuts and take your hard work home to show off to the family.
Gift certificates can be arranged.
Sculptures by the Lakes - Time spent in nature
Give the gift of nature, Dorset experience days don’t come in a more relaxing and tranquil package than visiting the beautiful sculpture park; nestled in gorgeous Dorset countryside.
Explore the peaceful surroundings, marvel at the stunning creations of Simon Gudgeon and many other remarkable artists, shop in the makers yard – a wonderful array of local arts and products, eat fresh local produce in the kitchen and pantry and purchase something special in the gallery.
Buy a day here with a gift voucher or treat someone to membership so they can see the ever changing seasons and new sculptures and exhibitions throughout the year.
Shoreline Sauna - A gift of the sea
Looking for something a bit different, especially for the health conscious recipient?
Shoreline Sauna, situated on the stunning Jurassic coast, boasting stunning views of the beach and historic harbour in Lyme Regis offers a de-stressing and relaxing experience.
Sauna’s originate in Finland and the Finish have a saying “Everyone is created equal, but nowhere more than in a sauna.”
“The benefits of sauna (especially in conjunction with cold water) are said to include reduced stress and anxiety, improved heart health, quicker recovery time after exercise, detoxification of toxins and improved sleep”
It is something I have personally tried and it is both invigorating and relaxing at the same time, and a wonderful additin to my list of Dorset experience days.
New Forest Wildlife Park - An animal lovers gift
For the animal lovers amongst you, treat your loved ones to a keeper experience.
Find out what a day in the life of a wildlife keeper is like, and learn all about the animals there, get up close and personal and see things from a different perspective. My son had a similar gift for one of his birthdays and loved it, it really is a memory they will cherish forever.
You can also buy gift admission vouchers and even adopt an animal, a really special gift to give, knowing you are supporting the upkeep fo these beautiful creatures.
Although not in Dorset, it is just inside the New Forest National Park right on the border so a lovely addition to my guide.
Monkey World - A guided tour
Next on my list of animal encounter Dorset experience days out, is Monkey World, give the gift of a guided talk and tour, taking in the 65 acre park and learning all about the primates and how they came to be rescued and their rehabilitation.
If you’d love to gift this to someone not in the Dorset area you can even buy a virtual tour, you can even choose which primates you’d like to see.
You are also supporting a very worthwhile cause and helping the animals care.
Liberty's - Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre
Lots to choose from at Liberty’s from Photography days, workshops and Dorset experience days where you can really see nature first hand, to Birds of Prey experience days where you can be a falconer for the day, or an Owl experience where you can handle many of these extraordinary birds and have the thrill of flying one yourself.
Spa days - Relax and Unwind
In Dorset and the New Forest we are lucky to have a wonderful selection of spa’s to choose from and here are a few of my favourites.
Chewton Glen – the ultimate in luxury and delivering the best massage i’ve ever had, a spa day here would be a wonderful gift to receive, with amazing healthy food and beautiful surroundings it would probably be my first choice if i was to ask for Dorset experience days gifts.
Carey’s Manor – another New Forest spa with an amazing hydrotherapy centre and traditional Thai massages, and a Thai lunch to complete your day, what more could anyone ask for.
Monart Spa in Poundbury, Dorset, recently voted number one day Spa in Dorset, Somerset and Bristol in the 2022 Muddy Stiletto Awards, provides a 5 star spa day experience, choose from a full day with a treatment or half day or thermal only offers. A gift of pure relaxation.