11 epic Hampshire experience days - perfect for Christmas gifts!
Here at Girl About, we are all about memory-making. Spending time with our loved ones, or getting out and about exploring; we value memories over things.
You can give the gift of memories, by purchasing one of these excellent Hampshire experience days. I’ve had the privilege of trying a few of them myself, and I am confident that they would brighten up anyone’s Christmas. It’s important now more than ever that we support local businesses where we can, before they disappear, and this is a really great selection of businesses local to Hampshire!
One of the Hampshire experience days I’ve been fortunate to do myself is a jewellery workshop with Jewellery Moves. Fiona believes ‘the experience is as precious as the jewellery you make’ and she runs pop-up jewellery workshops all around Hampshire (and Wiltshire and Berkshire). I attended one at SP Bar in Andover where I drank delicious cocktails whilst making a set of silver rings. Fiona is a warm and friendly teacher, I think her lovely Scottish accent helps, and she will help even the most uncreative person create a thing of beauty.
Fiona uses high-quality materials in her ring and bangle workshops, and I particularly like the personal touch of hand-stamping meaningful initials and dates within the jewellery itself. You can buy pretty gift cards, and even arrange private group workshops.
Gorilla Spirits, Upton Grey
At Gorilla Spirits there are a range of Hampshire experience days (and evenings) to suit all gin-lovers. My recommendation would be the cocktail experience where the charismatic Harry will guide you through an evening of cocktail-making and sampling. You can read my review of the evening in the handy links section at the bottom of this page.
For a more in-depth journey of discovery there’s the Distillery Tour where you’ll learn all about the origins of gin, and the fantastic relationship with The Gorilla Organisation. Tours last around 1.5 hours and include a large G&T.
If that’s not enough gin for you then there’s always Gin School, where you get to take control of a mini copper still, and create your own gin using whichever botanicals take your fancy! Gorilla Spirits are located in Upton Grey in North Hampshire, and their bottles of gin, vodka, rum and coffee liqueur make lovely gifts in themselves.
Wyrd Spirits, the New Forest
Another great place for distillery experiences is Wyrd Spirits, a small-batch gin producer who blend their botanicals with New Forest spring water. You can purchase either tickets or gift vouchers for the tour of the distillery, which includes a Wyrd Spirits glass to take home. Tours run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and last for around 90 minutes.
There’s also the Wyrd Gin Lab Experience where you have your own copper still, and create your own gin to take home. This experience lasts around 3 hours.
Newlyn's Cookery Courses
For the aspiring chef, or food fanatic in your life then one of Newyln’s cookery courses would make the perfect gift. There are shorter 2.5 hour courses such as the delightful ‘Tapas and Spanish Wine’, ‘Simple Suppers’ or ‘Sushi’. Or for a longer culinary experience then ‘Taste of Italy’ or ‘Easy Entertaining’ are examples of the 5 hour courses. You can even buy butchery courses for the more adventurous recipients.
Newlyn’s is a brilliant farm shop in North Hampshire where you can buy a range of foodie gifts and treats; even your whole Christmas dinner. The cookery school also has a range of courses which are suitable for children – get them trained young!
The Hawk Conservancy, Andover
Support a local charitable trust and buy one of the Hampshire experience days on offer at The Hawk Conservancy near Andover. Whether you know someone who fancies themselves as a professional wildlife photographer, or you just have a kid who LOVES owls – they have an experience for you.
My choice would be a ‘Meet the Burrowers VIP encounter’ which is just £19.50, where you get 30 minutes with the insanely cute Burrower owls who will hop and jump all over you. Other experiences mean you can learn how to fly owls, hawks and vultures. There are over 200 species of owl in the world, and you could meet and fly a range of them on the Owl Experience. You can buy gift vouchers for all of the experiences, so you don’t even need to know the date beforehand.
Brim's Yoga, Otterbourne
You could give the gift of relaxation by buying a gift voucher from the wonderful Denise at Brims Yoga in Otterbourne. Not only does Denise run regular yoga classes from her boutique studio, she also recently launched a series of deep relaxation sessions. Think pre-heated blankets and cosy sheepskins whilst you drift off into a state of meditation listening to the incredibly relaxing tones of her voice.
Her January mini retreat may have sold out, but there will be plenty more events on the horizon.
Spa days, various
On the subject of relaxation; spa days are always a popular choice of present. We are lucky in Hampshire to have a host of luxury spas to choose from. There’s the Herb House spa at Lime Wood Hotel, where the hydro pool looks out onto the majestic trees of the New Forest. Here you can while away the hours by the indoor or outdoor pools and enjoy a nutritious lunch at Raw and Cured. I’ll pop my extended review in the handy links section.
There’s also Chewton Glen, a 5 star hotel and spa on the Hampshire and Dorset border. The customer service here is impeccable and the full body massage comes highly recommended. The Twilight spa experiences are a more affordable way of enjoying true decadence and luxury.
This one isn’t in Hampshire, it’s nearby in Wokingham but Nirvana Spa has to get a mention. I’ve visited for full spa days, and 3 hour experiences and always had a brilliant time. It’s one of those spa resorts which has a wide variety of spots to relax in, whether it’s the Roman colosseum inspired pool area, the Dead Sea flotation pool or the Celestial Floatation experience.
Winchester Coffee School, Winnall
The trend of locally roasted coffee and latte art continues to grow and more and more of us buy fancier coffee machines. If you’d like to improve your milk-frothing skills from plopped on top (hello, it’s me!), to a perfect leaf or swan then you could learn with the Winchester Coffee School.
Courses start from £60 for a home barista course, and Mark and team would love to share their passion and expertise for coffee with you.
Thruxton Racing Circuit
Thruxton is the UKs fastest circuit, making it the perfect place for the petrolheads in your life. The Porsche Cayman experience is just £99 and is classed as the ‘entry level’ experience to get used to driving on the track. Or there’s the Racing Car experience where you’ll feel like an F1 star as you fly around the track, and this includes a drive in the Porsche Cayman too.
For anyone who wants the thrill of speeding around corners, without having to drive themselves then there are experiences where a resident racing driver will take you out in a variety of cars. There are Junior experiences available for over-12s who want to get behind the wheel and learn how to drive safely.
For the ultimate place to find quirky Hampshire experience days then just visit Experience Hampshire. They’ve curated hundreds of local experiences, many of which are completely unique. You can browse by category, and recipient so it’s really simple to find gifts. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to make gelato, throw pottery or ride a Harley Davidson – Experience Hampshire has it all.
You could explore the Hampshire countryside by taking a paddle board lesson, or hire a rib boat to the Isle of Wight. You can even gift distinctive experiences such as a private cooking lesson with celebrity chef Lenny Carr-Roberts. If you sign up to the mailing list you should receive a code for a 10% discount on experiences too, and you can purchase gift vouchers too.
Alison Jane Calligraphy
Do you know someone who is always doodling? Who takes extra effort with their handwriting? Well a calligraphy course with Ali is a great idea for a present for creative types. Calligraphy is a fun skill to learn, ready for a lifetime of practising on cards, name places or maybe decorating your own baubles!
See Ali’s website for the latest course dates and availability.