Unforgettable experience days near Durham – perfect for a Christmas gift
Experiences over things – those are the words we all seem to live by these days. Time spent with those we love making memories are more precious than yet more “stuff”. Shopping local has also become more important than ever and here in the North East we love to support our small, independent businesses! With that in mind I’ve written a fantastic guide to the most unforgettable experience days near Durham – perfect for a Christmas gift or a day out before the Christmas madness begins.
From spa days to cookery classes, gin making to wellness sessions I have it all covered. Read on and find the perfect gifts for that someone special in your life.
The Glamorous Owl, Jewellery Making in Newcastle
Down the quaint cobbled back streets of Old George Yard you will stumble across The Glamorous Owl. Owner Claire Chapman runs jewellery making workshops where you can make rings, bracelets and even your wedding bands. I had the pleasure of attending a ring making session with my daughter and we had a fantastic morning, leaving with a beautiful piece of jewellery that I had made myself.
You will be expertly guided through the process by one of the team and will be supported every step of the way. From starting with a small roll of silver, measuring, moulding, smouldering and engraving, the team will help you to produce a beautiful piece of jewellery. The Glamorous Owl is also a gift shop which showcases work from over 40 local artists, you are guaranteed to leave with something special! This is a gorgeous gift, great for a girl’s day out and perfect for difficult to buy for teens.
La Chocolatrice. Chocolate workshops in Durham
La Choctolatrice was founded in 2019 by Zoe, the North East’s very own chocolatier extraordinaire! After living in France, testing out lots of chocolate and training with some of the best chocolatiers, she set up the first chocolate school in County Durham.
This is the place to go if you love chocolate. With sustainability at its heart and everything either biodegradable or recyclable, it’s the perfect guilt free experience. You can choose from private or group experiences and can try your hand at truffle making and a range of seasonal workshops. Zoe and her team will take you through the step-by-step process but be prepared to get messy! You’ll get the chance to test lots of chocolate and take home all of your creations – what better way to delight the chocolate lovers in your life!
Durham Coffee – coffee making workshops in Durham
Durham Coffee is a family business owned by father and daughter team Bernhard and Carina. Keen to share their passion for coffee, the pair run barista courses here in the North East.
Choose from two courses – the coffee lover’s beginners guide or the coffee lover’s barista course. Both have been created to support you to develop your coffee brewing skills and take them to the next level. Deepen your coffee knowledge and learn how to prepare the perfect coffee at home using a variety of methods. Learn how to make the perfect steamed milk to top up your latte and how to produce a top-quality espresso. You’ll soon be impressing your family and friends with your newfound skills.
The pottery Experience, Jesmond , Newcastle
I love that the motto of the Pottery Experience is “We pride ourselves on ensuring everyone, no matter their age or ability enjoys their experience and has something handmade and unique to take home and feel proud of.” Whether it’s a family visit or a girly catch up, the pottery experience caters for everyone. This is one of the reasons I have included this experience as one of the unforgettable experience day near Durham that’s perfect for a Christmas gift or a treat for yourself.
Choose from two different experiences. A pick and paint session where you can select one of the premade clay pots, cups or plates to paint and stencil yourself. The second experience is to make your item from scratch! You’ll start with a piece of clay then with help from one of the team, mould and shape it to create your individual piece. You’ll get to enjoy a lovely cup of tea and some cake from the inhouse café too.
The Herbal Gin Company Durham
The lightbulb moment for this wonderful business was during a trip to Scotland, and it became reality in a relatively short space of time due to the popularity of the gin. Next came the ultimate gin experience which involves YOU making (and tasting) the gin.
The herbal gin experience will take you behind the scenes on a tour of the distillery and give you an insight into how the gin is made and let you into the secrets of making that perfect gin blend.
After the tour you will choose your own botanicals and begin to craft you own recipe in the gin lab. With experts on hand, you will experience distilling and bottling your gin. And the best bit – you get to take it home to impress family and friends! Your recipe will then be filed in the gin library for future gifts.
Blackfriars Cookery School, Newcastle
Have you always wished you could cook up a storm and impress your family and friends? Blackfriars Cookery school is the leading cookery school in Newcastle and provides a huge selection of cookery workshops for all ability levels. Choose from bread making, world foods, seasonal dessert masterclasses, vegetarian and vegan cooking and much more. You’ll have the experts on hand to help you develop your culinary skills and take your cooking from amateur to something really special.
My children have taken part in the children’s cookery classes in the past and they were fantastic, very professional but fun at the same time. Cookery classes are held evenings and weekends making them accessible for even the busiest of people. Attached is a stunning restaurant which would be the perfect place to eat after your class and is set in the friary’s former refectory. It is believed to be the oldest dining room in the UK!
Sarah Seed wellness coach, North East
Sarah is an amazing wellness coach who provides support in a variety of ways to help you gain clarity on your goals, your sense of self and what you really want from life. Sarah is an inspiration in that her journey to becoming a life coach was because of obstacles she has navigated with determination and resilience. Sarah is empathetic but has many strategies to allow you to move closer to living the life you dream of.
Sarah offers one to one coaching session and also a variety of workshops which you can find out about on her website and social media.
Sarah is running a workshop at the beginning of December called ‘Open your eyes’ and looks at ways to help women who feel overwhelmed, lost or stuck in a rut. A fantastic event which will help clear your mind in the busy run up to Christmas. Start the year with Sarah’s ‘Courage to Dream’ workshop which will help to motivate you for the year ahead. Start 2023 with clarity, passion and a clear vision of how to achieve your goals. Having worked with Sarah, I can highly recommend this as the most thoughtful and useful gift which will be gratefully received – it’s the gift you didn’t know you needed until you’ve experienced it.
Seaham Hall Spa , County Durham
Seaham Hall in County Durham is one of the most beautiful spas in the area. Set a stone’s throw from the stunning Durham Heritage Coastline, Seaham Hall is the place to visit for complete indulgence and wellness. Choose from a twilight spa evening or a full luxury day spa.
The twilight spas evenings are a perfect way to incorporate a spa into your busy schedule. Access the spa between 5-10pm and enjoy a delicious two course dinner in the Ozone Restaurant. Included is also a luxury facial or massage treatment. A wonderful way to recharge during a hectic week or in the run up to a special event.
If you’d prefer a full day of pampering and luxury, then the full day spa package is for you. Indulge in the idyllic surroundings between nine and five and enjoy a delicious two course lunch in the Ozone Restaurant. Try out the pools, steam room and sauna or wrap up in the provided fluffy robes and relax by the pool. Maybe after lunch you could enjoy a glass of something sparkly in the outdoor zen garden complete with infinity pool and the most stunning views. Why not complete your visit with an evening meal in the dining room and try a dish from the seasonal menu. All dishes take inspiration from the region, and you’ll find a varied, tasty and quirky menu.
Make your own perfume The perfume studio, Newcastle
The Perfume Studio is based in Newcastle and runs events and workshops throughout the year.
There are a variety of sessions on offer from group perfume making to a day with your own perfumer to design and make your very own perfume. You can even make your own perfume and then enjoy afternoon tea.
A typical session will provide you with an insight into the world of perfume and how scent is so important in our everyday lives. After this you’ll be taken on your own sensory journey to find the scents that you feel most drawn to. Using all of this knowledge you’ll put it all into practice to blend your own unique fragrance and give it a name. At the end of the workshop, you’ll get to name your fragrance and take it home in a beautifully packaged gift bag. Your formula will be stored in an online library for you to access if you want to reorder more as gifts at a later date.
Experience magic, The Magic Corner Durham
The Magic Corner is the brainchild of the talented Tom Bolton.
Set in a custom-built bar in the heart of Durham, he claims the bar is hidden in plain sight with the address being nineteen and a half Old Elvet! Relax for the evening with a drink and be prepared to enjoy a fascinating night of mystery and magic.
Tom is a close-up magician and performs at events, weddings and in the street. I saw Tom recently at a wedding, he was right next to me, and my mind was completely blown. It’s on my list to visit the Magic Corner soon to see him again and see if I can get any closer to working out the secrets of his amazing magic! Tom’s approach to modern magic is using items that guests have on them. So be prepared for your money, watch, rings and phone to be involved in his act. He is guaranteed to leave you completely bamboozled and trying to work out how he managed to perform something so amazing right in front of your eyes. Give the gift of magic this Christmas with a night at the Magic Corner, this is one that will be talked about for a long time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my article -Unforgettable experience days near Durham – perfect for a Christmas gift – let me know if you’ve bought any of these as gifts!