In Depth

The best gift experiences for Christmas 2018

If presents under the tree aren’t your thing, these five fabulous experiences offer an unforgettable alternative

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From adventure-seekers to sophisticated socialites, experience gifts have got everyone covered, with a wide range of activities available for booking in 2019.

For those who prefer the thrill of a bungee jump or a classy wine tasting evening to a pair of socks under the tree, here are five of the best luxury experiences.

Hot air balloon ride

Hot air balloon rides remain one of the most memorable experiences money can buy. Soaring thousands of feet into the air, Red Letter Day’s range of hot air balloon excursions gives passengers “the chance to enjoy unparalleled views of the countryside below”.

With locations available from the tip of Scotland to the coves of Cornwall, a Red Letter Day hot air balloon ride can be catered meticulously to your every need, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience.

Hot air ballooning, from £129, redletterdays.co.uk

Drive an F1 car in Monte Carlo

“What really matters here is what happens behind the wheel,” said The Guardian  before this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. “Monaco is still the drivers’ race.”

Virgin Experiences is tapping into this special venue with a remarkable itinerary for racing fans. They spend two days being professionally trained to drive a Formula 3 and later a Formula 1 car surrounded by the glitz and glam of Monte Carlo. The price tag may be a little eye-watering, but then so is the experience.

Monte Carlo F1 Driving Experience, £3,299, virginexperiencedays.co.uk

Stargazing in Wales

“The Brecon Beacons are a great place to spot major constellations and even meteor showers,” says The Independent.

Dark Sky Wales knows this only too well and can lay on a private couples’ stargazing experience, with transport, telescope and a private guide with a wealth of knowledge of the night sky.

Private Couples Stargazing Experience In Wales, £225, notonthehighstreet.com

Spa and stay at Coworth Park, Berkshire

An idyllic five-star country house hotel in picturesque Ascot, just a short journey from London. For a weekend that will leave you and your special guest feeling as good on the inside as the out, spend a leisurely day at the spa and its accompanying restaurant.

Enjoy a pampering day of facials, manicures and massages before catching up over a healthy, yet indulgent, meal at the Spatisserie.

Coworth Park Hotel Spa and Stay, from £559 per night, dorchestercollection.com

Overnight stay at Solent Forts

For an overnight getaway of opulent luxury with a serious historic twist, treat your nearest and dearest to a night on one of Solent Forts’ remarkable converted hotels off the coast of Portsmouth.

Completed in 1878, these military stone forts have been transformed into some of the most unlikely luxury hotel sites in the UK, complete with lavish sleeping quarters, an open-air heated pool and sun deck. Also available is gin tasting, campfire roasting or even a ride in a 50mph boat.

Solent Forts, from £499 per night for two people, solentforts.com

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