Do they already have it? Is it thoughtful enough?
Birthdays are always a bit of minefield. But this year, you can’t help but feel like there’s a little extra pressure to get it right. Whether it’s a treat for the food-lover in your life or a 21st birthday present they’ll never forget, these are the gifts that’ll make this year feel extra special.
Birthday gifts for parents who deserve spoiling
It’s always nice to show your parents you care. But over the past few months, many have been putting in a few extra hours to keep all of the plates spinning. So, here’s a few ideas to make mum or dad feel extra-spoilt on their big day.
Why not treat mum and dad to a luxurious escape from the day-to-day? At the 5-star Alexander House and Utopia Spa, they’ll be pampered like royalty. Not only will they sleep soundly in a luxurious king room, they can take a dip in the hotel’s Grecian pool and unwind in the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. Just make sure they don’t miss breakfast, it’s a showstopper. From boutique breaks to hobbit hideaways, we’ve written about some of the UK’s most exciting and romantic short breaks here.
Or for something a little different, book them a dome in Kensington’s Secret Garden. Great for music fans, each pod is themed around a famous recording artist. They’ll enjoy sweet and savoury bites and an ice cold glass of Champagne, all whilst relaxing in secluded luxury. Without a doubt, the perfect way to spend a Birthday afternoon in the capital. We’ve listed 101 other ways you can enjoy afternoon tea here.
Birthday gifts for foodie friends and family
When it comes to birthday gift buying, you can’t go wrong with a friend or family member who’s a bit of a foodie. From confectionery courses for the sweet-toothed to gastronomic feasts for the gourmet, we’ve got plenty of experiences that’ll leave them feeling satisfied.
Give a chocoholic the opportunity to learn from master chocolatier Paul A. Young on their birthday. Over four lessons, they’ll learn everything from how to get a world-class shine when tempering chocolate to creating his award-winning sea salted caramel truffle. Not only that, they’ll even receive a certificate as a mark of success from the master himself. Not quite what you’re looking for? We’ve got more experiences that hit the sweet spot here.
There aren’t many ways to show a foodie that you really care than with a Michelin-starred dinner. At this award-winning restaurant, they’ll indulge in three courses of classic French cuisine – washed down with a delicious glass of Brut, of course. And if they adopt a meat-free diet, the chefs at Galvin La Chapelle can still push the boat out. Book them in for a Seven Course Vegetarian Menu Gourmand and Bubbles. Who says veggies can’t enjoy the decadence of French cuisine? Well nobody told these gastronomic giants, anyway. You can find more Michelin-starred experiences here.
Birthday gifts for adrenaline junkies
If their idea of fun is being absolutely fearless, then look no further. Not designed for the faint-hearted, these birthday gifts are guaranteed to get their blood pumping and those endorphins racing.
A trip to the famous Eden Project is a memorable present in itself. But include the opportunity to glide over a cliff on one of the world’s largest swings – not to mention stuntman jumps and leaps of faith – and you’ve got the ideal gift for any thrill-seeker. They’ll also get the chance to ride over the lush forests of Cornwall on England’s longest zip wire. The views are simply unforgettable.
If they prefer their views a little more metropolitan, a 52 metre climb to the top of London’s iconic O2 is the ideal present. They’ll be kitted out in a comfy climb suit, boots and a harness, before climbing via a suspended walkway. But remember, there’s room for two on this experience. So, just make sure they know someone else who’s got a stomach for heights if you don’t.
Kids birthday presents that are better than games
Let’s face it, most kids love games. But in a year when they may have had a little more time than usual stuck indoors and sat in front of a screen, why not give them a real-life experience they’ll never forget?
Forgot Interstate 76 and Forza Horizon 4, this experience gives your birthday girl or boy the chance to experience the thrill of the real thing. Young motorheads get the adrenaline-pumping opportunity to take a Ferrari 360, Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin DB9, Porsche 997, Audi R8 or Ford Mustang for a spin around Heyford Park. It might not be their 17th but they’re in luck; no driving license is required.
For high-speed thrills with a twist, treat them to an exhilarating jet boat ride along the Thames. Then, continue an unforgettable day out in the capital with a trip up one of London’s most iconic landmarks: The Shard. With 360-degree views from 800ft, kids’ birthdays don’t get any more memorable than this.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Check out the A-Z of kids experiences (that grown ups enjoy too).
Coming of age birthday presents
Whether they’re turning 18, 21, 30 or 40, huge birthdays deserve monumental gifts. With that in mind, these experiences are designed to live vividly in their memories – long after the event.
If you’re looking to mark a special occasion in spectacular fashion, jumping out of a plane at 7,000ft should meet the brief. The definition of a bucket list experience, give someone the life-affirming chance to sail through the skies at 120mph. Strapped to an instructor, they’ll see the world in an entirely different light – whilst feeling on top of it too.
Allowing them to feel the thrill of service, without having to work on the pass, this is decadent dining at its best. Watch Ramsay’s signature dishes being prepared while you sip a cocktail at the best table in the house. With an electric atmosphere, delectable dishes and, of course, an epic birthday occasion, this has all the ingredients of a culinary classic.
Birthday presents to enjoy when you’re retired
This is the time of life that someone special can finally get around to those things they’ve had to put off. With that in mind, here’s our picks of what to do and where to go when they’ve retired and it’s their birthday.
Sometimes the list of places to visit feels so long it’s easy to forget about what’s on our doorstep. That’s why an English Heritage pass is a present you can’t go wrong with. This 12-month membership will give your recipient free access to over 400 historic sites; Kenilworth Castle, Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge and much more. And with free entry for up to six children, it’s great for the grandkids too.
However, there’s no room for the kids on this excursion. Strictly for grown-ups, this experience will give your retired gift recipient the chance to drive five classic cars in five hours. They’ll experience the grace and power of a Jaguar E-Type, Mark II, HMC Healey, MGB and Porsche 911. What’s more, they’ll do so through breathtaking cotswolds. If they’ve been putting off that road trip, it doesn’t get any more magical and cinematic than this.
We’ve written more about great retirement gifts here.
We’re happy to announce that many of our experience providers have reopened with social distancing measures in place. Importantly, your vouchers can be exchanged or extended, allowing you to experience something memorable with the people you care about all over again.