Stuck for what to give your family and friends? Forget material presents and try these UK days out, says Sarah Marshall.

In a world where we're overloaded with consumer goods, do we really need to add to the rubbish pile by purchasing more unwanted gifts at Christmas?

Experiences are worth far more; the memories last longer and they don't collect dust on the shelf.

Foraging and gin tasting

Best for: Mum

Where: Dorset

It's amazing what you can find lurking along country paths - berries, brambles and enough edible ingredients to create a gourmet meal. Join Masterchef winner Matt Follas on a foraging tour through the countryside in Dorset, finding out what nature's larder has to offer. After exploring the hedgerows, head to the seashore to search for shells and seaweeds. Along the way, Matt will share his cooking tips. At the end of the morning, there's an opportunity to share lunch with Matt, while he discusses how to use wild berries in gin. The gift day even includes a Kilner jar of gin to take home.

How: £69pp or £135 for two - 58% discount when booked through Travelzoo (

A Mystery Day in the city

Best for: Friends

Where: London, Edinburgh, Bath

Surprises don't get much better than this - a day full of intrigue and new discoveries in the UK's best cities. The brand new and one-of-a-kind Mystery Days from tour operator MakeMyDay promise an adventure like no other, with unusual experiences handpicked especially for you by an award-winning travel expert. Simply answer a short questionnaire, and a cryptic Game of Thrones-esque wax-sealed document will reveal when and where your bespoke adventure begins.

How: £69 from

Underground trampolining

Best for: Siblings

Where: Snowdonia, Wales

Know anyone fuelled with boundless energy? Diffuse any hyperactivity with one hour of bouncy fun at Zip World's Bounce Below, a subterranean, neon-lit playground in a former Victorian slate mine. Whoosh down slides twice the height of a double decker bus, bounce and bundle between nets, and explore a maze of tunnels. This pass also gains a 31% discounted access to the Titan Zip Line and Slate Caverns, and 15% off the Velocity 2 zip-lining experience.

How: £35 for two adults - 30% discount when booked through Travelzoo (

Learn to fly

Best for: Spouses

Where: Choice of various UK locations

Ever wondered what it's like to soar as high as a bird? While fully functioning feathers are a bit of a far-fetched gift, it is possible to buy friends and family a taster flight lesson. Accompanied by a CAA experienced instructor, participants can take to the skies. And time spent at the controls contributes towards a Private Pilot's license, if this turns out to be a newfound hobby.

How: £150 from

Beekeeping and wine tasting

Best for: Dad

Where: Sussex

Bees are integral to keeping our environment alive and healthy. Discover the art of apiary by shadowing a beekeeper at Hiver's Urban Experience in the South Downs and Sussex countryside. Once fully suited, you'll be taught how to handle frames and assess the health of bees. Afterwards, head to the award-winning Sussex Winery, also part of the Albourne Estate, for a beer and wine tasting. Finish off with a wander around a small lake and boathouse on the grounds.

How: £110 for two from