On the 1st of December, the directors of Dorset Adventure Park went on what I fondly refer to as a ‘school trip’. Any activity that feels like a little adventure and teaches you something will forever be associated with the very best memories of school trips. As an adult we get to take ourselves, our friends and families on these trips out. The best part is that it doesn’t involve a 5am couch journey, a rubbish packed lunch or the ritually humiliating risk of having to sit by a teacher. Dorset Adventure Park is well known as an amazing location for school trips. With the two lakes, mud trail and obstacles, it is an easy win. When the scores of school children who have leapt and waded through Dorset Adventure Park grow-up, leave school and look back at some of their best school memories, we know that a trip to Dorset Adventure Park will be one of them. It is that nostalgic glow that halos around the best little adventures we undertake as adults. Without the dry prescriptions of a curriculum and with the autonomy of adult life, we are able to pursue our passions and share our joys. Some of us work vocationally in our passions, and some are able to dabble. Some of us dream of trying something new, giving it a go and testing out a different experience. Sometimes in life we are so consumed by either ‘the rat race’ of work, the pressures of providing and the persistent emphasis on buying physical things, that we can so easily overlook and underestimate the value of wonder. A gift that offers an experience as opposed to an object offers an opportunity. That opportunity can be for action, adventure, taste, a skill or even just a really good rest. They may seem more humble when wrapped up and put under a twinkling Christmas tree, but they will shine so much brighter than another thing we don’t really need. The one thing we can never give is time, so by purchasing a gift voucher, you are offering a time when that person can put down the weights, worries and responsibility of everything else and take time for themselves and something they would really enjoy.
Dorset Adventure Park’s ‘school trip’ was to a cookery school, for an all day course on cooking delicious fish and learning exactly how to prep and pair it. Even the most experienced on the all day course still learnt something new and even more importantly, had a great day out. For one whole day, the entire focus was on the activity. The permission and opportunity for such single mindedness, focus and even mindfulness is a scarce and precious thing in adult life. That is why we are going to offer our guide of the top gift card options for incredible experiences in Dorset.
The Olive Tree Cookery School, Purbeck
Situated just a few miles from Dorset Adventure Park and the spectacular Corfe castle, The Olive Tree Cookery School provides an impressive range of culinary courses. With varied price options, vouchers to choose from and a wide menu of courses from which to select, you are pretty much guaranteed to please with this gift card. The Olive Tree Cookery School courses range from foraging, cultural and even courses designed for specific dietary restrictions. The courses are suited for a budding passion in cooking, a life-long love, or even those considering a career change. Gift card vouchers are available from the link above.
English Oak Vineyard, Poole
Featured on Ben Fogle’s ITV series, ‘Harbour Lives’, this beautiful vineyard found on a 17th Century farmhouse offers a picturesque experience. Tour the vineyard, taste the sparkling wines, and hear the story of the place and the family business. You can also discover the innovatively eco and sustainable methods used to run the vineyard and produce their award-winning wines. Whilst not a ‘gift card’ in the strictest sense, you can surprise a loved one by purchasing the tickets for a tour and tasting. Salute to that! Click here and follow the link to English Oak Vineyard.
Furleigh Estate, Bridport
Furleigh Estate is situated in a beautiful part of the countryside and only a few miles from the spectacular Jurassic Coast. Two Vineyards in one list may seem excessive, however, consider how frequently wine, champagne and spirits are purchased as Christmas presents. This Christmas you could make it more interesting or incorporate tickets for a tour of the vineyard alongside the bottle you gift! Alternatively, you could become or give someone a membership to their wine club – a membership is a gift that keeps on giving! Click on this link to find gift voucher options for Furleigh Estate.
Vespucci Adventures, Self-Guided Hiking Experience
If your loved ones also love the great outdoors, then this is a completely unique and perfect gift for them. Vespucci Adventures state that their goal is to, “inspire and empower people to get outside and discover adventures they otherwise would not have. We give you all the tools, so all you have to do is get out there”. Vespucci has an incredible menu of hikes available for you to choose from. Simply select which and your ‘Essential’ or ‘Gift’ pack will be sent straight to your door. Each pack contains an expertly thought-out guide and map. The Gift pack also includes: “map, guide, patch and compass, delivered in a beautiful gift box, in 1-3 business days”. I love the look of ‘The Lost World’ adventure pack that explores the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Click on this link to visit ‘The Lost World’ Vespucci adventure.
The Pig, Studland
The Pig at Studland is one of ten absolutely beautiful country Hotels. The Pig has long been a luxurious favourite for many due to its rustic feel, exceptional food and comfortable, quality rooms and restaurants. Gift Card vouchers are available, starting at £20 or options include treatment vouchers and restaurant vouchers. Last Christmas, I chose a small monetary voucher for my parents to put towards something. I absolutely recommend The Pig for anyone who you know that deserves a rest, a pamper or a treat! Click on the link to see what little piggies are on the market.
Dorset Adventure Park, Corfe
Did you know that Dorset Adventure Park also offers Gift Card Vouchers? Perhaps you visited in the summer, perhaps you are one of our many repeat visitors, perhaps you were halfway through the mud trail and thought of a friend who would absolutely love to be there too? Well, now they can! With Gift Cards ranging from £10, there is the opportunity for a perfect present for everyone’s purses. Dorset Adventure Park reopens again from 20th May until 12th September, 2023. When it is freezing cold, sleeting, snowing and hailing you can give someone the chance to look forward to warm sunny days, warm lakes and Summer adventures once more! Click on the link to buy your Christmas Gift Card vouchers.
Words by Olivia Lowry