Best Christmas experience gifts in Glasgow and Edinburgh
Tired of clutter? There are plenty of ways to give gifts this Christmas without buying yet another 'thing'
Whether it’s for someone who is particularly tricky to buy for or someone you want to spend some old-fashioned quality time with, there are plenty of gift options that don’t need wrapping.
If they like a tipple but their drinks cupboard is already groaning with bottles, why not add instead to their booze knowledge. In Glasgow, Good Spirits Co. host gin, rum, whisky and port masterclasses while Glasgow Wine School offer your taste buds a chance to travel with wine tastings themed by different regions. In Edinburgh, the Hanging Bat has beer connoisseurs catered for with monthly Meet The Brewer sessions, while the Whiski Rooms offer a variety of tastings including pairings with cheese and chocolate.
Other boozy options include brewery and distillery tours with West Brewery, Tennent’s and Edinburgh Gin, all offering a chance to see behind the scenes before sampling the finished product with a whole new appreciation of its back story.
For foodies, Cook School at Tennent’s Training Academy offers masterclasses in culinary delights including pizza, American BBQ and South Asian curry while Edinburgh School of Food & Wine hosts one-off evening courses focusing on topics including game, steak and fish. For fans of The Great British Bake Off, both venues also offer baking sessions on themes including macarons and chocolate work. Sceptical Paul Hollywood not included.
Fitness types who don’t need any more luminous lycra might enjoy trying a new sport. Snow Factor in Glasgow offers vouchers redeemable against ski, snowboarding and ice climbing lessons, or you can indulge your inner child with sledging. Over at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, you can join an introduction to track cycling and ride a fixed gear bike on the Commonwealth-banked velodrome – just like Sir Chris himself, but slower.
The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena offers instructed taster sessions to get you scaling the largest climbing arena in Europe, or you can test your nerve on the aerial assault course with zip wires and obstacles 100ft above the ground. For sports fans not wanting to work up a sweat, stadiums including Hampden and Murrayfield offer you the chance to walk in the national team's footsteps on guided tours.
If that all sounds too much like hard work post-Christmas, there’s always relaxing spa treatments instead. In Glasgow, you can visit 15 Royal Terrace Day Spa for a mini manicure or pedicure, while Spa in the City offer a salt and oil scrub that’ll leave your skin super soft and delicious. In Edinburgh, Zen has the answer to a peely wally winter complexion with spray tans and fake bake, while over at the Scotsman Spa & Health Club you can chose from a variety of luxurious Aveda facials and body treatments. The Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian has a series of harmonising massages to relieve any residue festive stress or you can take a lesson in make-up artistry and master the art of your new eyeliner pen.
If all else fails, you can always give the gift of laughter, with The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow and Edinburgh offering gift vouchers for any performance. They'll even gift wrap it for you, so you don't have to break the 'gifts that don't need wrapping' rule.