Novel Christmas gift ideas in the Chilterns

Novel Christmas gift ideas in the Chilterns

Is your house chock-a-block with children’s toys already, and you’re not looking forward to a new influx after Christmas presents are unwrapped? Are you living with the person who has everything and just doesn’t need anything else?

If you’re looking for a Christmas present for a friend or family member who doesn’t want to gather more ‘stuff’, why not give them the gift of an experience? Here are some novel ideas from our handpicked Chilterns Experiences by local businesses. Some of them will appeal to the adventurous and active, others are ways to relax and unwind in nature or learn a new creative skill. Read our top 4 in each category below. Book ahead for a friend or ask if you can buy a voucher to put in their Christmas card.

If you’re on a budget, why not plan a walk with someone in the new year and give the gift of time together? We’ve highlighted some family walk ideas at the end of this blog.

Creative skills experience days:

  1. Become a blacksmith for the day with the Chilterns Open Air Museum. Treat someone to a day in the museum’s rebuilt Victorian forge, making a forged object to take home.
  2. Treat your Aunty to a day learning the traditional art of lace-making with afternoon tea and a walk in Marlow, with Bobbie Blue Badge!
  3. Improve your partner’s photography skills – learn to photograph the Chiltern Hills on a smartphone with professional photographer, Matt Writtle.
  4. Does your mum like painting? She could learn to sketch and paint the Chiltern hills with Pomegranate Arts on a scenic walk through Goring and the surrounding hills.

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Outdoor adventures:

  1. Feel the wind in your hair and take a friend on an unusual vehicle on a Chilterns Trike tour!
  2. Treat your kids to a family bushcraft day and learn new skills together.
    • Path Hill Adventures is based at the Hardwick Estate near Madpledurham.
    • Backwoods offers outdoor cooking, axe throwing and art and nature workshops near Stokenchurch.
    • Dave Willis Bushcraft offers wilderness living skills and woodland crafts for small groups near Chalfont St Giles.
  3. Take a friend on a half day cycle or e-bike tour with lunch in the Chilterns.
    • Broom Wagon cycle tours offer this near Henley.
    • Wild cycles offers a range of wilder cycling adventures.
  4. Book a guided walk or hike with a friend.
    • Walk Works offers guided walks in the Southern Chilterns & Reading area.
    • Nature Kicks offers longer challenging hikes and camping adventures with experienced guide Shameer Shah.
    • Pipsticks Walks offers navigation skills and literary walks.

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Foodie heaven

  1. Does your uncle love a local brew? Take your uncle on a brewery tour with Loddon Brewery.
  2. Do you have a gin fan in the family? Treat them to a divine distillery tour with Puddingstone Distillery, the Henley Distillery or Griffiths Brothers.
  3. Romance your love with an indulgent outdoor forest feast cooked over an open flame with Experience Nomadic. Or go foraging and wild cooking with Secret Adventures.
  4. Book your favourite wine afficionado a tour and tasting at a Oaken Grove Vineyard or book them a volunteering experience at Daw’s Hill Vineyard.

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Quirky fun

  1. Book your history buff a theatrical walking tour of Marlow led by the ‘real’ Mary Shelley, aka Mary Does Marlow.
  2. Take a hot air balloon ride with your family for a once in a lifetime experience with Adventure Balloons.
  3. Buy someone a Chiltern Trikes tour for the chance to drive a most unusual, quirky vehicle.
  4. Explore film and TV locations of the Chilterns on a guided walk with Bobbie Blue Badge.
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When you're on a budget...

If the cost of living crisis is tightening the Christmas purse strings…take friends and family on a country walk. Here are some short recommendations – plan your routes with the links below.

    • There’s a 2.5 mile woodland walk from West Wycombe with beautiful views across adjacent countryside. Kids will love running down West Wycombe hill at the end of the walk and seeking out hot chocolate and cake at one of the wonderful cafes in the village of West Wycombe.
    • Downley Common & Hunts Hill walk is a 2.8 mile scenic and gently undulating walk which takes you through a variety of habitats. It passes through an historic Chilterns common, ancient woodlands and the Le De Spencer country pub tucked away. Part way through the walk Hughenden Manor can be seen in the distance. This is Echo Valley. If you shout then listen you can hear an echo.
    • Enjoy a 4 mile walk from the market town of Watlington in Oxfordshire, taking in rolling chalk downland, beech woodlands and ancient pathways including a stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail. Head to the High Street for a fabulous range of independent shops and cafes. The Granary delicatessen has a good selection of local cheeses, beer and other specialities, with the Orange bakery, Calnan’s Butcher and Tutu chocolates adding to Watlington’s reputation as a foodie destination.
    • Take a 6 mile walk from Watlington to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve.
    • Start our early and enjoy tranquil beauty at an early hour, taking the sunrise walk from the Ashridge Estate.

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Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

Featured walks

A selection of some of the best walks in the Chilterns, from short easy strolls to all day walks, and all through beautiful scenery. The best way to shake off the cobwebs, enjoy tranquil surroundings and burn a few calories!
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Visit the Chilterns

Quintessential English countryside, an impressive selection of pubs and restaurants, and historic market towns, the Chilterns AONB has it all.