Stuck for ideas for someone who has everything? Give your loved ones something a little different to unwrap this Christmas. 

Here at Encorum, we’re all about experiences as the very best gift ideas – from artsy workshops to literary festivals, cultural tours to cookery mornings. And the best bit? Most of our suggestions will include you, too. 

Deck the Halls with Books Aplenty

Welcome to the Signed Editions Club. Toppings & Company Booksellers, whose gorgeously cosy shops in Bath, Ely and St Andrews have captured our hearts, are now offering the ultimate gift for the literary aficionado. One carefully selected parcel will arrive at your loved one’s door each month (for 3, 6 or 12 months), containing a first edition of some of the very best recently published literary fiction. Highly collectable, unique and chosen by expert independent booksellers, this is a subscription sure to charm any bookworm on the hunt for something extra special. What better way to fill one’s home than with beautiful books?

Delivered to you | Subscriptions begin mid-December, and the first book will arrive in time for Christmas | Full Details Here | £22.99 per month

Arty Claus is Coming to Town

Give your favourite person the gift of culture this Christmas, with a one-year membership to the enthralling V&A. Offering free, unlimited entry to all exhibitions, as well as access to previews and special events, this is an art aficionado’s happy place. Upcoming 2019 exhibition highlights include Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (February to July 1919), Mary Quant (April 2019 – February 2020) and Cars (October 2019 – April 2020), amongst others. That’s without even beginning to mention the Museum’s fascinating lecture series, or the impressive permanent collections. There’s also a subscription to the V&A magazine thrown in – for days when that cup of tea in the armchair by the fire proves all too tempting!

London | Full Details Here | £70

Artsy amblers who love nothing more than expert-led experiences, on the other hand, are sure to adore Hotel Alphabet’s marvellous Marie-Anne Mancio, whose London: A Day of Art offers a tantalising taste of the latest on the creative scene up in the Big Smoke. Joining a small group of like-minded wanderers, your art-obsessed friend will absorb the wonders of a host of London’s historic and contemporary galleries, all in one delightful day trip. Add a second ticket for yourself, and double the fun.

6 March or 12 April 2019 | London | Full Details Here | £45

Oh Come All Ye Linguists  

Offer a budding linguist the chance to soak up a new language in snappy little snippets through the Coffee Break Academy’s excellent online courses. Whether they’re beginning with the basics, or picking up where they once left off, this lively online platform offers short, sharp recordings, perfect for someone who’s always on the go. Whether they’re nattering along in Italian in the car, chatting in French on the way to the corner shop, or skipping about the house singing in Spanish, this is a bright, bold way of bringing joy to the language lover in your life.

Delivered to youFull Details Here | From £80

Bring On the Figgy Pudding 

No clue what to give someone who’s already a dab hand in the kitchen? London’s lovely L’Atelier Des Chefs offers an enticing array of cookery classes for foodies looking to hone their skills or sample a new fusion of flavours. Pick up a gift card for a 60 or 90 minute class, and encourage your loved one to tickle their tastebuds with a terrific tagine, rustle up roast duck with Thai red curry sauce, sip Jerusalem artichoke soup with seared foie gras, or whip, stir and bake for pasties galore. With a whole range of dates, times, and cooking styles, there’s sure to be something to suit. And you’ll be patting yourself on the back when the culinary treats come rolling in.

London | Full Details Here | From £39

Go even bigger with Lesley Waters’ legendary Hands On Cookery Days. Your home cook could spend a scrumptious day mastering the tastes of the Mediterranean: from perfecting paella to making mini-empanadas, tucking into orange Catalonian custard to serving up Spanish olive oil cake with almonds, lemon and thyme and honeyed figs. Rounded off with a superb lunch – and a glass or two of wine – this’ll be one Christmas gift to remember!

Dorset | Full Details Here | From £229

I’m Dreaming of a Dip Dyed Christmas

Artists are quirky creatures, and sometimes tricky to buy for. You can never guess which paintbrushes they’re after, nor which canvas they have in mind for their next big project. You can, however, introduce them to something wonderfully unlike what they’ve done before – and, chances are, they’ll pull it off. Be it an Introduction to Natural Dyeing, a day of Dyeing with Indigo, or a whirlwind weekend combining the two, your creative counterpart is set to have an enthralling time with the lovely Flora, dipping, dyeing and designing to their heart’s content. Worth the risk of an entirely reconfigured, plant-dyed 2019 wardrobe, surely?

Bristol & CirencesterFull Details Here | From £78

A Bookworm Came Travelling

Put a new twist on the literary festival: go international with your loved ones in 2019

The Galle Literary Festival – which we so loved last year – is due to take place on Sri Lanka’s palm-studded southern coast next month. Amble along the charming cobbled streets of Galle’s historic Dutch Fort on a guided walking tour, hear the likes of Don McCullin, Kamila Shamsie, William Dalrymple and Romesh Gunasekara wax lyrical about their craft, and dine with literary greats in superb small-group suppers under the stars. The Galle Art Trail, too, offers a gorgeous opportunity to glimpse work from local and foreign artists, housed in the Fort’s quirky cafés, independent shops and striking heritage hotels.

Sri Lanka | 16 – 20 January 2019 | Full Details Here | Programme soon to be released

Take things up another notch with the Jaipur Literary Festival, reputedly ‘the greatest literary show on earth’. If that’s not reason enough to book your tickets & snap up some last-minute flights, we don’t know what is. A fabulously diverse extravaganza of ideas, Rajasthan’s state capital offers an astonishing array of speakers and thinkers from across the globe, gathered together for five days of talks, workshops and thought-provoking discussion. From Colson Whitehead to Anuradha Roy, Yann Martel to Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and a seriously impressive line-up of others, you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice here.

India | 24 – 28 January 2019 | Full Details Here | Programme


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