Best London experience gifts for 2024: top experiences and days out to treat someone to
If you only have a few days in the capital city, you want to make it memorable, right? That’s why we've rounded up the best experiences in London for 2024.
If you’re a London local, it can be easy to fall into the routine of only doing things in your immediate area. The number of times we've suggested a picnic on the common during summer rather than actually exploring the city is diabolical; it’s important to be a tourist in your own city to shake things up.
If you’re travelling to London from elsewhere, you’ll certainly be looking for something exciting to do with your time in the Big Smoke. Selfridges, the iconic Oxford Street department store, even offers its own experience gifts like an afternoon (beau)tea experience and floristry workshops.
Our London experience guide has something for everyone, with the best experiences to gift couples, family members, and your adventurous friends. You can rest assured that you're in good hands when selecting experience gifts as the RadioTimes.com Going Out team knows a thing or two about what to do in London...
We've researched the best London walking tours, the best London art exhibitions and the best West End shows, as well as how to get cheap theatre tickets to save some hard-earned pennies in the run up to Christmas. We like to try out the things we recommend, too, and you can read our 2:22 A Ghost Story review, Witness for the Prosecution review, and BBC Earth Experience review, and check out our what is Frameless? guide for a sneak peek of the immersive exhibition.
The London activities we've suggested below come from reputable UK experience day companies such as Buyagift, Virgin Experience Days, daysout.co.uk and Activity Superstore, who work hard to secure you the best deal.
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So without further ado, let’s see what exciting things you can get up to in London this year.
The London Dungeon
Just like the cinema is the perfect opportunity to put your arm around your date, The London Dungeon is the prime time to feel ‘scared’ and get close to your partner, as you’ll be facing your fears together in this thrilling immersive experience.
From now until Wednesday 14th February, you can use the code VAL24 at the checkout to secure two-for-one tickets at The London Dungeons.
The offer applies when you buy one full-priced adult ticket, and the tickets are redeemable up until 30th June 2024.
Best London experience gifts at a glance:
Best food experience gifts in London
- Thames Afternoon Tea Cruise, from £52
- Comedy Night with Three Dish Dinner for Two at inamo,
£110.70£59.95 (save £50.75 or 46%)
- Graveney Gin Tasting in Tooting Market for Two, £70
- Vegan Pasta Workshop Supper Club, £75
- Original Chocolate Making Workshop for Two,
£109.90£82.43 (save £27.47 or 25%)
- Mamma Mia! The Party tickets, from £130
- River Thames Murder Mystery Three Course Dining Cruise for Two,
£214£196 (save £18 or 8%)
Best London experience gifts for families
- BBC Earth Experience, from £15
- Balloon Museum, from £15
- Madame Tussauds London, from £22.80
- Kia Oval Cricket Ground Tour for Two, £45
- Tour of Wembley Stadium for Four, £65
- Historic Photography Tour of London for Two,
£99£79 (save £20 or 20%)
- Kew Gardens with Thames River Cruise for Two, £90
- London Eye and Lunch Cruise, £179
- Golden Age of Travel on Belmond British Pullman for Two, £800
Best London experience gifts for couples
- For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, from £19
- Sister Act tickets, from £24
- Painting Class at The Clapham North, from £25
- London Ghost Boat Tour for Two, £39
- Hidden Vintage Cinema Experience with Cocktail for Two, £42
- Escape The Power Cut at Control Room B for Two, £110
Unique London experience gifts
- Cirque Du Soleil: Alegria tickets, from £66.90
- The Dare Skywalk for Two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, £84
- Up at The O2 Climb for Two, £85
- Monopoly Lifesized Choice of All Boards Immersive Experience for Two, £98
- Thames Rockets Break the Barrier River Cruise for Two, £110
- Become a Zombie for a Day at The London Tombs, £150
Best London experience gifts to buy in 2024
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of attractions to visit in London, with classes, shows, and immersive experiences popping up every day. To help you filter through the barrage of information, we've pulled together our recommendations of the best London experiences you can gift someone, then we've broken them down into categories.
Here are our favourites for 2024.
- Best food experience gifts in London
- Best London experience gifts for families
- Best London experience gifts for couples
- Unique London experience gifts
Vegan Pasta Workshop Supper Club
Learn plenty of tips and tricks as you whip up a vegan pasta delight, plus get a vegan recipe booklet to take home in this workshop. There are different flavours on various days, so you can choose whether to make mushroom, butternut squash, spinach and ricotta, or pear and gorgonzola pasta — all of which sound delicious.
Original Chocolate Making Workshop for Two
Discover the rich history of chocolate and make your own sweet treats in this chocolate-making class. You’ll taste cocoa in its purest form, and try a variation of chocolate, then you’ll try your hand at making chocolate yourself! Create and decorate a giant chocolate button, and add toppings to gooey fudge. You should have some chocolates to take home with you if you can resist eating them before…
For more experiences like this one, take a look at our best London baking classes and experiences guide.
Comedy Night with Three Dish Dinner for Two at inamo
Switch-up the usual dinner time routine: asking your significant other what to cook for tea, opening the fridge to an uninspiring selection of food, then ordering a takeaway from your local. In this experience for two, you’ll begin the night on a high with a delicious three dish meal of Pan-Asian cuisine, like sushi, sashimi, tapas, dumplings and more, at inamo in Covent Garden, before enjoying a comedy evening at inamo’s in-house Comedy Club.
Are you a fan of comedy? Then take a look at the best comedy shows in London.
River Thames Murder Mystery Three Course Dining Cruise for Two
This next experience will see you cruise peacefully along the River Thames for an evening, but the events inside the boat will be anything but smooth: you'll have to put on your detective cap to work out who the cold-blooded murderer is who lurks on board... Alongside this game, you'll enjoy a delicious three-course meal which is sure to delight foodies and true crime fans alike.
Mamma Mia! The Party
Dance, jive, have the time of your life at Mamma Mia! The Party this November. At this fun-filled experience, you'll enjoy a delicious four-course Greek meal as a musical theatre show takes place around you, then dance the night away at an ABBA disco.
As this is an experience for foodies, let us tell you a little more about the freshly-made meals: for meat-eaters, you'll enjoy traditional Greek mezze and Greek salad followed by confit lamb shoulder and slow cooked beef with roasted garlic potatoes, then, for dessert, it'll be a Greek lemon cake and a choice of tea or coffee. For vegetarian and vegan guests, you'll tuck into roasted cauliflower and stuffed tomato with lentil ragout, then loukoumades for dessert, which are delicious dough balls served with fig jam.
Thames Afternoon Tea Cruise
What better way to experience London than with a cruise along the River Thames accompanied by a delicious afternoon tea? In this relaxing experience, you'll dig into treats like oak-smoked salmon, pastries and, of course, scones, with as many teas and coffees as you'd like.
Don't focus too much on the tasty bites in front of you, though, as you'll miss out on seeing landmarks like the Tower of London, London Eye, and Tower Bridge.
Graveney Gin Tasting in Tooting Market for Two
The iconic Tooting Market hosts this fun-filled experience: gin tasting for two. Learn about the history of gin, taste three variations of Graveney Gin’s spirits, and enjoy some nibbles.
Located in Old Billingsgate on the riverside, the Balloon Museum showcases artwork by 20 incredible artists, including the Cube Abyss by Cyril Lancelin, an installation by Momoyo Torimitsu which is made up of large, pink rabbits, and a colourful display by Miranda Makaroff.
We loved the interactive elements of this exhibition, like giant bouncy balls hanging from the ceiling, an inflatable maze, and not to mention the huge ball pit, which we could've spent hours and hours in.
Kew Gardens with Thames River Cruise for Two
This experience includes a one-and-a-half-hour sightseeing cruise along the River Thames which will drop you off a 10-minute walk away from Kew Gardens, then you’ll also get entry for two into the beautiful botanical gardens. One of the RadioTimes.com team treated their mum to this last summer, and let's just say they were favourite child for a while...
BBC Earth Experience
The Going Out team were lucky enough to visit the BBC Earth Experience when it first opened, and we can wholeheartedly recommend it as a fantastic family day out.
BBC Earth Experience will take visitors on a journey across the globe as they experience animals and nature from all continents on 360-degree screens; be mesmerised by fireflies in North America, look in awe at snub nosed monkeys huddling together in Asia, and watch hungry hamsters fighting over their food in Europe.
Take a walk on the wild side with our pick of the best animal experience days.
Who are your parents' favourite celebrities? This Digital Writer's mum has a huge crush on George Clooney, and her dad fancies himself a bit of a footballer. At Madame Tussauds in London, you can meet and take photos with 250 lifelike figures of your favourite celebrities, from the Royal Family and Taylor Swift to Beyoncé and ET, as well as experience 14 interactive zones, and learn all about London's history from up to 400 years ago.
Tour of Wembley Stadium
With the success of the Lionesses this year combined with the World Cup frenzy, we recommend taking a tour of the UK's best-known football ground. It's the ideal gift for a football fan in your family; the Wembley Stadium tour allows you to see the changing rooms, take a picture in the Press Conference Room and walk through the players' tunnel.
Plus, here's how to get cheap football tickets to watch the Premier League without a membership.
Golden Age of Travel on Belmond British Pullman for Two
This experience is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. During this incredible five-hour journey, you'll tour the English countryside before returning to London Victoria and you'll enjoy champagne and a delicious five-course meal. The carriages of the Belmond British Pullman train date back to as early as 1925 and are beautifully maintained, and train travel enthusiasts will have noticed that this train is named after the father of luxury train travel, George Mortimer Pullman.
Historic Photography Tour of London for Two
If your parents are anything like ours, they love taking photos when they're out and about – and they can never resist a 'family selfie' either. This next experience lets them hone in on their photography skills, as a professional photographer tour guide will teach them all the tips and tricks of photography.
London is packed with impressive cathedrals, structures and churches, not to mention stunning side streets, too, and you'll be taking photos of all of them in this History Photography Tour.
For more photography experiences, we've compiled a guide to the best photography courses.
London Eye and Lunch Cruise
There are a few landmarks which are synonymous with London: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and, of course, the London Eye. Experience London from new heights (135 metres up, to be exact), then enjoy a two course lunch, plus tea and coffee, on a blissful river cruise.
This experience is for Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year.
Kia Oval Cricket Ground Tour for Two
The Kia Oval Cricket Ground tour is the perfect experience to pull out of the bag when your parent comes to visit you in London. When your parents come to see you in the Big Smoke, they're probably not going to want to visit your local pub, and dishing up a microwave meal while you catch up on soaps together might not cut it, either. So, if they're fans of cricket — we've got you sorted!
In this experience, you'll visit the birthplace of the Ashes, The Kia Oval Cricket Ground in Kennington, and enjoy a 90-minute guided tour of the iconic stadium.
A London theatre show like For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy
While a lot of the experiences in this guide will make you laugh and smile, it's important to include a range of things that will also make you think deeply, too. After all, showcasing stories from every walk of life is something London does so well.
In For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, we meet six young black men speaking in a group therapy session, and they discuss the complications of what it means to be a black man in Britain, talking about everything from love and fashion to societal expectations and police harassment.
Ryan Calais Cameron's play is at the Garrick Theatre for a limited time only, from 29th February until 4th May 2024, so be sure to snap up tickets when you can.
Hidden Vintage Cinema Experience with Cocktail for Two
Who doesn’t love a trip to the cinema? How about a trip to a vintage cinema with a cult classic showing, and a movie-themed complimentary cocktail afterwards? Sounds perfect.
A West End show like Sister Act
Sister Act is returning to London's West End with two stellar guest stars: Beverley Knight and Alexandra Burke, who will be taking it in turns playing the lead role of Deloris van Cartier. You're probably familiar with the Sister Act plot: Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg in the movie) goes into witness protection as a nun at a convent after she witnesses a murder, but she has more than a little trouble adjusting to her new lifestyle...
Plus, if it's your first time attending a show, you might want to check out top West End theatre tips and advice.
London Ghost Boat Tour for Two
If you and your other half are fans of all things spooky then, boy, do we have an experience for you! Unlike your typical ghost walking tour, this creepy experience will see you explore London by boat, taking you to Green Park, St James's Palace, Mayfair, Westminster, and the Tower of London — places which are rich with horrifying stories of murder, plague and torture.
Painting Class at The Clapham North
This painting class in south west London is a great way to finish off a day exploring the city. Depending on which day you pick, you can either paint Three Sunflowers In a Vase or The Starry Night by Van Gogh, or paintings by Steinlen, Kandinsky, Hopper and Monet. No matter which painting you choose, you’ll enjoy your time in a relaxed environment and have a piece of art to take home with you at the end of the day.
Here are the best UK pottery classes to unleash your creativity this year.
Escape The Power Cut at Control Room B for Two
Nothing says testing your relationship like an escape room! The clock is ticking, and you have 90 minutes to solve puzzles and decipher cryptic clues with the aim of fixing the power cut before the time runs out. What makes this escape room different to a lot of others is that you'll step behind the Battersea Power Station Control Room's original control desks. Oh, and you'll also enjoy two cocktails each.
Are you a fan of live music? Here's how to get cheap concert tickets to see your favourite artists for less.
Plus, we were lucky enough to attend a candlelight concert, and you can read our thoughts in our candlelight concert review.
Become a Zombie for a Day at The London Tombs
In this one-of-a-kind experience, you and a friend will be transformed into terrifying zombies and given a lesson in the art of scaring people, as well as how to apply your own FX make-up. You'll take these skills (and your creepy exterior) to scare visitors at The London Tombs.
Scaring people is thirsty work, so you and your zombie cohort will be treated to pub grub at The Bermondsey Bierkeller as part of the experience, too.
Up at The O2 Climb for Two
View London from dizzying new heights with this experience. You and a fellow adventurer will climb 365m to the top of The O2, take the opportunity to snap some incredible photos with the whole of London stretched out behind you, before heading back down to earth.
Cirque Du Soleil: Alegria
For a limited time only (just nine weeks), Cirque Du Soleil: Alegria will be performed at the Royal Albert Hall in celebration of the production's 30th anniversary. This particular performance tells the story of a kingdom which has lost its King, and like all Cirque Du Soleil productions, you can expect stunning acrobatics.
For more information about the performance, read our Cirque Du Soleil: Alegria tickets article.
Thames Rockets Break the Barrier River Cruise for Two
We all have that mate who’s a huge thrill-seeker; so if you’re planning a day out for them, you know afternoon tea isn’t going to cut it. Treat your daredevil friend to a speedboat ride across the River Thames. Take twists and turns along the river at high-speed and catch glimpses of landmarks like The O2, all while listening to tunes across the ages. Just remember to hold on tight!
The Dare Skywalk for Two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Do you live life on the edge? How about the edge of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? Take in views of the capital city as you journey 46.8 metres above the football pitch and onto a glass walkway to scale the outside of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Monopoly Lifesized Choice of All Boards Immersive Experience for Two
Take one of the most beloved (and arguably the most competitive) games to the next level with a life-sized version of Monopoly. Spend 80-minutes – any longer and we're sure arguments would begin! – building houses, taking rent, avoiding jail, and completing escape room challenges as you make your way across the Monopoly board. Afterwards, be sure to recharge in the on-site bar and restaurant, The Top Hat.