It used to be that to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or Christmas, a bottle of bubbly, CD or gift voucher fitted the bill. Now, the range of gift ideas is vaster than it has ever been with consumers opting to give presents which can't be wrapped.

Days out and weekend breaks are some of the gifts which are the most popular; a fact which is independently reflected in domestic tourism figures. Both overnight stays and day trips around England rose in 2012 and this is proof of their popularity.

Champagne Bottles by Jorge Royan

Champagne Bottles by Jorge Royan

The gift of a memory

Known as 'gift experiences', a romantic stay in a country hotel, cooking class or tour of a historic town each have the benefit of providing the recipient with pleasant memories and triggering a new interest.

For 'someone who has everything', gift experiences can be a perfect solution. Companies which specialise in these types if gifts offer so much choice in terms of location, theme and activity that there will be something of interest for even the hardest friends and family to shop for.

Convenient for recipient

Interestingly, while local tourism rose in 2012 outbound tourism avowed no rise on the year before in spite of worries about holidaymakers escaping the Olympics driving revenue abroad.

The trend towards enjoying what is on offer locally could also be down to the convenience-factor which adds to the appeal of packages as gifts. Day trips and weekend breaks are located all over England so within reasonable reach of anyone in receipt of such a special gift. Travel time can be kept to a minimum, be it by private car or public transport, and this means they're much easier to fit into busy schedules.

An additional advantage is the fact that gifts which offer experiences can be taken on a date through the year which suits the recipient. This is convenient for both giver and receiver.

Popular choices

It is no surprise that experience gifts are so popular. For day events, choices which have the potential to please most people include food and drink-related experiences. Wine tastings are suitable for seasoned connoisseurs and those who are new to the world of fine vintages.

Cookery classes are ideal for individual and couples and can even open up a new interest.

This is the case for day out experiences. They don't only provide a refreshing break from routine but can bring to life a new hobby. It all makes life more interesting.

Overnight stays are themed around romance, rural life, adventure, culture and west-end stays to name a few. This can feed an existing interest or provide a new insight into a place or activity usually overlooked in the course of a busy life.

Additionally, often there is no time to take a long holiday but a change of scene would not go amiss. A day our or weekend trip does the trick.

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