It’s that time of the year when high streets and shopping centres across the UK are bursting at the seams by 9:13am on a Saturday -- but if the thought of traipsing round the streets on the elusive annual gift hunt fills you with dread, don’t fear; Travelzoo has the solution to your retail woes.
We’ve negotiated over 150 deals across the country to make your Christmas shopping easier -- after all, December is the time to eat, drink and be merry, not spend your weekends shopping for socks and novelty ties.
For the wine enthusiast in your life, pick up this fantastic offer from Virgin Wines -- you can get a case of six bottles of fine wine for £35 (worth over £69), or 12 bottles for £49. They’ll be a popular addition to the wine rack for the New Year (if they last that long).
Or if you fancy encouraging someone to travel the world in 2013, The Travel Book from Lonely Planet is ideal -- it includes details of 229 countries and what to do when you get there. Travelzoo subscribers can get their hands on it for £20 -- half the usual price. Alternatively, this offer from National Geographic Traveller will also be a source of inspiration to get up and explore somewhere different -- you’ll get a year’s subscription (eight magazines) for £10.99.
Londoners can attend a plush cinema screening and sip on a cocktail for £10 a head at the 5-star Courthouse Doubletree. There are several classic films to choose from, and it’s a great treat for a friend over the festive season.
Or for the food fans among you, pay £65 instead of £115 to find out the secrets to cooking a range of international cuisine with this deal from Islington-based cookery class provider Food at 52. Courses include Southern Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian and how to create a stress-free Christmas dinner party -- a brilliant present for any budding chefs.
In the Southwest, we’ve teamed up with former "MasterChef" winner Matt Follas to offer a foraging experience for £49 instead of the usual £95. You’ll walk through local woodland learning how to identify and cook edible wild food, before eating a 3-course lunch -- a unique and memorable experience for someone special. If gourmet dining is what you’re after, this deal from Moreish in Bristol is a fantastic venue for a Christmas get-together -- a 7-course festive meal is now £49 for two, plus you’ll get a glass of mulled wine each.
The award-winning Park Plaza in Cardiff is offering a 2-course lunch for two, plus use of spa facilities, for £35 -- a great gift idea for mums and grandmas that you can take part in as well! If a spa day sounds like the perfect gift for you, start dropping hints about this deal from The Quay Spa and Hotel in Conwy. Described as being "perfect" by The TravelEditor.com, the venue is offering Travelzoo subscribers a treatment, lunch and use of spa facilities for £49.
If you’re looking for something to satisfy an adrenaline junkie, then this indoor skydiving deal from exhilaration in Bedfordshire could be the thing. For under £20 a head, two can experience the feeling of free-falling with wind speeds of up to 200mph, plus you’ll get a DVD of your flight to take home. Alternatively, you and a friend could give clay pigeon shooting a go in Shropshire for £17.50 a head -- this deal from Terra Action also includes a glass of mulled wine each.
Impress your friends and family by organizing a get-together at celebrity chef James Martin’s restaurant in Leeds -- for £49, two can dine on a 3-course meal and sip a glass of bubbly each, making it a great deal for a pre-Christmas gathering, or as a special treat for someone to enjoy in the new year.
Staying in the north, we’ve also negotiated this deal for a 2-hour photo tour of Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, led by Dan Tyack Photography, for £10 a head. It’s a great introduction to photography, and could be a new hobby for a friend to take up in 2013. Another quirky experience is this tour, beer tasting and dinner from Lancaster Brewery. Travelzoo subscribers can snap this up for £12.50 a head -- half the usual price, and the perfect present for ale fans.
Travelzoo subscribers in Scotland can visit the Alea Casino in Glasgow for a New Year treat -- two can dine on steak and chips, plus share a bottle of wine, and get a lesson from one of the casino’s croupiers for £17.50 a head. If a relaxing day at a spa is more your thing, this deal from Mercure Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen is ideal. You’ll get use of the spa facilities plus your choice of two treatments and lunch, for £49 -- an indulgent treat for someone special.
So whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift for mum, dad or the kids -- or a well-earned treat for yourself -- take the stress out of the Christmas shopping with some of Travelzoo’s present ideas. More details on these gifts and others are all available here.
Assistant producer Stephanie Bartup contributed to this post.
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