Great Dorset gift ideas for Christmas 2022
From a pterodactyl kite to a sauna and dip by the sea, the Dorset magazine editor rounds up some quirky local gifts and Dorset experiences to put under the 2022 Christmas tree
A pterodactyl for Christmas: The Jurassic Kites pterodactyl kite was the brainchild of Sibyl Fine King of the Fine Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of projects along the Jurassic Coast. Sibyl, who is currently the High Sheriff of Dorset, thought it would be wonderful to see pterodactyls flying above this UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site again. The pterodactyl kite, which is sold worldwide, causes a sensation when seen flying. Buy online (£24+P&P) at jurassickites.co.uk or enter our competition to win one at greatbritishlife.co.uk
Spa offers in Poundbury: Who wouldn’t want to escape away from the cheering crowds in a fluffy bathrobe and unwind in a relaxation pod at an award-winning Dorset spa? Monart Day Spa in Poundbury was recently voted number one day spa in Dorset, Somerset and Bristol at the 2022 Muddy Stiletto Awards. hydrotherapy, sauna, hammam, Himalayan salt cave, professional infrared cabin and experience showers (Highland Mist, Bermuda Shower, Polynesian Rain). monartspa.co.uk
Tea by the sea: Afternoon tea is a gift to be enjoyed any time of the year. The NICI, Bournemouth’s new 5-star hotel, offers afternoon tea for £25 a head (thenici.com). The Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis offers a Tier Tea (vegan available) for £27 (£37 with a glass of local bubbly) and a Savory Tier Tea for £29 (order 24 hours in advance).hotelalexandra.fr). For a touch of nostalgia, the Dorset Afternoon Tea at Knoll House is a cracker. Overlooking Studland Bay, this is where Enid Blyton used to stay and their ‘Famous Five’ cake menu would delight young adventurers (£18.50 pp/knollhouse.co.uk).
Dorset Workshops, Classes and Classes: When it comes to buying a creative experience as a gift, Dorset is your oyster. WhitePepper Chef Academy & Cookery School at Lytchett Matravers offers one-day recreational cooking classes including Indian, Italian, herbal and pastry (from £180) or opt for the Lesley Waters Cooking with Friends online course at £45 (white-pepper.fr). Guggleton Farm Arts in Stalbridge offers reasonably priced art classes (from £15 a session) ranging from painting and pottery to macrame and ceramics (guggletonfarmarts.com). For Strictly fans Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth offers a wide range of classes for beginners, from Bollywood to Ballroom (£6.50 per class/pdsw.org.uk).
Sauna by the sea: Providing an unusual local experience is a great way to create happy memories. Shoreline Sauna, located next to the RNLI on The Cobb in Lyme Regis, is a mobile wood-fired sauna that comes into its own in winter. Enjoy 10 to 15 minutes to warm up in the sauna, toast at 60-80°C, before diving into the sea (there is a bath and a cold water shower if you prefer) and then returning to the sauna . Immersion in cold water boosts the mood during the darker months, and followed by a sauna, it is energizing. Book a one-hour private session for £60 (seats 6-8 if good friends) or pay per session ‘open’ saunas (£15 for 45 minutes or five sessions for £40). Online booking essential shorelinesauna.co.uk/book.
This is a wrap: Bridport-based Hammams UK offer a fabulous range of hammam towels in over 60 designs and colours. Hammams are large rectangles of colorful 100% cotton woven fabric, the size of a large beach towel and a fraction of the weight, so quick drying. Ideal for swimming at the beach or in the river, they can be used as a picnic blanket, throws, sarong, shawl or even an outdoor tablecloth. Hammams were originally used in Turkish steam baths, so they are functional and beautiful, making them an ideal gift. Check out their Dorset range (from £17). Order of hammams.co.uk
Conscious luxury in the bag: From designers at Heart & Soul Studio in Poole comes a new eco-conscious brand inspired by nature. Launched in July, Hayashi – Japanese for “forest” – offers a range of eco-friendly and stylish bags made from a unique vegan leather material, Hayashi Paper. This luxury paper, designed to look and age like leather, is made from 80% cellulosic tree fiber, water resistant and hand washable to ensure durability and longevity. This beautiful and practical material can be found in its range of laptop cases and sleeves, tote bags and shopping bags and zipped card cases. Will buy hayashi-en.com or contact them to stock this brand new Vegan Dorset.
Dorset Award Winning Stationery: Sarah and Mark Downey, co-founders of Dorchester-based company Epic Print, have launched Coffeenotes, a fully recyclable and biodegradable range of stationery made from upcycled coffee cups, repurposed textiles and food scraps. The result of a lockdown project, the seeds were planted five years earlier when Mark visited James Cropper Plc in Cumbria and discovered CupCycling, which turns takeaway coffee cups into paper. The result is an elegant and sturdy stationery; compatible with fountain pens and ideal for sketching. Recently awarded Sustainable Stationery Product of the Year at the London Stationery Show, the Coffeenotes range includes notebooks, planners and notepads in different colors and textures. coffeenotes.boutique
Dorset Balls: In my family, we treat ourselves to a new tree decoration every year. So, we dive into a box full of family memories by decorating the tree. These carved eggs are made in Dorset by Jenny Edward. Real eggs are mouth blown and cleaned before being covered in layers of festive paper and varnish to create a beautiful hanging decoration (£5.50 each). Order at seasonsgreen.co.uk or step into the Season Green shop in Corfe Castle village.
Beauty treats for eco-warriors: Lush, the internationally renowned eco-beauty brand, is based in Poole and its products are often inspired by Dorset. Lush’s Fresh and Flowers monthly subscription boxes would make a great gift for an eco-warrior, curated by Lush’s own inventors, including co-founder and Dorset resident Mo Constantine, their November box was inspired by Poole Harbour, including a Birding Boat bath bomb, spirulina eye mask and seaweed massage bar – it smelled great! Lush fresh handmade cosmetics are created in their Poole kitchen using fresh ingredients from land and sea and inspired by the British seasons. Subscribe for £35/month to freshandflowers.lush.com/en/en
Dorset Christmas Lights: These lovely tea lights are printed and assembled by hand by Dorset artist Ginette Boyd. Using traditional wooden blocks and non-toxic dyes, the design is created by printing sections of the design in different colors, making each tea light unique. They come with an LED tealight (£8.50) and optional gift wrapping and tag (£9). Buy in person at Seasons Green in Corfe Castle or online at seasonsgreen.co.uk.
Eco Crackers with a Dorset BuzzL Are you looking for elegant and eco-friendly luxury crackers for your Christmas table? Dorset’s Celebration Crackers launched its first eco-friendly range of crackers in 2009, this pioneering range proudly remains plastic free, fully reusable and recyclable. Their range of Heart & Soul by Nature crackers are handmade in Dorset from recycled coffee cups. We liked the Buzzing Bees option (£50) with bee-themed goodies such as a beeswax candle, beeswax wrapper, honey mister, honey jar and bee saving flower seeds. Order online at heartandsoul.studio
A subscription to Dorset Magazine: One year subscription to Dorset the magazine is the gift that keeps on giving, like every month Dorset the magazine will arrive in the mailbox full of Dorset stories, places to visit, walks, wildlife, history, arts, food and drink – it’s a great read cover to cover and filled with fabulous photographs of the county. One-year subscription including printing and access to the digital version of Dorset the magazine costs just £26.99.