Fill your life with adventures, not things. What fantastic philosophy! When it comes to Christmas, birthday or anniversary presents, we've always preferred to buy each other experiences rather than more stuff, whether that's a nice meal on an upcoming trip, the other person's ticket for a boat trip or museum or nice spa day. When WonderDays contacted us, offering us a day at one of their driving experiences, we were really impressed by what we saw.
WonderDays specialises in the gift of adventure and offer a huge range of activities and experiences from hot air ballooning to afternoon tea on a London tour bus, climbing the o2 to a crime scene investigation day, and would make the perfect present for someone who would rather have memories than more stuff. Sounds right up our street!
Arranging a fun day for yourself or your loved one is really straight forward: When you purchase an experience from the WonderDays website you receive cute little branded folder with your voucher(s) inside. Each voucher has unique activation code to enter online (just follow the handy QR code on the voucher) and once activated you'll receive a product code to use when booking the activity with the company running the experience and information about how to contact them. The vouchers don't have the prices printed on them, ideal for a gift.
Our driving day included the opportunity to try out 4 different cars which we selected on the driving company's website after activating our vouchers: an Audi R8 V8, Speed Mustang and Aston Martin DB9 for David and a police car for me! This is also when you book the time slots available for your chosen vehicles.
We had a number of different race tracks to choose from and we went for our closest, Sywell Aerodrome, about 45 minutes from home. Upon arrival everything ran very smoothly - we were checked in and after leaving our card details behind the desk in case of any damage to the cars (you can also pay extra for insurance, we chose not to do this as it's a driving experience where the cars are staggered entering the course rather than a track day where you're all jostling for space and at more danger of bumping. Obviously this is up to you, if you'd feel more comfortable purchasing the insurance then go for it! You also have the option of purchasing extra laps, high speed passenger rides and a familiarisation lap to suss out the track before you're let loose.
We were given our race cards which had our cars and time slots written on them, and then we went to wait by the track to be called for our drives. Parked on the tarmac were a fantastic assortment of stunning super cars, all waiting for their drivers to come and play: Lamborghinis, Ferraris, a couple of Porches and some beautiful vintage models like an old Jaguar E type and David's white whale, the Aston Martin DB5. As an enormous James Bond fan, David has always wanted to drive this 1960s beauty - sadly despite booking our driving day 6 months in advance, the DB5 was already fully booked for the day - so he had to be content with just drooling from a distance this time. One day...
When our names were called for our first drives of the day we took our places on plastic chairs with the names of our chose vehicles taped to the back and waited for our instructors. The chap who took me out in my police car couldn't have been more friendly or reassuring - while I love driving our campervan Osprey, I'm definitely not any kind of boy (girl?) racer and had been nervous that morning that I would be expected to fling the car round the track at crazy speeds but this wasn't the case at all. It's your driving experience and the most important thing is for you to enjoy it how you like. If that means pootling around at 50mph in a dinky vintage Mini Cooper then that's totally fine! Equally, if you want to see what the DB9 can really do on the straights then go for it!
I really liked how relaxed and unpressured the experience was. Many of the cars were automatic which I hadn't used before (David said the Aston Martin had paddle gears), but my instructor was fab and explained everything. The car is set up a bit like a driving lesson with duel braking in the instructor's footwell, and the rear view mirror is positioned for the instructor's view which was slightly odd when I kept glancing at it out of habit!
Because of the availability of time slots when we booked, David's 3 cars were spread out over a few hours. Bring a camping chair so that you can chill and watch the cars coming and going. There was a burger van on site for food and cups of tea and plenty of festival style portable loos and the atmosphere was lovely - people were so happy to be test driving their dream cars! One particular highlight was watching a chap in full Adam West Batman costume living his best life whizzing around in the 1960s Batmobile.
If you'd like to see some footage from our WonderDay, we have a reel on our Instagram!
We had a fantastic day at Sywell Aerodrome with WonderDays and would definitely recommend them to anyone stuck for a gift idea for adventure lovers. If you're spoilt for choice and don't know which experience to choose, WonderDays also sell gift vouchers from £25 up to £500 to redeem on their website. And if the recipient doesn't want to do the activity you've chosen, so long as the voucher hasn't been activated and booked with the experience provider then it can be exchanged for a different experience. Easy peasy!
Disclosure: we were gifted a driving day experience from WonderDays in return for this honest review and social media content, but we were not paid to post and as always, all opinions are our own. We only review and recommend companies and products that we genuinely love.