Hooray! It’s your birthday. Again! For some, that may be a good thing. Maybe you’ve reached a milestone age and can now do “grown-up” things for the first time, or retire and use a bus pass!
Not everyone celebrates though, which is fair enough. But for those who do, it can sometimes leave you feeling stumped for ideas. What should you ask for? What shouldn’t you ask for?! What should you do on the day and who are you going to invite along for the ride? The answers can make a big difference to how your day ends up: a delicious celebration or a delirious disaster.
Do not despair. Help is at hand in the form of our handy alphabet-inspired guide. If you want a dazzling day, with a daredevil activity or two, or simply a few ideas to leave you feeling inspired, read on…
If you’re looking for something a little dangerous, then perhaps scuba diving in the Devil’s Den Springs, Florida, may pique your interest. The cave reaches a depth of 50ft and has two entry points which are called Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear which only connect after 60ft, so you’ll have plenty of room to explore the narrow passageways.
From land, the caves appear serene, but don’t let their deceivingly harmless looks fool you. The strong flowing current can be dangerous if you’re an inexperienced diver which is why all divers must be cavern or cave certified, and must have a dive buddy.
If you’d prefer to keep both feet on dry ground, but still want the thrill, put on a pair of hiking books and head to the Devil’s Kitchen in Snowdonia, Wales. It is named so because the locals once believed it resembled a large chimney. When clouds formed on top of the mountain, it looked as if smoke was coming out of the “chimney”, and it was rumoured that the Devil was cooking. The Devil’s Kitchen is in fact a large indented crag in the centre of Ogwen Valley where you can see a stunning glacial lake and if you’re feeling weary, take a break at the Ogwen snack bar.
You’ve seen them in the movies, and maybe even one or two hovering over your local park, so, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a drone of your own! Some have inbuilt cameras that will give you a completely different view of your world and provide endless hours of entertainment, long after your birthday’s been and gone.
If you’re in any doubt about your skills as a navigator, book a session at a professional centre for a few lessons before lift-off. You’ll learn about avoiding low level branches (among other obstacles) and how to get the best aerial shots. Be sure to check out the local rules and regulations first and steer clear of any grumpy neighbours’ gardens.
Why not make the most of your special day by taking a day-trip or a long weekend away? Other than devilish crags, Wales also offers stunning beaches, picture-postcard towns, historic gothic castles and more.
The Gower, for instance, is well known for its attractive coastline, or head farther west and dip your toes in the Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi. Do check the weather in advance though; rain and wind don’t need to spoil your birthday if you’re well kitted out, and you certainly won’t want to get caught short if you are half way up a mountain.
If the outdoors doesn’t tickle your fancy, explore a castle during the day instead, and cosy up in a countryside pub in the evening. In fact, why not stay in a castle? There’s no shortage of them in Wales. From Norman ones like Manorbier, to the Victorian gothic Craig-y-Nos in the Brecon Beacons.
If you’re looking for something daring, or at least more gruesome, go subterranean and check out the London Dungeon. It’s right next to the London Eye on the Southbank. For a different way to spend a night in the capital, check out the dates for their exclusive “London Dungeon Lates”, promising after-hours scares and laughs, for over 18s only.
The Dungeon Tavern offers a traditional pub experience with a twist, where you can try authentic Victorian cocktails, served up by mischievous barmaids, in the company of the Big Smoke’s most infamous rogues and villains. Followed by a late-night tour down in the depths of the dungeons, this is a brilliant way to do something different after dark.
If your birthday coincides with date night, then a meal with your special someone is a great way to celebrate. But be adventurous. Don’t go to the same old place you always head for because you know they do a succulent steak or a bootylicious butternut squash linguine with fried sage. No. Instead, try something new and go somewhere different…
Somewhere like Dans le noir. You’ll be hosted and served by a visually impaired person and dine in absolute darkness. Not even one of those little tea lights will be on your table, just absolute, darkness. It will change your perspective of the world by inverting your point of view.
If you’re single, go on a date night with your mates! It doesn’t matter what age you’re celebrating, just sit back and look forward to great food and great company, with no washing up, and if they’re kind, no bill.