The Best Fathers Day Giftsin London
Father’s Day, the frequently neglected holiday, is coming up once again – on Sunday June 17th for the record. But rather than get him another lame tie or another gift card to Tim Horton’s, why not go the extra mile and find him a gift he’ll be excited about? Of course, the quality of a gift depends entirely on your dad.
Not everything on this list will be a perfect fit for every person out there, but we’ve given a wide variety of gift ideas to fit a variety of personalities, from the classic machismo to artistic to a bit off the beaten track.
Dads are often impossible to buy for: if they want something, they just buy it, or they’re so stuck in their old ways that anything new will go unused. So we have taken a lesser focus on the products themselves, and opted for a heavier focus on the experiences.
Even though dads sometimes have trouble voicing their emotions, they love doing things with their children, especially when they’re grown up and have left the nest. Taking the time to experience something with your father can make his day much better than just getting him a card.
With that said, every business featured in this gift guide is owned and operated in London as you may have guessed. These local businesses offer some of the greatest goods and/or services that could make the perfect gift for dear old dad.
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
760 Dundas St (map)
The gift of a trip to Whistling Dick’s Barber Shop could be a time machine back to your father’s childhood, depending on how old he is. Whistling Dick’s is replicating the feel of a 1930’s barber shop and act as a safe haven for guys to be guys. Old tunes play from their stereo as you enter and you’re hit with the rustic scents of wood and tobacco. Despite their rugged appearance and rustic décor, Whistling Dick’s is all about pampering their clients. Just by the barbers’ appearance, you may think they look more butchers, but their hands are nimble and will give you and your father one of the smoothest shaves you’ll ever experience with their hot straight razors. And of course they’re some of the friendliest guys you’ll meet, chatting with every patron they comes through their doors. Whistling Dick’s aims to be more than just a barber shop though, they aim to be a social hub, a place to hang out with other guys, a clubhouse with a big old “no girls allowed” sign if you will. And with a liquor license pending approval as icing on the cake, this could be a great experience for you and your father to share. He might even become a regular and owe you for introducing him to the idea! Even if your dad might not be in need of a haircut right this instant, Whistling Dick’s is more than just a razor, a pair of scissors, and a buzzer. At Whistling Dick’s, you’re welcome to join in a society and experience the barber shop of yesteryear. For a more in depth look at Whistling Dick’s, including a video with the owners, head on over to our Business of the Week on them here.
215 Fanshawe Park Rd. (map)
If your dad is more inclined to physical activity or he’s always complaining about being sore and his creaky joints, London Float Therapy could be an interesting new experience for him to try. Featured in our Business of the Week last July, London Float is the only float clinic in the city. Float therapy promotes relaxation and healing through floating in a sensory deprivation tank. Once inside the pod, you lay in a shallow pool of salt water. The high levels of epsom salt increases the density of water, thereby counteracting the effects of Earth’s gravity and allowing you to float in complete silence and darkness. While context this may sound something a horror movie, float therapy is an incredible experience for most customers, allowing for both physical and mental relaxation and healing. The lack of stimulus allows muscles to release tension and begin to heal, while it coerces the mind into a meditative state. It allows for mental introspection and self-discovery as your physical sense of self almost melts away to the point where some customers weren’t sure where their body ended and the water began. Sessions last for either 60 or 150 minutes, in either a float pod or a float room, which is more spacious for the claustrophobes out there that may still want to try, but both are the same price. The biggest barrier may be convincing your dad to get in the pod. But if you can, this could be the perfect opportunity for him to relax his old bones and forget the stresses of his job. For more info on London Float Therapy, check out Santa’s firsthand experience in the float pod in our Business of the Week here.
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
1030 Elias St (map)
For the beer drinking dads, Anderson Craft Ales is a great gift idea. London has an abundance of breweries within the city limits, but Anderson is definitely one of our favourites. Their Old East Village brewery is also open to the public, which makes the gift more than just a six-pack of their fantastic IPA. Their small batch, handcrafted, premium beers are incredibly popular among locals, and have spread in restaurants, bars, and LCBOs (only the IPA so far) across the province. They even won the silver medal in its category at the Canadian Brewing Awards, beating out over 200 competitors. The taproom and tasting room overlooks their open concept brewery, so as you sip one of their excellent beers, either permanent or a seasonal brews, you can watch their process. They also have a shelf of board games for your enjoyment, as long as everyone can keep their cool during a game of Monopoly. Don’t forget to grab a souvenir from their retail store as well. A hat, t-shirt or pint glass with Anderson’s stylishly minimal logo would accompany the case of beer your dad is taking home perfectly, and of course acts as a reminder of what an excellent gift giver you are, even after the beer has disappeared. To sneak a peek at the brewery and get more information about their products, head over to our Business of the Week we did with them last summer, found here.
ILLBURY + GOOSE
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
884 Dundas St (map)
If fashion is what your dad is into, Illbury + Goose offers trendy, high quality clothing and accessories for Canadians, proudly sporting the maple leaf in their logo. Heavily inspired by the trendy shops found on Queen Street West in Toronto, Illbury + Goose puts an emphasis on high quality and locality in everything they do and every product they sell. The clothing brand began with two Londoners, Meghan Kraft and Daniel Phillips just wanting to rep their hometown without wearing hokey, low quality souvenirs. Soon, the couple were selling locally branded clothing the Western Fair Farmers’ and Craft Market and then moved into their own storefront in the Old East Village. Their line grew beyond ball caps and t-shirts quickly. They now offer outerwear and accessories such as moose hide gloves. They also have their own lines of coffee and tea, assorted cleaning products – both personal hygiene and household cleanliness – and scented soy wax candles, featuring ofeat scents Dark + Stormy, which smells of ginger and lime its namesake rum cocktail. Their minimal designs allow their clothes to fit into any wardrobe without feeling place, while still standing out as impeccable quality. Even for the old fashioned dad that has worn the same rotation of four polo shirts and the same baseball hat every day for years, a high quality Illbury + Goose tee or hat could fit into his attire with ease. So if you’re looking to pick up something that your dad might actually wear or an accessory he’d use, while still being on trend, Illbury + Goose is a great place to look.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
Harris Park (map)
For the music-loving dad, tickets to London’s outdoor music festival, Rock the Park, would be a great pick for a gift. Rock the Park is a yearly festival hosted in Downtown London’s Harris Park. Depending on his taste, you could get him a ticket to any of the four themed nights of Rock the Park: July 11th is “FM96 Presents” for the modern rocker; July 12th is “Mixtape Rewind” for those who want a blast from the rock and pop past; July 13th is “Bring Back the 90’s” for lovers of 90’s RnB; July 14th is “FM96 Presents” for the modern rocker that doesn’t have Wednesday evening free. The lineups at Rock the Park are always impressive and diverse, bringing in a variety of demographics. From 80’s sweetheart Cyndi Lauper to emo punks Three Days Grace to hip hop legend Coolio, at least one of the nights is more than ly fit your dad’s style. Just to make the gift a little more sweet and feel you’re doing a bit of extra good with your gift, part of the proceeds from Rock the Park go towards four charities: the Make-a-Wish Southwestern Ontario, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London & Area, the Brandon Prust Foundation, and Western Football. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to Rock the Park. Firstly, general admission is standing room only and lawn chairs are not permitted due to limited space in the park. So if your father’s knees and back just aren’t what they used to be, it might be in your best interest to grab one of the VIP reserved tables. Secondly, it’s an outdoor event that will be happening rain or shine, so check the forecast ahead of time. Wear your rubber boats and bring an umbrella if necessary. Thirdly, Rock the Park usually does sell out, so be sure to jump on your tickets quick, especially if you want to gift them to your dad on Father’s Day. Rock the Park is a wonderful gift that you and your father can experience together or as an entire family, so grab your tickets now!
BARACOA TOBACCONIST CIGAR SHOP
Neighbourhood: Old South
173 Wharncliffe Rd. (map)
Whether your dad is a cigar aficionado or only partakes occasionally, a cigar or cigar accessory always makes for a fantastic gift. Baracoa is London’s premiere cigar shop, with a massive and varied selection of cigars for your gifting needs. They have cigars from a variety of countries. Of course, the usual suspects such as Cuba and Nicaragua, but also lesser known tobacco producers Italy and Mexico. While the prospect of entering a cigar shop may seem intimidating for the inexperienced, the guys at Baracoa, led by owner Dave Sorge, are incredibly knowledgeable and more than happy to help you make your selection. If your dad already has his own assortment of cigars and doesn’t need any more, Baracoa has accessories that will make your dad’s day. Cutters, lighters, and punchers are popular gifts that don’t break the bank. If you’ve got a slightly bigger budget or can split the price across a few siblings, a humidor would make an excellent present to help him maintain and expand his at-home collection. They even have an in-house engraver, so after you pick your gift, you can get it personalized with your father’s initials, name, or maybe even a meaningful phrase or an inside joke between the two of you if it’s short enough to fit. Cigars are a commonly seen as a sign of celebration, and there’s no better to way to celebrate your dad this Father’s Day than heading to Baracoa for his gift. To learn a bit more from the owner himself, check out our Business of the Week featurette on Baracoa here.
10 of the best things to do with your dad this Father’s Day
With Father’s Day fast approaching on Sunday 16 June, we’ve selected some of the best experiences to make your dad’s day extra special.
Become master of the barbecue
Cook up a storm at the London Barbecue School (istock)
Alfresco cooks will love the classes on offer at London Barbecue School, which specialises in the art of smoking and slow roasting.
The five-hour Low and Slow class is the school’s signature course, teaching budding chefs how to set up a barbecue, select and prepare meat and fuel, and add flavour with marinades, rubs and smoke.
Predictably, classes are fully booked this weekend, but a voucher for a future session will spark a fire in the heart of any cook.
Get your motor running at Hever Castle (Cove Studios Sittingbourne)
Petrolheads assemble! Hever Castle in Kent is hosting a supercar weekend on 15 and 16 June for dads who things fast and furious. Saturday 15 June sees a selection of Alfa Romeos on display, while Ferraris take centre stage on Sunday 16 June.
In addition, two rare Lancias, a Lancia Fulvia 1600 and Lancia Integrale will also be on display, as well as bikes and a car driven by the world famous F1 champion Sir John Surtees.
Kids will also have the chance to take part in a free craft workshop to make dad a decoration to hang from his rear view mirror. Start your engines…
Nikita Parris of England celebrates with team mates (Getty Images)
If your dad’s not already on board with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, now’s the perfect opportunity to convert him.
Sunday sees defending champions and world number one the USA competing against Chile (kick off at 5pm, BBC2), while Sweden go head-to-head against Thailand (BBC red button and online).
The recent England v Scotland game broke UK TV viewing figures for women’s football and, well – if it’s good enough for Gary Lineker…
Keith Haring’s biggest UK exhibition to date opens at Tate Liverpool on 14 June 2019 (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty )
Today sees the opening of the first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool, with more than 85 artworks on display, while York Art Gallery’s exhibition Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud: Watercolours and Drawings explores our relationship with the environment and mental health.
With only a few weeks remaining, this show includes a dozen works by Turner and more than 40 by Ruskin, plus art from Constable, John Inchbold and Hubert Herkomer. Further north, Dundee’s new V&A gallery cuts an impressive figure on the waterside – plus, most of its exhibitions are free to enter.
Tickle your funny bone
Enjoy a giggle with your dad at Bristol’s Hippodrome (Matt Cardy/Getty)
If the steady stream of news is getting you down, suspend reality for a while and catch some comedy. With many performers showcasing Edinburgh Festival previews, now is a great time to catch some of the UK’s best comedians.
On Sunday 16 June, The Wardrobe in Leeds hosts Jamali Maddix and Ed Night, while Bristol Hippodrome presents Funny Bones, a night of comedy with The Mash Report’s Nish Kuma, Laura Lexx, Jake Lambert and friends.
Best of all, the event will be raising funds for Bristol city hospitals. Find a comedy night near you here.
Get out in the garden
Take some time to stop and smell the flowers (istock)
If nothing else, the UK’s relentless wet weather does mean we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to English country gardens. Green-fingered dads will love the opportunity to get some gardening inspo in some of our most impressive green spaces.
Great Dixter House and Gardens in East Sussex is the famous garden of Christopher Lloyd and contains plenty of interesting plants and colour schemes, while Stourhead in Wiltshire boasts a remarkable sunken garden.
Throughout June, this watery landscape is also celebrating Floralia: an ancient Roman festival in honour of Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, with rhododendrons and azaleas in full and magnificent bloom.
Pet some fur babies
Make some furry new friends this Father’s Day (istock)
Let dad channel his inner Chris Packham at the Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park near Bath this Father’s Day, when dads pay just £1 entry when accompanying a full paying child – this also includes grandfathers and great grandfathers.
The park is home to more than 150 animals, including reindeer, alpacas, pygmy goats and reptiles.
Visitors of all ages can join in the regular animal handling sessions that take place throughout the day at weekends, before taking a steady stroll along the pretty riverside trail.
Exercise the grey matter with a new book (istock)
If your dad loves nothing better than getting lost in the pages of a good book, consider taking him to a literary festival.
With over 350 taking place throughout the UK each year, there’s bound to be something happening near you.
This weekend alone sees events taking place at the Balham Literary Festival, Belfast Book Festival, Greenwich Book Festival, Montgomeryshire Literature Festival (Monty Lit Festival) and Winchester Writer’s Festival.
Take a boozy tour
Treat your dad to a dram in the beautiful Scottish countryside (istock)
A brewery tour is a great idea if your dad s a tipple. From cider to ale, wine to whisky, there’s guaranteed to be a tour – and tasting opportunities – to satisfy all palates.
We Oxfordshire’s Wychwood and Brakspear brewery tour and, further north, Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail: a partnership of nine whisky destinations in Speyside, home to the largest concentration of Scotch malt whisky distilleries in the world.
Explore the past at historic Dover Castle (istock)
We’re fortunate in the UK to have incredible historical sites to explore and conserve.
English Heritage is responsible for over 400 of these around England, while Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw are the major bodies protecting our heritage in Scotland and Wales respectively.
The National Trust also cares for many of the UK’s historic homes and gardens and is the largest membership organisation in the UK. Some of the most popular sites include Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Dover Castle and Leeds Castle in Kent.
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