Objectives: To explore the experiences of people involved in UK palliative care day services (PCDS) and identify the important outcomes of this service. Methods: Focus groups were carried out separately with patients, informal carers and volunteers from four purposively selected palliative care day units and with day unit managers from 11 units. Results: Patients benefited from both the support of PCDS professionals and social support of fellow PCDS patients, which contributed to a perceived improvement in their quality of life. Carers appreciated both the respite and support from PCDS, but acknowledged that they still had a poor quality of life. The challenges facing PCDS include the difficulties of discharging patients and the future role of volunteers. Discussion: PCDS improved patients' perceived quality of life and future evaluations on patient outcomes could use concepts such as self-esteem, selfworth and confidence. Future service provision could explore the possibility of a mixed service using both the traditional and appointment-based system.