Like Panini's long-running Doctor Who Magazine, the title features a mix of articles about the series and comic strips. A separate line rather than a competitor to DWM, the two magazines promote each other. Prior to 2014, DWA wasn't available outside the United Kingdom and Ireland (mostly likely due to it being regularly published with "free gift" items, as described below); beginning in 2014 some issues began to be distributed in North America, with wide availability commencing with the change in publisher (see below), although the free gifts were still not included.
From issue 248, Doctor Who Adventures was published under licence from BBC Worldwide, by Immediate Media Company London Limited. After issue 363, it was relaunched with a new issue 1, now published by Panini.
The magazine launched as a fortnightly publication with its first issue cover-dated 5 April 2006, priced £1.99. With DWA 47 (17 January 2008), this title became a weekly publication, available every Thursday priced £2.10 (UK). On 21 January 2010, the magazine published its 150th issue.
In 2012, DWA launched an app version for tablets which made the editorial of the magazine available internationally for the first time; as of mid-2013 only current issues are available via the app.
From issue 322, published on 5 June 2013, the magazine reverted to fortnightly publication again, and subscriptions were discontinued. Relaunched by Panini, the magazine became monthly. At the start of 2017, its frequency was further reduced to bimonthly.
Regular features of the magazine include; posters, fact-files (main features), collectable one page alien guides, favourite scenes (told as photo-stories), previews, reviews, behind the scenes features, questions and answers, some interviews, and an assortment of quizzes, puzzles, activities and make-its (usually a cut-out mask), and competitions, as well as readers' letters, pictures and artwork.
The magazine also features a regular comic strip adventure. With all but a few storylines being single-chapter, the 387 issues published between 2006 and 2017 allowed the DWA comic strip to be the most prolific Doctor Who-related illustrated adventures. During the strip's run, the current TV companion or companions were generally featured, with new companion characters introduced during gaps between TV seasons and new companions. Due to publication of DWA being suspended in June 2017, the comic strip ended without having featured the then-current companions Bill Potts and Nardole.
The comic strips would however resume on 10 January 2019 with the new Doctor and her new friends.
Each issue comes with a free gift, and is often sold wrapped or bagged to secure the contents.
Some gifts include a squirmy bow tie, plastic sonic screwdrivers, a series of collectable monster figures, a psychic paper notepad, a build-your-own-Cyberman kit, character masks, TARDIS wipe board, yo-yos, pens and stickers.
Due to import-related issues, when regular North American distribution of DWA was achieved late in its run, the free gifts were not included in the copies sent out of the UK.
The Doctor Who-related free gifts (often only available in specific regions of the country), multiple covers, and UK only availability, contribute to making this title very collectable. A 2007 readers' survey revealed that, even though it was aimed at a children's market, it was read by 21% of regular Doctor Who Magazine readers of varying ages.
The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC's) twice yearly, February 2008, report gave the Doctor Who Adventures title a circulation figure of 150,763 a rise of some 44% on the previous six months, making it one of the top performing titles published in the UK, and positioned it top in the children's sector, and the 52nd top title overall from all categories.
However the ABC's figures for 2009 showed a nearly 50% drop in circulation, with 44,664 copies circulated between 1 July and 31 December 2009, compared to 82,205 copies moved during the same period in 2008. A statement from the managing director of BBC Children's Magazines attributed the drop to the lack of a regular Doctor Who series in 2009, and indicated that the company was committed to continuing the magazine into 2010.
Unlike Doctor Who Magazine, DWA is aimed at a children's audience of 4 and up. Most of the magazines have no spoilers, feature critical analysis, and feature humour and games aimed at children.
- Doctor Who Adventures (Issue 1-159)
- Doctor Who Adventures (Issue 160-351)
- Doctor Who Adventures 2006 Issue 1 to Issue 19
- Doctor Who Adventures 2007 Issue 20 to Issue 45
- Doctor Who Adventures 2008 Issue 46 to Issue 95
- Doctor Who Adventures 2009 Issue 96 to Issue 147
- Doctor Who Adventures 2010 Issue 148 to Issue 198
- Doctor Who Adventures 2011 Issue 199 to Issue 249
- Doctor Who Adventures 2012 Issue 250 to Issue 300
- Doctor Who Adventures 2013 Issue 301 to Issue 335
- Doctor Who Adventures 2014 Issue 336 to Issue 359
- Doctor Who Adventures 2015 Immediate Media Issue 360 to Issue 363 and Panini Issue 1 to Issue 8.
- Doctor Who Adventures 2016 Issue 9 to Issue 20
- Doctor Who Adventures 2017 Issue 21 to Issue 24
- Doctor Who Adventures 2019 DWA Special
- The official BBC TV and radio listing magazine featured a number of promotional material.
- Besides full page advertisements and mentions, the 11 October 2008 edition also included an extensive 8-page pull-out advert for Doctor Who Adventures offering a special subscription offer which for forgoing the regular gifts with each issue offered a number of more substantial gifts spaced throughout the year including birthdays and Christmas.
- Promoting the return of the Doctor in the Easter Special (Planet of the Dead) a set of three USB devices were available to order online (featuring the Tenth Doctor, Daleks and Cybermen) from Expansive Media costing £2.99 p&p each.
- Each USB featured some preloaded material.
- Promotions ran in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, and BBC Magazines' Radio Times and Doctor Who Adventures titles.
Daily Mirror newspaper giveaway
- In summer 2009, the Daily Mirror newspaper promoted the Doctor Who Adventures in a series of giveaway special edition magazines in consecutive Saturday editions, featuring reprinted material from the magazine.
- The first two were separate 16-page giveaways magazines and included the comic strip stories Hear No Evil and The Ball and Chain Gang respectively and a £1-off voucher.
- The following four were mini-mags and formed an eight-page pullout in the TV listing magazine.
- In addition the Mirror's sister title, the Sunday Mirror included in its 7 June 2009 edition an A4 foldout poster featuring the Tenth Doctor on one side and a Dalek maze on the reverse from issue 99.
- A further mini-mag was offered with the Saturday edition of 19 December 2009, prior to broadcast the Tenth Doctor's swansong.
- Issued in the week before The End of Time broadcast, this special issue from the Doctor Who Adventures team included photos and features that included "Who is the Doctor?", "What we love about Who at Christmas!", "The End of Time preview", "Double page Tenth Doctor and Alien foes poster", "Top 10 Tenth Doctor Moments", "Who says? (quotes)", "The 10 Doctors" (plus the Eleventh), and "The Tenth Doctor's Adventures".
- Unlike the previous special releases the content was all-new and both written and presented for an older age-group than the weekly Doctor Who Adventures title which may explain why this issue is totally advert free (including the DWA title).
- In October 2012 following the first half of series 7, the Mirror newspaper ran a further offer of three posters available by collecting 2 of 3 printed tokens. Each newsprint ad that appeared featured a box article promoting Doctor Who Magazine - the biggest mag for monsters.