Leiths School of Food & Wine
The cookery school where the likes of Gizzi Erskine and Olia Hercules learned their craft offers everything from full-on chef training to week-long and evening courses. The ‘Cooking with Confidence’ six-week evening course is ideal for enthusiastic amateurs wishing to brush up on the foundations of cookery. You’ll also learn how to make the best use of store cupboard ingredients and the shortcuts to make every day cooking achievable and enjoyable. ‘Simple Suppers’ aims to invigorate mid-week meals via a four-part evening course. Participants will boost their kitchen skills and gain an instant repertoire of healthy meals that can be ready in around 30 minutes. One-off classes include wine tasting, knife skills, sauces and vegan meals.
16-20 Wendell Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 9RT
How To: Academy
The How To: Academy provides an impressive public programme of live events and courses in London – featuring leading scientists, business theorists, Nobel Prize laureates, philosophers and authors. Away from its public events, students can sign up to learn a useful new skill, get a satisfying new hobby, or make positive changes in your life – all with expert guidance. ‘How To: One on One’ bookings can be made for one-to-one instruction, or for groups of friends or colleagues, and offer coaching in personal development and business skills, as well lessons in hobbies and lifestyle. We like the sound of ‘How To Be Ambitious at Work (Without Losing Your Sense of Self)’ by writer and comedian Viv Groskop; ‘How To Change Your Life With Tiny Habits’ by BJ Fogg; and ‘How To Lead A Good Life’ with Emily Maitlis.
11 Aldridge Road Villas, Bloomsbury, W11 1BL
Bread Ahead Wembley
To kick-start the new year, Bread Ahead’s owner and founder Matthew Jones has launched the ‘Ultimate Doughnut Experience’, a masterclass where he’ll let guests in on the secrets behind the bakery’s most-loved sweet treat. Hosted at Bread Ahead’s newest venue in Wembley, attendees will learn the various stages of creating and filling doughnuts during the 90-minute experience. All guests will receive a signed copy of the Bread Ahead recipe book Bakery School and a box of four doughnuts to take away – plus plenty of sampling along the way.
Olympic Way, Wembley, HA9 0NP
McQueens Flower School
McQueens Flower School offers a diverse curriculum that’s been popular with budding florists for over 20 years. With a team of expert tutors at the helm, the team offers a chance for attendees to fulfil their ambitions, whether it's a long-harboured dream to take an interest in flowers to a professional level, or as a creative and therapeutic hobby. The school offers a range of programmes, from vocational courses for professional florists, to one-day courses for beginners. Classes range from one-day long to one week and four-week courses.
229 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0EL
Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden
Petersham Nurseries’ central London site has launched a new set of masterclasses for the new year. Of the selection, which includes wine tasting, tea tasting, an introduction to mindful meditation and olive oil tasting, we like the look of its pasta-making masterclasses. In this interactive class, you’ll learn traditional dough recipes, be shown how to shape pasta including ravioli, garganelli and tagliatelle, and make a selection of simple Italian sauces. At the end of the workshop, you’ll take away your freshly made pasta as well as pasta flour, Haye Farm eggs and a homemade tomato sauce to enjoy at home. Delicious.
Floral Court, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD
Royal Drawing School
The Royal Drawing School runs over 250 different full and part-time drawing courses each year for adults (and children – perfect for half term). The team offers weekend and evening drawing courses for complete beginners to experienced artists and creative professionals: we like the sound of its Monday night life-drawing classes. Each week sees a different challenge set by the tutor to question the way you see, think, feel and draw. Whether you’re looking to pick up a new skill or are a practicing artist who draws each day, this class promises to further your understanding of art.
19-22 Charlotte Road, Hackney, EC2A 3SG
Whether you’re free during the evening, daytime or over the weekend, City Lit has a variety of classes with plenty of dates and times for you to choose from. The school offers a bright, modern environment for you to get to grips with a new skill, as well as expert and supportive teaching. Rated ‘outstanding’ in its last government inspection, classes include photography, fashion and textiles, drawing and painting, print, graphic design, interior design and garden design courses.
1-10 Keeley Street, Holborn, WC2B 4BA
The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment
Idler – which was founded in the 90s – is devoted to helping people to lead more fulfilled lives. The team published a bi-monthly magazine, produces online courses and runs live events. The Idler Academy, which began at a festival in 2010, is Idler’s educational offshoot – a school which offers online and real-world courses in the classical liberal arts and practical skills. The Idler Academy teaches philosophy, astronomy, calligraphy, music, business skills, English grammar, ukulele, public speaking, singing, drawing, self-defence and other subjects in convivial surroundings with like-minded and interesting people. Upcoming classes include ‘Harmonica for Beginners’; ‘How To Cook Ghanaian Food’ with Zoe Adjonyoh; and ‘How To Read Tarot’ with Daisy Waugh.
65 Alfred Road, Notting Hill, W2 5EU
Central Saint Martins
The capital’s most famous art school offers more than 1,500 short courses to 20,000 students each year. The courses are available year-round, offering current and aspiring creatives the opportunity to explore art, design, communication, fashion, media and performing arts. The year-round short course programme at Central Saint Martins is convenient, because it takes place in the evenings, over weekends, online, or as week-long or longer intensive courses during Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. Course subjects range from jewellery design; bag making; furniture design; printing with botanicals; location sound recording; and acting taster weekends. The school also offers a wide range of modern language courses.
1 Granary Square, King's Cross, N1C 4AA
Super-stylish ceramic centre Turning Earth has a range of masterclasses for beginners. Across its two sites in Hoxton and Leyton, courses run year-round and each one is taught by an experienced Turning Earth artist. Each class has only 12 students per teacher so you can expect plenty of individual attention, and classes cover both hand-building techniques and wheel throwing. When students 'graduate', they can become a studio member and come and go whenever they want to get making. Due to popular demand, one-week intensive courses are now held at the Leyton studio, providing a great way to get to grips with the craft quickly without the long-term commitment of a weekly slot.
361-362 Whiston Road, Hoxton, E2 8BW and 11 Argall Avenue, Leyton, E10 7QE
King’s College Modern Language Centre
Evening language courses on offer at King’s College include: Arabic, Bengali, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Urdu. Most are offered from beginner to near native speaker, and each level is taught in three parts (one part per term) and can be completed in five- or ten-week blocks. Standard courses are taught on weekday evenings, for ten weeks, and each class is 90-minutes long hours. If you’re not a complete beginner, you’ll need to undertake a test to work out which class level you should be in.
King's College London, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 2LS
If you don’t fancy venturing out, opt for an online course instead. The best one we’ve come across is Masterclass, which offers unlimited online video tutorials with the most impressive of experts – think tennis tuition with Serena Williams, fashion design with Marc Jacobs, photography with Annie Leibowitz, creative writing with Margaret Atwood, acting with Helen Mirren – we could go on. One class includes access to anything from 15-32 video tutorials with your chosen pro, plus workbooks and feedback, while an all-access pass for £14 a month will give you access to every workshop (which currently stands at 75 lecturers – and counting).