Class Act: 17 Fun Skills To Learn In London

London is going back to school – only this time round we’re swapping geography for glassblowing, business studies for butchery, and algebra for aerial silks. It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and now you can drop into a host of classes across the capital. If only teachers had taught ice sculpture or taxidermy, then detention would have been much more fun.

istock-618744758.jpgSporty Types
1: Fly Through The Air 
If the last circus you went to wowed you with its high wire and spinning routines, then why not learn to perform stunts of your own? Take a half-day Circus Experience Day (18 Mar) at the National Centre for Circus Arts and you’ll learn the trapeze, tightwire and acrobatics. Alternatively, Flying Fantastic teaches you how to climb, drop and twist while dangling from billowing red silks (28 Mar). It’s a workout, just not as you know it. nationalcircus.org.ukindytute.com
2: Learn Table Tennis 
Next time you challenge your pals to a ping pong match, be ready. Learn from the pros and perfect your serving, slicing and smashing techniques – then wow them with your top spin and deep chop. The lesson (12 & 26 Mar) ends with a mini tournament against fellow students at Bounce, a table tennis bar near Chancery Lane. indytute.combouncepingpong.com
3: Twirl Away 
Learn to twirl, hurl and swirl your way to fitness in a ‘Hula Schoola’ class at Shoreditch Town Hall (4, 18 & 25 Mar). Your teacher, Marawa the Amazing, has five Guinness World Records for hula hooping – including one for swivelling 162 hoops simultaneously live on America’s Today show. indytute.com
4: Dance Like Beyoncé
With classes teaching you everything from how  to dance like Beyoncé to book binding, you’ll find something you like at this quirky bar, shop and event space near King’s Cross. Check the website for classes. drinkshopdo.com

Arty Types 
5: Preserve Loved Ones
If you got an ‘A’ in dissection for biology then this one’s for you, as you will learn how to preserve a dead animal. Take your pick from making a bird-wing fascinator at The Viktor Wynd Museum (23 Mar), or preserving a mouse or chipmunk at Islington Arts Factory (18 & 19 Mar). You’ll leave with your own creation. thebritishacademyoftaxidermy.org
6: See The Light
Pencil drawing is so 1795 – the 21st century is  all about neon drawing. Join a one-day neon  art class at The Greenhouse to learn how to fill glass forms with gas to make a recyclable light (17 & 18 Mar). Once you’ve designed a sign, you’ll transcribe it into a 1.5m piece of neon. At the end, you’ll have a bona fide piece of bespoke art to take home. indytute.com
7: Go Green 
If you’ve always dreamed of designing your own garden but don’t even have a balcony, then why not take a terrarium class? You’ll learn how decorative gardens inside sealable jars create their own mini ecosystem, before making your very own using stones, powdered charcoal (a natural filter), soil and plants. It is fiddly, but fun. Regular workshops; locations vary. londonterrariums.com
8: Create Glass Art
Spend a day at London Glassblowing (25 Mar). Here, you’ll master how to use a blowing iron while experimenting with colour and shape to create four pieces of glass art. londonplanner.com/attraction/london-glassblowing-studio-workshop
9: Print Your Own T-shirt
Instead of buying a hipster print, make your own at a screen-printing beginner’s workshop at Print Club London. Experts will talk you through the history of the art, then demonstrate techniques before you get to print your own design on paper. Alternatively, you can create one on a T-shirt or tote bag if you bring one with you (Thur, Sat or Sun). printclublondon.com
10: Make Mosaics
Here’s proof that one man’s junk is another’s treasure. On a Thames Mudlarking & Mosaic course (18-19 Mar) you’ll scour the Thames for discarded items such as Roman pottery, before laying your finds into cement to create a mosaic at St John’s Crypt, near Waterloo. southbankmosaics.com
11: Sculpting Ice 
Spring may be here but the ice hasn’t melted  yet – at least not at Hamilton Ice Sculptors in Wimbledon. Ice sculptors teach you about the history of ice sculpture before demonstrating how to use the hand tools. You’ll then create a prototype under supervision before sculpting a design. Please check for March dates. icesculpture.co.uk

Foodie Types 
12: Beautiful Biscuits 
Serious about your biscuits? Take an icing class at The Biscuiteers’ cafés in Battersea and Notting Hill. You’ll learn piping, decorating techniques and how to make icing in a five-hour extended masterclass (1 & 9 Mar). Alternatively create an ice teacup and teapot-shaped biscuits (8 Mar), butterflies (12 Mar) and a Mother’s Day bouquet (15 & 26 Mar) in two-hour sessions. You can also take a late-night class (2 & 30 Mar) – just in time for midnight munchies. biscuiteers.com
13: Get Meaty 
If butchering a hunk of meat is your idea of fun, learn more in a class at Ginger Pig. Experts teach you everything, from where the meat and game is sourced and how diet affects its flavour, to how to prepare and cook it. Then it’s time for hands-on practice – whether that’s getting messy making sausages or putting a deconstructed lamb back together again. Check the website for dates and locations. thegingerpig.co.uk
14: Be A Baker 
Forget mass-produced sliced white bread – Bread Angels will teach you to make the real thing. Take classes dedicated to sourdough or study the basics, such as kneading, in these hands-on courses in a home kitchen. Bread tasting is included. Please check the website for dates and locations. breadangels.com
15: Learn Viticulture 
London doesn’t have the vineyards of Bordeaux, but it does have a winery. Skip Eurostar in favour of London Cru and be a winemaker for a day (25 Mar). During your tour you’ll discover how the winery transports its grapes from vineyards in Europe. You’ll be given tasting tips and taught how to assess wine before adding acid, tannin and sugar so you can see how it affects the taste. You’ll then put your new skills to the test creating a signature cuvée. londoncru.co.uk
16: Local Brews
When you sip your pint at the weekend, you may think you appreciate beer – but how well do you understand it? Join A Taste of London Beer class at City Lit (14 Mar) to taste ales, bitters, lagers and craft beers and learn how to differentiate between them. As well as grasping how each type is made, you will also learn all about London’s latest beer trends. citylit.ac.uk
17: Tea Tasting
Discover the origins of your favourite cuppa at Twinings, a 300-year-old tea shop on the Strand. Sign up for a masterclass with a tea ambassador to learn about the history of the tea trade, the process of making tea, legends and traditions. Classes are held all year round, but this month you can attend a Mother’s Day afternoon tea, where you will sip carefully selected Twinings teas and enjoy afternoon tea-style food served on elegant china (26 Mar). twinings.co.uk

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