It’s guaranteed to add a string to your bow.
As are the many of the other fine creative endeavours that we’ve listed here, from tightrope walking to anthropomorphic animal taxidermy – all in the name of helping you on your true path to becoming a creative genius. And by the time you’ve worked through these excellent creative workshops in London…
…you’re gonna need a bigger bow.
Throwing’s catching on. And you can get in on the clay-based action at Turning Earth, an open studio and creative workspace for amateur and professional potters alike. If you’re new to ceramics, they also run classes at their original Hoxton studio, so you can try your hand before making a bid for a workspace. South Londoners, you might want to check The Kiln Rooms out. They’re based in Peckham’s The Bussey Building and offer one-off, four-week, or twelve-week courses for both beginners and intermediates. See more pottery classes in London
Details: Turning Earth Hoxton: Arches 361-362, Whiston Road, E2 8BW, The Kiln Rooms: Unit 202, Level 2, Peckham Town Centre Carpark, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | £300 for a twelve class-course at Turning Earth and £290 for twelve weeks at The Kiln Rooms
Life drawing: guaranteed to make you feel better – whatever your level of artistry – because at least you’re not the one naked person standing in a room of fully clothed people. London Drawing run regular drop-in sessions at unusual spaces around London including Pop Brixton and Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings‘ basement den, as well as day workshops designed to help you get a better grasp on nudes. Artistically speaking.
Details: Across London | Drop-ins £10, one day workshops £65
The art of flower arranging is vasely underappreciated. The Flower Appreciation Society offers one day workshops on everything from creating floral headbands to three-day crash-courses in professional floristry. And if you’re in it for the long term, McQueens floristry school resides in a bright and airy warehouse in Bethnal Green, where they offer week- to month-long courses, specifically designed as vocational training.
Details: TFAS | BE Studios, 72a Southgate Road, N1 3JF | From £75
McQueens 229 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL | From £130
If you’re nosy about perfume making, book yourself into a class at Experimental Perfume Club. They run regular beginner, intermediate and advanced classes from their studio in Hackney, teaching you everything from how to navigate different fragrance families, to developing your own individual scent. All classes include a 10ml bottle of your bespoke fragrance to take-home, as well as the fragrance formula meaning you can go back and recreate it whenever you want. FIND OUT MORE
Details: 4 Netil Lane, London, E8 3RL | Half-day apprentice workshop from £115, unguided drop-in £25
John the Poacher supplies a number of London’s top bars and restaurants with foraged bits and bobs. You’ll need to forage a little for his classes – he posts upcoming dates on instagram – but his walks are legendary, where you’ll learn to recognise “fairy ring” mushrooms and seasonal berries that you can pick and eat (and hopefully won’t make everything around you look like it’s melting).
Details: Most Saturdays, meet down at the café by the Lea Rowing Club, Spring Hill | £30, no need to book
If you have a burning desire to become a candle-maker, you can do, at Earl of East in London Fields & King’s Cross. They offer both beginner and intermediate classes where – after a warm-up glass of prosecco – you’ll learn about everything from picking and balancing scents, to pouring and setting your candle, which you then get to take home. READ MORE
Details: 5a Gransden Avenue, London Fields, E8 3QA | 87 Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ | £49.50
Head to this weaving studio in Hackney, and you might find someone looming over you. The good news is, it’s expert weaver Francesca Kletz, who’ll talk you through weaving with floor looms, yarn dyeing, or even embroidering some genitals to hang on your wall… READ MORE
Details: Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT | From £50
Even if you make a bad one, it still looks like you smashed it.
And the London School of Mosaic is so passionate about the artform, they run an official degree programme in mosaic-making. Of course, if you just want to dip your toe, there are short courses and one-day workshops that’ll give you a solid insight into the craft.
Details: 181 Mansfield Road, NW3 2HP | From 7 hour workshops, £85
Contrary to what their name would suggest, this club do a lot more than just paint spreadable condiments. In fact, they run monthly paint-flinging knees-ups in secret locations with pop up bars, soul and disco DJs and plenty of blank canvases.
Details: Secret venues across London | From £35
If you’ve ever wanted to run away and join the circus in a controlled and professionally-overseen manner, then look no further than the National Centre for Circus Arts in Hoxton. They cater for all levels of commitment, from circus fitness classes (which we can only imagine consists of long distance pie-throwing and unicycle spinning classes), to longer courses and even qualifications in aerial silks, acrobalance and tightrope walking.
Details: National Centre for Circus Arts, Coronet Street, N1 6HD | Around £230 for an 11-week course
Sewing & Dyeing
Fabrications is a little sewing school perched on Broadway Market, which offers classes and workshops on dressmaking, basic sewing, macramé – and specialises in traditional Japanese techniques like shibori (a kind of distinctive indigo tie-dye) and sashiko embroidery.
Details: 7 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH | From £40
Fancy carving out a new niche for yourself? Debbie Chessell’s lino printing workshops are only a tenner, and you’ll get to grips with all the basic skills of sketching, carving and inking up your design. Plus, you’ll get to print it on to your very own tote bag to take home.
Details: Check here for upcoming workshops
Print Club London
Want to find out more about screen printing and design? Join the Club – a friendly studio and teaching centre in Dalston. On completing any of their workshops, you’ll be able to join as a member and enjoy access to their facilities (even at 4am if you so desire). Their beginner workshop promises a thorough introduction to the world of screen printing, including an in-depth assessment of squeegees.
Details: Unit 3, 10-28 Millers Avenue, E8 2DS | £65
Art and Design
You could spend hours researching art classes in London, but at some point you need to draw a line. Putney School of Art and Design is a welcoming little gem tucked behind Putney High Street, offering both intensive and longer term courses in all sorts of visual arts, from botanical illustration to screen printing and etching.
Details: 46 Oxford Road, SW15 2LQ | From £70
Wish you had a cute pet hedgehog but just don’t have the resources? You can get the next best thing by stuffing a former mammal, reptile or bird of your choice at these fascinating taxidermy classes (costumes optional). Classes also run sporadically at the atmospheric St. Bart’s Pathology Museum, if you’ve got the guts.
Details: Secret Location | From £45
London Glassblowing is a smashing little spot in Bermondsey that offers glassblowing experience days. At £500 a pop, they’re not cheap – but you’ll get three of your own bespoke pieces to take home, as well as a pretty rare shot at an unusual craft.
Details: 62-66 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UD | £500
The School of Life
Allowing people everywhere to proudly claim that they actually did study at The School of Life, this philosophical drop-in academy runs some of the more unusual creative workshops in London, on everything from making love last and finding the right career to er, changing the world. Depending on your ambition levels that day. READ MORE
Details: 70 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB | From £55
The Goodlife Centre
This school near the Tate Modern is all about empowering people to DIY, and specialise in basic plumbing, electrics, and the like. But you can also learn creative pursuits here: their courses include hand-caning furniture, Japanese woodwork, paper marbling, soap making and more.
Details: 49-55 Great Guildford Street, London, SE1 0ES | From £125 for a day course
The St Bride Foundation was built 126 years ago to service the printers of Fleet Street, with baths, a laundry, a library and more. Now, the old gymnasium has been converted into a workshop space, where you can learn all kinds of printing craft – particularly letterpress (that old-school, embossed effect), bookbinding and wood engraving.
Details: St Bride Foundation, 14 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EQ | £120
Clowning is very difficult.
So before you scoff, try walking a mile in their shoes.
And fear not, this isn’t a terrifying convention of red nosed, pie-wielding maniacs that are the stuff of nightmares. Instead, it’s clowning in the traditional sense – think Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton. Spymonkey’s week-long courses are for theatrical professionals and lay folk alike, comprising a series of workshops that ultimately teach you to deal very, very well with embarrassment.
Details: Across London | From £150
London Jewellery School
Next time you fancy learning some techniques used in jewellery design and production, give this place a ring. Their classes range from working with perspex and enamel costume jewellery, to stone setting and silver crafting. READ MORE
Details: Back Ground Floor Studio, New House, 67-68 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8JY | From £149
If you’ve ever wanted to blow your own trumpet, this is the place to do it. London Metropolitan Brass run an eight-week beginners’ course on Monday evenings in Stroud Green. It’s completely free to hire an instrument with them, and there’ll be more experienced players on hand to show you the ropes – which is useful, because they’re often completely invisible on brass instruments.
Details: Stroud Green Primary School, Woodstock Road, N4 3EX | Free, inc. instrument hire
The London Craft Club
Naturally dyeing a silk scarf with foraged plant ingredients. Mindful hand quilting. FIRE WRITING. If any of these events have piqued your interest, then you’ll be happy to find them all at the London Craft Club, regally perched in an aristocratic townhouse overlooking Bedford Square.
Details: 20 Bedford Square, WC1B 3HH | From £39
The Old School Club
Remember those after school clubs where you’d find yourself painting stacks of furniture and covering footstools? Us neither, but this club runs creative workshops in London teaching the masses to upholster and upcycle practically anything with wooden legs. Except pirates.
Details: Unit 141 Battersea Business Centre, 99-109 Lavender Hill, SW11 5QL
Morris Dancing (and other English Folk traditions)
If you’ve ever wondered what all the song and dance is about, you can get stuck into some ye olde activities organised by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. There are regular ceilidhs and country (including Morris) dancing nights, a capella folk song classes, or you can even pick up the accordion – though that might be a bit of a stretch.
Details: Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 7AY | From £8 drop-in
If you’re the sort of person who can’t resist the urge to mess around with melty candles on a dinner table, batik could be a good creative outlet for you. A traditional Indonesian fabric craft, batik uses hot wax to define borders between brush-dyed sections of fabric, to create something like the textile equivalent of stained glass. Talking of which…
Details: Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HT | From £285
This is a workshop where you take the lead…
…and then mould it around shards of coloured glass. Stoke Newington’s Rainbow Glass Studios run introductory day courses in stained glass making, as well as evening workshops and classes in enamel jewellery and glass painting.
Details: 172 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0JL | £145
If you’re the kind of person who gets easily glued to books, this might not be for you. But if you’re the kind of person who wants to learn how to hand-stitch and bind books with beautiful handmade paper in the cosy surrounds of a paper shop in Pimlico, then by all means head along.
Details: 30 Gillingham Street, SW1V 1HU | From £70
If you’re looking for more unusual creative workshops in London, amp it up a notch at the School of Traditional Arts, whose courses delve deep into the traditional crafts of cultures from around the world, covering everything from ornamental wood carving to mural painting inspired by the Buddhist caves of Dunhuang. Which you’re probably already familiar with, but it’s always worth brushing up on these things.
Details: 19–22 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3SG | From £385
Dry Stone Walling
There’s mortar building walls than cement. And here to prove it is the London School of Dry Stone Walling, who will teach you to assemble natural stones in an upward direction, without the use of mortar. Who said wall-to-wall walling couldn’t be fun?
Details: Mudchute Park and Farm, Pier Street, E14 3HP | £85
Sketching in Museums
If you’ve ever wondered what all those sketchy looking people are doing in museums, well – here’s your chance to join them. Joe Simpson is an experienced artist and teacher who’ll take you round some of London’s most iconic repositories of art and sculpture, and guide you through sketching the pieces that take your fancy.
Details: Art galleries across London | £60 for a day workshop
Be warned: this is a very popular course.
They may have to pull names out of a hat.
But should you get a place, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the magician’s sleeve, with misdirection and fancy-sounding sleight of hand techniques like “Ramsey Subtlety” and “L’homme Masque”.
Details: Across London | £59
A Little Bit of Everything…
If you’re just after some general inspiration, it’s always worth taking a look at Carousel. As you’d expect for a restaurant that sees some of the world’s greatest chefs pass through its doors on a monthly basis, it’s home to a regular line-up of cookery classes. But as you wouldn’t expect, they also run a series of creative workshops – from calligraphy to wildlife drawing with micro pigs.
Details: 71 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 8AB | Prices vary
And now, just to find a class on decision-making…
Last Updated: 25th March 2020 | Main image credit: London Drawing
Now that you’re signed up to the best creative workshops in London… reward yourself with some help from our London hidden bar guide.