Creative Workshops in London
They’re guaranteed to add a string to your bow.
As are the other fine creative endeavours 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.
By the time you’ve worked through these excellent creative workshops in London, your bow’s going to look like an instrument all of its own…
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, who 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 acrobatics to tightrope walking.
Even when you make a bad one, it still looks like you smashed it.
But if you fancy making consistently good ones, head along to Southbank Mosaics, a social enterprise particularly designed to reach out to disadvantaged individuals. Alongside this they run short courses in mosaic making, both daytime and evening – if you fancy a night on the tiles.
Despite having the sort of club name you’d be bullied for attending at school, The Flower Appreciation Society offers one day workshops on everything from creating floral headbands to full-day introductions to 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- and month-long courses, as well as summer masterclasses held in a 400 year-old palace in Italy. Of course.
Life drawing. Guaranteed to make you feel better – whatever your level of artistry – because at least you’re not the naked person standing in a room of fully clothed people. London Drawing run regular untutored drop-in sessions, as well as day workshops designed to help you get a better grasp on nudes. Artistically speaking.
Throwing. It’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 both their original Hackney and recently opened Lee Valley studios, so you can try your hand before making a bid for a workspace.
Painting by Numbers
If your painting skills need er, brushing up, pay a visit to Studio Masterpiece; a regular class that acts as a perfect intro to some of the more challenging creative workshops in London. Tutors talk you through recreating a classic work of art, step by step, and just to help truly replicate the authentic studio conditions of the old masters… you can also bring your own wine.
Petersham Nurseries in Richmond run a range of events in their picturesque secret gardens, but this year highlights include foraging and edible plant classes, 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.
Learn a Brass Instrument
If you’ve ever wanted to toot your own trumpet, this is the place to do it. London Metropolitan Brass run a beginners’ band rehearsal every Wednesday evening, in the disused Alexandra Palace railway station. It’s completely free to attend, 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.
Learn to Build Robots
Create Space London runs a three day workshop that will introduce you to coding and robotics for beginners. And at the end of the course, you leave with an all-beeping, all-moving robot with which to terrify your friends. Hooray!
Paint Jam London
Contrary to what their name would suggest, this club do a lot more than just paint jam. In fact, alongside their painting supperclubs, they also run sketching classes on location, from galleries and museums to London’s architectural gems, and even provide all the materials for you – so you won’t be in a jam there.
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.
Putney School of Art and Design
You could spend hours researching art classes in London, but at some point you need to draw a line. This welcoming little gem tucked behind Putney High Street offers both intensive and longer term courses in all sorts of visual art, from book illustration to screen printing and etching.
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 the beginners’ taxidermy classes at the Islington Arts Factory (costumes and silly poses optional). Classes also run sporadically at the atmospheric St. Bart’s Pathology Museum, if you’ve got the guts.
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.
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.
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.
Book Binding at Falkiner Fine Papers
If you’re the kind of person who gets 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 imported and handmade paper in the cosy surrounds of a paper shop in Victoria, then by all means head along.
Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
If you’re looking for more unusual creative workshops in London, amp it up a notch at the Prince’s School, whose courses delve deep into the traditional art forms 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.
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.
LEARN MORRIS DANCING (and other folk traditions) at Cecil Sharp House
You’d think folk culture was overrated, the way people make a song and dance about it. But there’s a staggering array of ye olde activities organised by the English Folk Dance and Song Society, based in a Regent’s Park townhouse. You can join in with ceilidhs and country (including Morris) dancing, sing a capella folk songs or even pick up the accordion – though that might be a bit of a stretch.
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?
Learn Magic at Davenport’s
Be warned: this is a very competitive course.
To get in, they may have to pull you 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”.
Print Club London
Want to find out more about screen printing and design? Join the club. No really, because it’s a workspace and teaching centre in Dalston. On completing any of their creative workshops in London, 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 different squeegees.
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…
Learn the Art of Stained Glass
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 classes in enamel jewellery and glass fusion.
Commune with Nature
Wild Capital run walks that will help you learn to instantly identify trees and plants on sight, wax lyrical about the Thames’ function as a wildlife corridor or even learn some bushcraft survival skills. People may laugh now, but just wait until the next tube strike…
And now, just to find a class on decision-making…
Main image credit: London Drawing
Now that you’re signed up to all the creative workshops in London… reward yourself with some help from our London hidden bar guide