Spring is the chance to start something new! Forget the usual music or martial arts beginner’s lessons and try your hand at something more niche. Here are some classes you probably won’t have tried, from beekeeping to errm... encrusting your very own dead crab with plastic gems.
Beekeeping at the Proud Archivist
Begin Anywhere will be hosting ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping’ on 14 March at the Proud Archivist. Bee expert Camilla Goddard will be teaching the class, and you can sample a delicious honey-infused cocktail created by The Proud Archivist team. There's also the chance to book a follow-up practical workshop class in April after you learn the theory (bee suits provided).
Begin Anywhere schedule bespoke beginner’s events throughout the year: past events have included photography workshops and whisky tasting. You can also watch out for ‘A Beginner’s Guide to North Korea’ on 13 March with Guardian design critic Olly Wainwright.
Tickets are between £12 - £17.
Learn about the basics of beekeeping and how to get your own hive started.
Argentine Tango at the Tango Academy
Strictly fans will know that the Argentine Tango is one of the hardest dances to master, requiring speed, skill and passion. At the Tango Academy, beginner’s classes have a friendly and relaxed vibe, and you can master the art step-by-step. You don’t need to bring a partner, as during the class you will swap partners regularly so that you can meet new people and make friends. The academy is run by two professional Tango dancers and a team of ten teachers, and they offer free taster sessions for tango amateurs. Once you perfect the basics, you can head to London’s more social tango scene: Fridays at Carablanca and Negracha are very popular, as are Maral & Mariano’s Tango Garden on Saturday afternoons. Negracha also run beginner’s classes, but these tend to be very busy.
The taster session at Tango Academy is free, and beginner’s classes cost £10 a session. Classes are available in Angel, Covent Garden and Notting Hill.
Book a taster tango session today.
Wilderness Foraging Course in Oxfordshire
Perhaps you’ve seen Bear Grylls’ Channel 4 show The Island, read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies or devoured Alex Garland’s The Beach. Maybe you’ve just always wondered what you’d do if you had to scavenge for food in the wilderness. If that’s the case, then why not try an outdoor foraging course?
Woodland Ways offers a one-day course for beginners, which will teach them the basics of outdoors survival. On the Spring Forage, new recruits will learn plant identification techniques: which plants have medicinal properties, which ones are edible, and which ones are poisonous. The leader will explain how to harvest the resources in a sustainable manner, and how to prepare each ingredient. Carnivores can learn how to catch and prepare their own wild fowl and fish, and there are vegetarian options available too. Admittedly, this one isn't strictly London, but it's a short drive or train ride away. The course takes place on a 250-acre private woodlands site in Oxfordshire, within 45 minutes of west London, and the secluded location will give you the illusion of scavenging in the middle of nowhere.
A one-day course costs £95, including foraged food.
Find out more about Woodland Ways and other foraging courses on offer.
Glassmaking Courses at Rainbow Glass Studios
Rainbow Glass Studios offer glassmaking classes aimed at beginners once a month on a Saturday. Their next ‘Fusing Glass Class’ takes place on 12 March, but if you can’t make that one they run other events regularly. Other upcoming events include ‘Stained Glass Class for Beginners’ (2 April) and ‘Painting on Glass’ (9 - 10 April). In the introductory class, you can produce a number of objects, from bowls to jewellery, and keep your finished product as a beautiful souvenir.
Tickets are £140 for a full-day workshop.
Get all the details on fusing, staining and painting glass from Rainbow Glass Studios.
Anthropomorphic Crab Taxidermy at Islington Arts Factory
A beginner’s class that is not for the faint-hearted. We recommend starting with a crab, although the British Academy of Taxidermy does offer classes with animals such as deer, foxes, snakes and lambs. The crab option is the least intimidating - and cheapest - course available, and it gives budding taxidermists the chance to transform a crustacean into a visual trinket, encrusted with jewels and glitter. It follows in the vein of Victorian taxidermists such as Walter Potter, who created amusing and bizarre tableau out of sea creatures, and it claims to revive this lost anthropomorphic art. You can make a truly unique centrepiece, an unusual gift for a loved one, a bibelot like no other - that is, if you can stomach scooping out the insides of a dead crab. Rest assured, it is a novice class unlike any other you might have tried.
Tickets to the class are £60 (2 for £90).
Find out more about The British Academy of Taxidermy and their classes.
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