Visit London Blog » Classes Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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Street Dance Class at City Academy Wed, 27 Jun 2012 11:41:48 +0000  Every Thursday evening for the last eight weeks I’ve been upstairs in an arty building, dipping, sliding and body-popping, at City Academy’s Beginners’ Street Dance Class. You know the sort of moves: the twists and turns you see dancers doing in Beyonce, Bieber and Britney’s music videos.

We start with an upbeat warm up and stretch; the ideal way to shake off the fast pace of London living. We then go straight into a recap of the moves we learnt the week before – and build up from just a handful of steps to a complete dance. All the while the music is loud enough to drown out the noise of London for an hour and a half, so you walk out feeling energised and ready to go again.

Our teacher Daniel was superb, really approachable and very patient, getting us all in the mood to have fun. The class was paced to cater for all levels of ability with Daniel adapting and adjusting the routines by speeding things up and adding harder moves. 

City Academy’s Street Dance class was extremely rewarding – especially when you surprise yourself and get a few moves right!  The class is also a great way to meet people, this it what some of the class had to say about the experience:

“I loved it and found it amazing. Dancing in front of other people really helped me come out of my shell.”
Michelle, 27 

“Better than Star Wars”
Dave, 32 

“It’s really good fun, makes you feel happy.”
Freya, 29

“Let your inner Sasha Fierce out!”
Blair 24  

“Daniel is the best and nicest dance teacher. He made us laugh so much, I’m in love when I watch his dancing! Everyone was amazing and really supportive – great atmosphere!”
Min, 28 and Carol, 27

“Everyone works better as a team. This class was something completely out of the norm for me, a personal risk that was really worth it.”
Iain, 27

“Best dance class I’ve found in London. You think you can’t dance? Think again. I’ve done other dance classes and this was the best.”
Karen, 29

Fancy a go? City Academy offer a range of dance, theatre, comedy and performance classes in London.

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Fabrications, Broadway Market Tue, 22 May 2012 16:34:24 +0000

Fabrications in Hackney is hiding an exciting secret in the basement – a brand new Imaginerium workshop space for craft classes and fun.

Established over a decade ago in Broadway Market, Fabrications is a studio, gallery and shop that has already made a mark in the London craft scene, bringing contemporary textiles to a wider audience and actively supporting craftivism – using craft to change the world for the better.

On Saturday I was invited along to an open day to see the new space and sew a grocery bag based on the design of a standard a carrier bag, but from pretty offcuts of fabric – a perfect example of recycling and modern design. (You’ll need a large grocery bag if you go to Broadway Market, especially if you love fresh walnut bread from artisan bakers and your willpower is enfeebled by the siren song of a nice bit of cheese.)

The room is kitted out with all the essentials you’ll need to make beautiful things, including new sewing machines and tea. A large glass roof at the back lets in lots of natural light. The new space is a warm, welcoming and friendly place.

The classes reflect designer and Fabrications owner Barley Massey’s passion for upcycling, eco design and passing on useful traditional skills. You can learn to knit, sew, quilt and make clothes. There are also classes where you can transform the boring things in the back of your wardrobe into something new and personalised, make yarn from old clothes and a craft club where you can bring along your latest project for advice.

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A Golf Lesson at London Golf Club Wed, 11 Aug 2010 16:42:44 +0000 At the weekend I headed off to London Golf Club for a lesson.  From Victoria it was only 30 minutes on the train and then a quick taxi ride from there.

The first thing you notice as you drive up is the setting, two beautiful 18 hole courses named Heritage and International both of which are designed by the world renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus.

The great thing about London Golf Club is that you don’t have to be a member to play on their courses.

I was greeted by my teacher Paul who is head professional at London Golf Club – he started there as a caddy when the club first opened.  Kitted out with a bag full of different named clubs, irons and drivers we headed off to the practice range.  The closest I had got to golf before was pitch and putt on holiday and this was a far cry from that.

Paul taught me the basics with an 8 iron and by the end of the lesson had me hitting a driver, all the time reminding me “the ball is the centre of the circle” the one thing that would always guarantee me a great shot…apparently!

It was great to get out in the fresh air and Paul was extremely encouraging and patient. If you fancy doing something different one afternoon then it is a great way to escape the stress of work and afterwards head to the clubhouse to relax with a glass of wine and some food and have a giggle about the bad shots that were made… and I definitively made a few of those!

London Golf Club: Lessons start from £30

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Salsa at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Wed, 28 Jul 2010 09:00:24 +0000 Friday night I went to the launch of the new salsa club night at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

I attended the beginners’ class taught by Nathan Brade  in the Primo bar, which has a great view over Westminster Bridge. We went through the basic moves and beats and after a few practice runs of the steps we were paired up.

With more ladies then men (always the way), it was great to see some of the pros step in and expertly lead the way.

What I didn’t realise about salsa was how glamorous it is- forget dancing in flats – here the higher the heel the better!

Dressing up to dance makes it into a real occasion and a fun Friday night out. The best thing is that you can be totally comfortable going on your own as it’s not at all imposing and everyone was super-friendly and just wanted to dance.

The teacher was great, and the band were incredible, as were the regular salsa goers who really knew their stuff.

The bar also served some wicked Cuban cocktails, which really gave me some confidence to get dancing when the band started. I didn’t really have much choice as the instructor, Nathan, twirled me around the room!

The best bit of the night came when he told me to relax my knees and suddenly my legs were in the air and my head near the floor. I had been professionally salsa “dipped” and even though it probably looked a complete mess, I felt so graceful and it was brilliant fun.

Salsa night at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is every Friday from 8pm. Free for hotel guests and £8 for everyone else

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BBC Blast: Calling All Creative Teenagers in London Thu, 03 Jun 2010 15:27:30 +0000 If you’re aged between 13 and 19 and are looking to hone your creative skills, don’t miss the four-day BBC Blast event this June.

BBC Blast is coming to London and is looking for enthusiastic teens to take part in a programme of free creative workshops at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the Natural History Museum.

Workshops are available in a wide range of topics including set design, spoken word, DJing and a festival Q&A with Bestival founder Rob Da Bank. There are limited places available so apply now.

See the full programme and book your place at

BBC Blast in London 17-20 June 2010

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triyoga: From Beginner to Yoga Bunny Sun, 14 Mar 2010 12:00:48 +0000 London life can be hectic at the best of times but taking a class at triyoga can slow the pace and relax even the most stressed person.

Having never done a yoga class before, I have just completed an eight week beginners yoga course at the gorgeous triyoga centre in Soho and have been left truly inspired. I couldn’t wait for the class each week and my fellow yogis must have agreed as it was always full of familiar faces ready to learn.

Over the course I have learnt many core yoga poses from tadasana to shoulder stands and my personal favourite, the sun salutation. These were easy to practise at home and have prepared me for a drop-in yoga class in future. In addition, the relaxation techniques and breathing exercises will become a key part of my daily routine.

Our teacher Leela reminds us that “the purpose of yoga is to reach contentment” and I certainly discovered this throughout the triyoga beginners course and highly recommend it for its numerous physical and mental benefits.

triyoga also has centres in Primrose Hill and Covent Garden.

triyoga are offering two fantastic offers exclusively with Visit London, 20% off beginners courses when you book with a friend  and £15 for 3 classes.

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triyoga: An Oasis of Calm in the Heart of London Sun, 31 Jan 2010 10:00:39 +0000 January is often a time to begin something different, make a change or get healthy. A yoga course at triyoga seemed the perfect place to start.

Set in the charming Kingly Court in Soho, the triyoga centre (one of three in London) is a welcoming oasis of candles and calm. There is a soothing quietness as soon as you enter the studio and a sense that people are here to learn and escape the chaos of everyday life.

My teacher, Leela Miller, has been teaching yoga for more than 20 years. Her obvious passion for yoga and the way she explains of some of the philosophy behind it is truly inspiring: “At the heart of yoga is change”.

I’m brand new to yoga yet I found I was able to follow the class and adopt all the positions. Leela is a patient teacher and the class is just the right size. We were introduced to some of the fundamental yoga poses, concentrating on healthy alignment and establishing a deeper awareness of breathing.

I found the class challenging yet enjoyable and left feeling incredibly calm and centred. It provides the perfect escape from the fast pace of daily city life and I can already tell that triyoga will become my regular retreat in London. Watch this space as I’ll update you on my progress during the course.

Triyoga has centres in Primrose Hill, Soho and Covent Garden and specialise in yoga and pilates drop-in classes for beginners and experienced yogis as well as a range courses and treatments.

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Winter Warmers – Bikram Yoga Fri, 15 Jan 2010 13:39:59 +0000

During the cold winter months, there comes a point when a bit of serious heat is required, so why not try Bikram Yoga?

Developed by Bikram Choudhury, this particular type of yoga consists of a series of 26 postures (asanas), performed in a room kept at a constant temperature of 105°F (40°C). The idea is that the heat warms up the body, making it easier to stretch into the positions.

As a non-yogi, I would say some of these stretches are pleasingly achievable but some require a lot of practise.

The real challenge is to stay the course (an hour and a half) in the heat, and be warned, within 10 minutes you’ll feel as though you’re sweating buckets.

I went to Bikram City and the class was busy but not crammed. The teacher, Cintra, was wonderful and encouraging without a hint of bullying.

Bikram is growing in popularity with more and more studios popping up all over London – and I can see why. After my first class, I felt exhausted but exhilarated.

Bikram Yoga North, West and City offer beginners’ rates and drop in classes.  Classes are suitable for everyone regardless of age, shape and ability – so no wriggling out of it!

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Embrace Your Creative Side With Make & Do Craft Club Mon, 23 Nov 2009 12:04:08 +0000 Kate's lotus flower decorationsI enjoy a good craft project, but left to my own devices, I never get round to actually putting needle to thread and making something. But that all changed this weekend, as I dodged the cold November weather, and spent Sunday afternoon happily learning some basic origami and sewing skills in the Hop Poles pub in Hammersmith.

Make & Do is a brand new craft club run by expert knitter, embroiderer and general crafter, Kate Buchanan. Popping up in pubs and cafes all over London, each workshop teaches a new craft technique, and you’ll get to make something you can take home with you.

Sunday’s class focused on last-minute Christmas gifts, and we learnt how to make simple yet impressive looking lotus flower table decorations, a mobile phone cover personalised with our own design, and a knotted bead bracelet.

All materials are provided, and we could even take home any extra buttons, sequins and thread if we wanted to continue with our projects.

Kate is on hand to help with any questions – whether you’re a beginner like me, or a more advanced crafter who needs advice on your latest project.

My attempt at the mobile phone coverAnd did I mention there were plenty of biscuits, homemade cake and tea to keep you going?

I left the class with dreams of throwing sophisticated dinner parties, and wowing my guests with my incredible table decorations! And I’ve even had a request for a bespoke mobile phone cover.

If you fancy trying your hand at knitting, crochet and origami, the next Make & Do meeting is on the 8 December at the Hoop & Grapes pub. Visit to book your place.

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