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47 adult courses to book this summer

Fancy learning a new skill? From mastering mixology to crafting jewellery to keeping bees, Muddy has the lowdown of all the best and brightest adult courses to book this summer.

BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON ESSEX DORSET GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SUFFOLK SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Modern Embroidery Class, Daws Hill Vineyard

And how’s your needlepoint, Madame? If it’s not quite up to scratch but you like the idea of getting your coloured thread on (it’s the embroidery hoops that do it for us – so charming!), then you’ll want to head over to Daws Hill Vineyard near High Wycombe on 7 August. Becky Colwell from BeccaLou Creates will be teaching a £40 beginner’s class on modern embroidery from 1-5pm, with — as is only right — a lengthy lunch in the vineyard beforehand. (Just, er, don’t drink too much champers before wielding those tiny thread scissors.)

Candle Making Workshop, Marlow

We don’t even want to think about the amount of money we must have spent on candles over the years. So: time to take matters quite literally into our own hands, and start churning them out at home (at least, that’s the theory). Candle By Events offers beginner, intermediate, and business candle making workshops in its Marlow studio, showing you how to make plain, scented, and dyed candles out of natural beeswax and soy. Classes are £55 per person, and the next date for beginners (hello, that’s us) is 23 July.

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OXFORDSHIRE

Cookery Classes, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Frankly, why learn to cook anywhere other than a beautiful luxury hotel? The first Michelin-starred kitchen in the UK to have its own cookery school, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons offers not just exceptional culinary knowledge, but also in effect a mini holiday in stunning surroundings. Choose between half-day and full-day courses galore throughout August, ranging from £185 – £555, and offering focuses such as ‘garden to plate’, advanced patisserie, stocks and sauces, and ‘summer dinner party’. Très charmants, non?

Cocktail Making Class, The Alchemist Westgate

Love the inventive cocktails they serve up with pizazz over at The Alchemist in Westgate, Oxford? Grab a gaggle of good friends and learn to whip them up yourselves at an interactive mixology masterclass. Available for groups of 6-12 people from £35 a person, you’ll concoct some of the bar’s signature drinks: the Colour Changing One, The Legal One and a Screwball, and for an extra £5 you can be nibbling on swanky sharing platters as well. Sounds like a pretty perfect girl’s night to us…

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HAMPSHIRE

Bread-making for Beginners, Newlyns Cookery School, Hook

Bake Off‘s looming. This year, we’re determined to rise to the challenge (and expand our repertoire beyond chocolate cornflake cakes). Aimed at newbie bakers and run by the popular Newlyn’s Cookery School on Sat 3 July, 10am – 3pm, this beginner’s bread-making course promises to teach the techniques you’ll knead to make your own bread at home. £150.

Coastal Adventures in Mixed Media, The Spring, Havant

Ready to strike out beyond watercolour? In this three-day workshop, 18 – 20 August, 10am – 4pm, you’ll combine it with other materials to create interesting new textural effects. Professional artist and tutor Melanie Cambridge leads the course, which will look at different aspects of painting seascapes from skies, clouds and sunsets to breaking waves, beaches and, of course, a beautiful harbour scene. From £135.

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ISLE OF WIGHT

Make a Silver Bangle Workshop, Jubilee Stores, Quay Arts, Newport

Imagine the joy when someone comments on your beautiful bracelet and you breezily reply “what this? Oh, I made it myself…”. One of a series of creative adventures for beginners on offer at the Jubilee Stores, this bangle-making workshop is running on Sat 3 July, 10am – 4pm. With a bit of help, you’ll design, shape, pattern and solder silver into a thing of bespoke beauty. Clever you. £72 including materials.

Reed Diffuser Workshop with Wight Apothecary at Tiny Homes, Cowes

Head over for the evening or make it part of a boutique retreat studycation (yes, that is a thing, apparently). Hosted by Tiny Homes Holidays eco retreat on 4 September, 6pm – 8.30pm, Tracey from Wight Apothercary will show you how to blend your own bespoke reed diffuser from a choice of essential oils. £75 including materials.

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GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Introduction to Beekeeping, Cotswold Bee Company

Always flirted with the idea of keeping bees? Take up this hobby, help save the planet, and get jars of delectable homemade honey into the deal (win win). Cotswold Bees, based near Chipping Campden has courses for both experienced and total new-bees (sorry). The classes are led by bee farmers who have their very own apiaries spread throughout the North Cotswolds so you’re in expert hands. A weekend course starts at £235 and will take you from complete novice to bee-confident. You’ll cover everything from the life of the honeybee to how to set up an apiary with some hands-on bee-keeping time too. Courses run throughout the summer.

Creative Garden Journaling, Cirencester

In this floral, two day workshop you’ll have the chance to experiment and create your own garden journal by merging scrapbooking, sketchbooking and mindful-journaling with botanical illustration. It doesn’t matter what outdoor space you have – from a back garden plot to an allotment or just a bijou balcony! Learn how to do book-binding, botanical drawing, and visual journaling on this nature-based course. All materials will be provided, as well as some garden specimens.

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WORCESTERSHIRE

Potter’s Wheel Workshop, North Cotswold border

Channel your inner Demi Moore, switch off and relax for the morning by immersing yourself in the ancient art of throwing pots at this hands-on introduction to the wheel. Located in the pretty village of Honeybourne, just 10 minutes from Broadway, it’s suitable for the complete beginner, or, for anyone wanting to take a bit of knowledge to the next level. Classes cost £95pp.

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SURREY

Limpsfield Cookery School, Limpsfield

Stuck in a cooking rut, or just want to sharpen up your culinary skills? Whatever your foodie fancy, there’s a course at the Limpfield Cookery School – from Barbecuing and Bread-Making to a Meat Masterclass and Mediterranean Summer Cooking, Pickling and Preserves and a Mexican Medley. The school opened in 2020, with the aim of offering a welcoming school where students could relax and enjoy themselves while learning from talented professional chefs. Click here for the full list of courses and dates.

Plein Air Painting, Watts Gallery Compton

Watts Gallery workshop

The art gallery dedicated to GF Watts and his wife Mary has a range of art workshops and courses for both kids and adults on offer including the Plein Air workshop in August. Plein Air Painting: Colour and Light is led by Artist in Residence Nneka Uzoigwe. Working from a live model, this outdoor workshop will explore the relationship between the figure, colour and light with opportunities to develop your colour mixing skills, study the effects of light on the body, and capture atmospheric conditions. It’s on Sat 28 Aug from 10am-4pm, and costs £90.

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SOMERSET

Pottery summer school, Nunney, near Frome

Throw yourself (or at least the clay) into this five-day summer pottery school with Kim Birchall at the Nunney Pottery, where you’ll cover everything from using the potter’s wheel, glazing, Japanese Raku firing and hand building to making your own glazes. The course will be tailored to your own experience, even if you’re a complete beginner. From Thurs 26 – Mon 30 August, £450. Accommodation is available above the pottery and overlooking the moated Nunney Castle.

24-hour bushcraft skills, near Shepton Mallet

Learn how to survive in the wild in just 24 hours. West Country Bushcraft will show you how to light fires from scratch, forage for food, prepare a meal – deer/pigeon/duck/pheasant – cook over a campfire, carve a wooden spoon, tan a hide, weave something from willow, make cordage from tree bark, plant fibres and * pause for breath * build your own shelter for the night. £150.

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DORSET

Landscape painting, West Bay, near Bridport

Can you capture the beauty of the Jurassic coast on canvas? Possibly, with the one-to-one tuition, practical help and discussions during this five-day landscape painting course with Royal West of England Academy abstract landscape artist Louise Balaam. Tuition at the Jurassic Coast Studio, accommodation at The Durbeyfield guesthouse and meals/dedicated menu by Sladers Yard Gallery chef. From £1,095. Sun 26 Sept – Fri 1 Oct.

Cookery in the Purbeck hills, near Corfe Castle

Cut-above cookery courses combined with a stay in the Purbeck hills, close to the iconic Corfe Castle and Jurassic coast, at the Olive Tree cookery school. Courses include foraging and cooking with wild mushrooms, sea vegetables and wild flowers; game; fish and seafood; Italian, Moroccan, Indian food and more with Giuseppe Sinaguglia (Sicilian-trained chef who’s worked under Marco Pierre White at The Criterion, Piccadilly and was Head Chef of Carluccio’s, Market Place). They know the best accommodation in the area, from The Pig-on the beach to local B&Bs. For all skill levels, max of 6 people per class, from £60.

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CORNWALL

Organic Wine Course, Wild Wine School, near Padstow

From Cornwall’s Wild Wine School comes two gorgeous hands-on lunch workshops. Want to know more about organic and biodynamic viticulture (does choosing only organic wines stop hangovers? Enquiring minds would like to know…), from lunar cycles to the special alchemy of plants and manure, monthly workshop will have all the answers. Workshops include a tasting of six wines, plus lunch at the beautiful Trevibban Mill near Padstow. If cider’s more your thing, you’ll find Debbie hosting lunch and cider tastings at Find & Foster Fine Ciders too.

Painting the Coast Path, St Ives School of Painting

St Ives continues to live up to its reputation as a magnet for creativity (as well as new global recognition thanks to the G7) and the St Ives School of Painting programme of courses and workshops is back in person, including some awesome creative weekenders. The school has taught artists for more than 80 years so you’re following in talented footsteps. During the Painting the Coast Path course, you’ll spend the first day en plein air, out in the wilds of West Penwith on the South West Coast Path, and the second working on your masterpiece under guided tuition. 17 – 18 July, from £230.

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DEVON

Art holiday, near Bideford

Got an inner Monet dying to get out? Contemporary landscape artist Deborah Last runs painting classes and en plein air art holidays near her Bideford home, tutoring small groups of up to 10 at her favourite local beauty spots around the the North Devon coast. Think of it as therapeutic as a yoga holiday (but without the hamstring strain), plus you’ll have a masterpiece to take home and show off to the friends. The next dates are 15-20 Aug / 2-7 Sept, and cost £1295pp full board/£600pp without accommodation.

‘The Crush’ Winemaking Course, Dartington Hall

One for the immersive wine lover who wants more than just your usual tasting and vineyard tour, this weekend residential at Dartington is a chance to really get into your vino as you spend the Saturday morning crushing grapes with your bare toostsies. Plenty of hands-on for fizz fans too, with a chance to mix up some yeast, start a fermentation, and design your own label for a bespoke bottle to take home and lay down in the wine cellar, or, okay, maybe just enjoy quaffing. Fri 2 – Sun 4 July, £425pp including dinner, B&B both days.

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WILTSHIRE

Failsafe Plants by the Crafty Gardeners at Bowood Gardens, North Wiltshire

Too busy to up your gardening game? Michelle and Louise specialise in practical short-cuts, and have between then designed over 100 gardens. On this half-day workshop they spill the beans on the plants that never let them down. The £75 ticket includes entrance to the famous gardens, so plenty of take-home inspo. Upgrade it a luxe-residential by kipping at the stunning Bowood Hotel. 7th July.

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BERKSHIRE

Paddleboarding, Bray Lake Watersports

Paddle Boarding Bray Lake

Fancy getting on the water but can’t be arsed learning to sail or surf? Give paddle boarding a go. It’s easy to learn the basics and doesn’t require waves or wind. In fact you can pretty much do it anywhere that’s wet – a lake, river, or the sea. Bray Lake Watersports offers a Beginners’ and Improvers’ course for £59 which includes use of a SUP and two hours’ tuition. It’s also a stone’s throw from the culinary enclave of Bray, so you can reward yourself with a gastro treat afterwards. (Don’t eat before, or you’ll never get back on your board…)

Italian Cookery School, Bray

Caldesi cookery school pasta making – fresh spaghetti

Voted the No. 1 UK cookery school by The Independent, if you love food just the way mama cooks it, then Caldesi’s is the place to learn. Take a culinary tour of Italy without setting foot outside of Bray, and discover how to make perfect pasta; dishes from Tuscany, Venice, Sicily and Amalfi; get to grips with fish or discover Giancarlo’s low-carb weight loss secrets. (What? Low carb? And he’s Italian! But it can be done.) The school caters for all skills and there are courses for kids, younger cooks and adults. Courses are £135pp, and include lunch and wine.

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NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Gin School, Silverstone Distillery

Silverstone Distillery Gin School

We know you know how to drink the stuff, but how do you fancy learning the fine art of making your very own gin? Now you’re talking! Grab your besties and head to Silverstone Distillery for this 4 hour workshop, where you’ll discover the secrets of distillation using a mini copper still and get to make your own botanical blends tailored to your tastes. Drinks and nibbles are included (of course) and you’ll get to take home your boozy creation. Bet it doesn’t last long…

Bollywood Dance Workshop, Weedon

Pose Fitness Bollywood night

Learn the fine art of Bollywood dancing in this 3 hour workshop with the fabulous Harveen Mann from Bend It Like Beckham on London’s West End. You’ll also get to replenish your fluids with mocktails and there’ll be a vegan Bollywood feast to keep your energy levels up too, but be prepared for a high energy workout. 10 July.

Online Courses, The Workers’ Educational Association

Had a pandemic-induced existential crisis and looking to level up this year? You’re not alone. Whether for your career prospects or just for your own pleasure, you’ll find a huge array of courses on offer at WEA. Choose from creative arts and poetry to computing and admin, there’s even yoga and mindfulness. Find out how Northants Editor Emma fared recently on their Mood and Food course.

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KENT

Street Food Course, Kent Cookery School

Perfect for fun-loving foodies that like to try new things and experience new flavours comes the exciting new Street Food course at Kent Cookery School, run by fabulous tutor Maria Bradford. Owner and creator of African food sensation Shwen Shwen, she champions her Sierra Leone heritage by bringing her passion to reinventing African dishes to a broader audience. On this evening course, Maria will walk you through the stories behind the dishes and you’ll get to learn all about the authentic African ingredients in them. For more on what you will create, click here. Thurs 15 July & Thurs 30 Sept.

Pet Portrait Challenge, Online

Heard of Secret Art Parties? They are fun guided painting parties for adults, run in Tunbridge Wells. Paint in the style of famous masterpieces with a brush in one hand and a drink in the other! Yes, we thought you’d like it. Now the creative folk behind Secret Art Parties have launched the fun and informal Pet Portrait Challenge, via Zoom. The sessions are perfect for all ages and levels, in just one-hour you’ll learn stunning sketching techniques in a refreshingly clear, simple and uplifting way. All sessions are recorded so you can do them at a time that suits you. To secure your spot on 3 sessions for just £10 sign up for the Early Bird offer here (will rise to £15 in July). 26 – 29 July.

Bespoke Classes with The Cooking Apple, Sevenoaks

Stuck in a cooking rut? Fed up with churning out the same old recipes and family meals? (Can’t be just us!) Look no further than the brilliant Pip at Sevenoaks-based cookery school, The Cooking Apple. Trust us, your family will be forever grateful. A virtual cooking event is a fab way to get together with the gang, especially if it’s over 6 people, for those who can’t travel or to share an experience with friends and family abroad. So make it a girly lunch with a difference and book your bespoke cooking class with friends, all done from the comfort of your home. Find out more about private classes with Pip, here.

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NORFOLK

The Kitchen Essentials with Richard Hughes, Norwich

Banana bread, seriously? Girl, it’s time to up your gastro game! Head to Richard Hughes Cookery School, for a hands on practical class with the maestro himself. With his pro techniques under your belt, you’ll be a Mistress Chef in two days. Whizzy knife skills, fresh fish prep, perfect pastry, butchery and bread making plus how to get properly saucy…this is where you learn the building blocks that give you real kitchen confidence. Includes food – and wine, obvs! And all Richard Hughes Cookery School events are available as gifts too. Drop massive hints now. 7 & 8 August, £285.

Glide Surf School lessons, Cromer and Mundesley

Surf’s up! And it’s not in Cornwall. Glide Surf School pioneered the surf scene in Norfolk from the heart of Cromer, one of the UK’s coolest seaside towns (yes, that’s an official Muddy opinion). Quality kit and friendly, expert tuition for surfers and paddle-boarders, whether advanced wave-catcher or slightly anxious (who, me?) beginner. You won’t want to leave, so take refuge in Glide Surf Casa, groovy accommodation for 6 adults plus child & baby right in town. Lessons start from £35pp for a 2 hour group lesson.

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ESSEX

Name That Birdsong with Essex Wildlife Trust, Colchester

Know your marsh warbler’s trilling from your red grouse’s yodelling? Nope, us neither, but how impressed would the kids be if you did, eh? Get yourself over to Abbotts Hall Farm in Colchester for a morning classroom session looking at how and why birds sing, as well as learning to recognise what their chirpings mean – from alarms and contact calls, to just belting out their favourite ditties. Once you’ve swotted up, you’ll go on a walk to put the theory into practice – and you’ll even get a certificate upon completion of the course to prove you ain’t no bird brain. 10am–4pm, £36.

Magic Of Mosaics, Anne Cardwell

We’re a sucker for mosaics – all those pretty colours and sparkles (sigh) – so this course is right up our street. Taught by Saffron Walden-based artist, Anne Cardwell, this online course (play it as many times as you like) is based on a day’s teaching and uses time-lapse to take you through 14 gorgeous projects, all suitable for beginners and improvers. It covers all your practical needs and demonstrates how to make beautiful mosaic art work in your own home. Our personal faves are the garden balls that will sparkle in rain, glint in sunshine and provide colour all year around. Where do we sign? £45.

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LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND

Aerial Silk Classes, Oadby

Made famous by the Cirque du Soleil troop, aerial silks is all about climbing up a rope or fabric and although it doesn’t look easy, it most definitely looks fun – well, we think so! Meet, Aerial Anna. She’s performed at Wembley Stadium, O2 Arena, Euro Disney and her aerial skills have even taken her as far China. She offers classes for both adults and children (and private tuition) focussing on hoops and silks over at the Oadby and Leicester Gymnastic Club. See you in the air!

Pottery Class, Rutland

Ever wanted to live out that famous pottery scene from Ghost? Well we can’t help with the Patrick Swayze bit, but we can suggest pottery classes with Katherine Staples. She runs classes in Whissendine, Rutland and they’re open to both beginners and experienced makers. Learn to hand build, slab build, use press moulds and more during her 6 week course.

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SUSSEX

Floristry for Beginners, The Sussex Flower School

Love flowers but no idea how to arrange them? This course will give you all the answers, and be warned, it’s sent many into a complete career change into floristry too! But whether you dream of setting up your own business or just want to be able to arrange those peonies from the garden into something artful, this one-day course will introduce you to the wonderful world of floristry and give you the confidence to create your own hand-tied bouquets and table decorations. Next dates are 9 and 15 July, at £130.

Foraging & Fire Cookery, Haywards Heath

We’re all outdoorsy types now, so make the most of your brand new patio, garden furniture, fire pit and generally pimped-out garden by wowing guests with fire-cooked gastro delights you’ve learned to cook at this nourishing workshop with Positively Delicious on 3 July. Kicking off with a foraging walk for wild edibles, you’ll then learn how to whip up the freshest, most seasonal and local dish you’ve ever eaten. Charred seasonal veg and wild greens salad, anyone? There’s also a mindfulness session included. And… relax. £80 per person.

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WARWICKSHIRE

Pasta Making Course, Stratford-upon-Avon

Where better to learn how to make pasta than at a Michelin-starred restaurant? This half day course at Salt cookery school in Stratford Upon Avon is suitable for complete beginners (amen to that) and teaches you how to make pasta dough and fill your own tortellinis. On the course you will enjoy lunch made by your own fair hands in the Salt cookery school kitchen – well, you are a chef now – and plenty of pasta to take home and wow the family with your new-found cooking prowess. The course costs £95 and is available on multiple dates throughout July and August. 

In Bloom&Co Floristry Course, online

If you’ve always seen yourself as a budding florist now is the time to let your floral creative self fly with a floristry course from In Bloom&Co. From a table arrangement to flower crowns, wreaths and hand-tied bunches perfect for gifting, the course, led by company founder Alex, will enable your floristry skills to truly blossom (sorry). It costs £245 and is suitable for absolute beginners. Once you’ve booked on you can complete it in your own time while sharing your progress in a virtual hang out with fellow members of the Bloom School Community. 

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HERTFORDSHIRE

The Cooking Academy, Rickmansworth

The Cooking Academy

Founded by ‘queen of spice’, Kumud Gandhi, what The Cooking Academy doesn’t know about food isn’t worth knowing. Their bubble friendly cookery courses range from An Introduction to Cooking (perfect for beginners) and the Essential Six Class (to help you break out of those midweek cooking ruts) to specialist classes including Asian Street Food, Spanish Tapas and Mexican, as well as pickling, preserving and fermenting. The courses are run by Kumud’s team of expert chefs and there are also virtual options too.

Sculpture Modelling at Artshed Arts, Ware

This creative arts centre at Westmill Farm in Ware runs workshops and courses in all sorts of disciplines with highly skilled tutors. Fancy getting your hands dirty? Try a 5-week evening course in clay modelling which will take participants through the steps of making a life-sized bust, from measuring the facial proportions to getting to grips with the material and form.

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BEDFORDSHIRE

Workshops at Bedfordshire Flower School

Bedfordshire flower school

Award winning florist and owner of The Flower Mill, Kirsty McGilley, runs floral themed creative workshops in Sandy. Choose from traditional flower arranging and creating dried flower displays to floral watercolours and jewellery. We can’t think of a lovelier way to while away a few hours out of the house!

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SUFFOLK & CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Boating courses, Levington

Get your sea legs with the East Anglian Sea School – a family-owned and long established sailing school in Levington that offers a ton of RYA approved courses (that’s Royal Yachting Association to you, landlubbers). With every craft imaginable, from dinghies right up to power boats, every adrenalin level is catered for. Courses range from taster days and single day courses to several days and residentials.

Lettering Workshop, Snape

The Lettering Arts Trust in Snape is – you guessed it- dedicated to the art of lettering – be it carved letters, lino cut printing or calligraphy. Its workshops cover this broad range of the art form, and coming up are workshops on brush lettering (using brush pens to create fancy letters), calligraphy and map making (above). It all sounds rather spell-binding to us…

Art Classes, Cambridge

The artists’ emporium that is Tindalls in Cambridge has a jam-packed schedule of workshops throughout the year, exploring a massive range of mediums. Whether it’s abstract, portraits, impressionist, wildlife or oils, there’s a course for everyone and at £65 a pop, you can splash out and do a couple.

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