London Autumn Term Classes Guide
In years past, the end of summer would begin with the wistful longing for warmth and sunshine, and degrade into despair at the end in November with me mourning the death of vegetation and dreading the long evenings. Now that I have kids, I absolutely love September! Its not just the kids being otherwise occupied for large chunks of the day. Autumn is no longer bare tree limbs and darkness – with kids, its a fresh start. Increasingly with each new school year I am overcome with a frenzy of thoughts of self-improvement and family-improvement: new hobbies, reading more, doing more making and joining clubs. I am so inspired this year I have written this handy guide to London-based classes for school-age children.
Check out this work in progress, a variety of interesting classes and workshops generally run on Saturday mornings and require a commitment as you need to pay for the term in advance, although I have found some drop-ins and free activities. Many of these classes have been reviewed by myself or someone I know well and has given positive feed back. Please add your favourites to the comment section below and I will see if I can include them in the post.
Royal Drawing School, various central venues: the weekly Drawing Clubs for children 10-14 years old are open to anyone who enjoys drawing and can commit to the weekly after-school or weekend class. All classes are tough by professional artists who are experienced teaching children. Classes are £205 per term (British Museum Monday evening is just £155).
Lavender Leonardos, Battersea: go from line, to colour to 3D, during each course which will focus on one theme but create a variety of projects. There are Saturday courses for all ages. Thursday courses for older children; Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday courses for younger children.
Code Clubs, various central venues: There are free coding clubs located all over London, many hosted in libraries and community centres including Dragon Hall in Soho, Chelsea Library, Barbican and Brixton just to name a few. These clubs intended for children ages 9-13 who have no experience coding, parents can learn right along with the kids.
Tea and Crafting, Covent Garden and Camden: If you are free on a Sunday, book you and your kids into a variety of crafting sessions including modern calligraphy, macrame, weaving, knitting and cake decorating. Classes are about £40 per person, you will have a craft to take home with you and often the tools to make the craft.
Stitch and Story Beginners’ Knitting Workshops, Farmstand, Drury Lane: These Saturday morning classes will teach you the basics so that you can cast on, knit, purl and then cast off. More advanced knitters will learn patterns and instructions for more advanced projects. £29.50 for newcomers, £20 for return participants for a two hour workshop with cake and you may borrow needles and yarn. Should you decide you are indeed a knitter, the needles are £5 and yarn £8.
BFI, Young Filmmakers Club, Southbank: Children age 12-15 can take part in Saturday film clubs for £90 per half term, 2-4:30. This is not a course in filmmaking, but a club where kids will gain a variety of knowledge about different aspects of film over the course of the workshops.
Westminster Boating Base, Pimlico: This is one of the best kept secrets that should not be a secret. Children ages 10+ may join the Westminster Boating Base for £15 per year and learn to sail and kayak. They can take classes over the school holidays for just £5 where they can earn certificates in kayaking or sailing. Kids are welcome to join the group sailing and kayaking sessions during term time – no fees for members. The base is staffed by enthusiastic instructors who make sure the kids are safe while having a great time.
Sadler’s Wells, Breakin’ Convention Saturday Class: learn the styles of hip hop at this Saturday morning workshop, just £54 per term. 8-12 years 10am, 13+ 11:15am, intermediate ages 12:30pm.
London Fencing Club, Old Street: children learn the basics of fencing and technique in after school sessions (unfortunately no Saturday classes for beginners). Classes start at £150 and require equipment hire for the term.
Central London Fencing Club, Greatcoat Hospital School: Epee classes are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for £190 per term, all equipment is supplied. Children will learn the basics of fencing, technique and when ready, have the opportunity to compete in local competitions.
Ceramics Course, Camden Arts Centre: Children ages 12-14 can have studio time to work with hand-building, slab, using slip and score decorative techniques and glazing. Saturdays 10:30-1pm September – December, £240.
Pottery Class, Clapham Pottery: Learn the basics and then graduate to wheel work with afternoon and weekend classes (£80 per term). Also there are beginner Sunday classes for £50 and on the second Saturday of the month there is a drop-in family workshop.
Little Hands Design, Belsize Park: Take part in a variety of workshops where fashion industry veterans will teach you and your kids the practical skills and understanding of how designing and making works by allowing children to create their vision through trail and error. Classes for kids, teens and grown-ups. Classes for Saturdays and after school.