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New Year inspiration: 7 brilliant things to do this January

Time for something new? Learn, run or unleash a creative spark with these splendid outdoor places and online happenings

Discover your inner artist – take a creative art course in Hampshire

Hampshire Art Studio art courses

Got creative ambitions but lack the time or confidence to take them to the next level? The Hampshire Art Studio in Bransbury, Winchester, runs termly workshops and masterclasses covering portraits, watercolours and more. Geared to beginners, Hampshire Libraries is also offering a new free (and pretty timely) online Mindful Art course, beginning Thursday 7 January.

Learn to cook like a Masterchef (and make your best ever curry)


Since winning the ultimate cook-off in 2012, Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo (above) has written cookbooks and seen her dishes star on the menu at Michelin-starred restaurants. She also opened her own restaurant, Lakaz Maman (Mum’s House), in Southampton. Collaborating with Winchester kitchen design gurus The Myers Touch, she’s hosting a virtual cook along curry class via Zoom on 26 January. On the two-course menu is Island Style Mauritian Chicken Coconut Curry and Yellow Rice and Pineapple with Cardamom Cream – delicious and definitely do-able…

Write a bestseller – take a creative writing virtual workshop

Chawton House Hampshire

Referred to by Jane Austen as ‘the Great House’, home to her brother and an extraordinary curated collection of women’s writing, Chawton House near Alton (above) has more than a few literary links. Continuing the Chawton tradition, writer and editor Claire Thurlow is running a series of virtual creative writing workshops in 2021. It kicks off in January with ideas on transforming our own experiences into readable, relatable prose. As a bonus, once you’ve started that long-awaited novel and joined the creative ranks, gazing thoughtfully out of the window is officially classed as working…

Book ahead for dome dining – gorgeous bubbles to dine and unwind in

It’s the restaurant trend that’s been in hot demand since they first began popping-up in 2020 and we absolutely love them. Cosy, intimate and with a VIP feel, domes/igloos/bubbles/pods – whatever you call them, they’re set to stay for the foreseeable. On Muddy’s expanding wishlist for 2021 are the Greyhound at Stockbridge, Burley Manor in Ringwood and New Park Manor in Brockenhurst (above).

Find a secret garden – classic stories and hidden Hampshire places

Physic Garden Petersfield

Part of the magic of The Secret Garden is the way it inspires kids to imagine their own hidden sanctuaries. Catch the latest adaptation of the classic children’s novel starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters at the Night-Flix cinema in Longmoor, East Hants. Have your own ‘secret garden’ adventure by wandering into the gorgeous walled Physic Garden in Petersfield (above), the kitchen garden at Mottisfont, near Romsey, the 18th century walled garden at the Vyne, near Basingstoke and The Royal Gardens at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight.

Run in the forest for fresh air and fantastic scenery

Running Forest Hampshire Alice Holt

A run in the great outdoors is fantastic for mind, body and soul, especially after all the Christmas screen time. A royal forest known for its park runs and Gruffalos, Hampshire’s Alice Holt, near Farnham, has three dedicated running trails: a gentle 1km trail over gentle undulations, a winding 3km trail and a more and a challenging 5k trail passing a pond, meadows and taking in lung-burning hill climb. On the other side of the county, Alltrails has a fantastic 47 top trails around The New Forest to choose from. No excuses then…

Become a connoisseur – wonderful Hampshire wine tastings

glass wine red hampshire wine tasting

This one comes with a warning – once you go down the wine appreciation rabbit hole, there’s really no way back. When travel is back on the agenda, you’ll be planning your next holiday itinerary by wineries (starting, hopefully, with some of the amazing vineyards in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight).

Still up for it? Hampshire Wine School is the place to start. Top (virtual) picks for January are the seven-week old world versus new world comparison course, starting 12 January, and the best-of-the-non-alcoholic-bunch one-off tasting on 8 January. Also new, Wine Utopia has just launched a members club, with tasting notes, doorstep delivery, discounts and loads more to tempt. Dangerous.

Find more ideas here

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