Wanna make your free time more worthwhile? Then check out these fun, interesting and downright quirky courses in and around Hants and IoW.
So we’re through the first month of 2020 – hoorah! With all that out of the way, it’s now time to turn your attention to a spot of self-growth and making the most of your “me-time” for the rest of the year.
So, if you fancy learning a new skill and generally let your creativity shine throughout this year, have a look at our picks for hobbies, courses and workshops in and around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Let’s get stitching/painting/drinking all the wine!
If you’ve ever fancied creating your own clothes (Hey, Yves Saint Laurent has got nothing on your vision, girl!) then how about cutting your cloth and enrolling on a dressmaking course? There’s plenty to choose from across the area with places such as Sew Busy in Fleet offering everything from beginners crochet to how to use an overlocker. Meanwhile down in Portchester, I’ve heard brilliant things about Cotton On’s Pop Up Workshops and up in the Test Valley, Bobbins Sewing School comes with a wealth of various material-based classes to check out.
Have you seen those amazing big chunky throws on your social? Then check out the classes from Cloud Nine Knits, available across the whole of Hampshire. As well as being able to make an Instagram-worthy throw, you can also learn how to make cat beds, scatter cushions and much more. They also happen to hold a few of their workshops in pubs which makes me incredibly happy… I’ll probably drop a few stitches though. Oops!
It’s A Bling Thing
Fancy giving jewellery a go? Then I definitely recommend checking out one of the workshops run by Fi of Jewellery Moves (check out our review here). With pop up workshops across the whole county, you can make your very own ring, bangle or necklace to keep or give away (obviously keep it….)
Wave That PaintbrushFor those who are fond of fine art and want to get whizzy with watercolours, there are some amazing art workshops to discover as well. HAMPSHIRE ART Studio has a great range of classes throughout the year from beginners oil painting to life drawing, and they also have an open workshop on Wednesdays if you fancy going freehand. Don’t fancy trekking too far? They also have e-courses for distance learning too.
If ceramics are more your thing (have to say I’m a bit of a secret fan of Pottery Throwdown), then businesses such as Vinegar Hill Pottery in Milford on Sea, Perfectly Potty in Winchester or Loam. in Petersfield have some great courses on offer to help you create perfect pots and wonk-free mugs (and Loam even has the opportunity to weave a wooden chicken if you so choose as well).
See yourself as a shutterbug, but don’t know a long exposure from a tripod? Then get capturing the moment by booking onto one of fantastic photographic walkshops run by Strong Island. With a swathe of events across South Hampshire and into Sussex, you can try your hand at everything from street photography, to landscape shots or even night photography – all with excellent guidance and for just a few quid. Don’t have a fancy pants camera? No problem! You can head along with just an iPhone and still get amazing results. Your Insta game will thank you for it!
Pick ‘N’ Mix
Not entirely sure what kind of craft you want to try out? Then check out the rotating calendar of workshops at Freshwater fave, Whistle & Hound. As well as having a gorgeous gift shop (you can do some serious damage to the credit card in here, way too many cute things), they have a number of different classes and workshops ranging from Bullet Journalling to making your own bath and body products.
And also over on the Island, Quay Arts in Newport has lots of great courses covering everything from art to music and more. Apparently the Life Drawing is quite good, though I think I’m probably too … giggly…. to try that one for myself.
If you want to write the next great work of literature (set those goals high, am I right?), you can choose from creative writing, screenwriting, and even poetry with courses from Eastleigh College, Brockenhurst College, The Writing School in Winchester. There’s even novel writing retreats over on the Island too.
If you wanted to create something a bit more edible, then Hampshire and the Island are both rammed with brilliant foodie workshops. From curing your own meat with Hampshire Salami (honestly, you’ll never go back to shop-bought chorizo) to full-on cooking sessions at Hampshire’s finest – The Kitchen at Chewton Glen.
Another great place to try your hand at the culinary arts is with Flora’s Kitchen. Flora offers everything from teen cooking classes to customised courses if you really want some one-to-one tuition.
Consider yourself a more visual learner? Then I can definitely recommend popping along to the Stockbridge home of Gee Cartwright and one of her famous cookery demos. Gee cooks up some amazing dishes that are easily adapted for dinner parties to family meals. And, with the help of her trusty aga (don’t worry, she has all the details for regular ovens as well!), I was inspired to make some amazing dishes from scratch after I attended and they went down a storm in my house.
Alcohol can be a hobby right? Well, it’s certainly one of mine… For those who want to embrace their love of spirits during their leisure time try booking onto one of The Bombay Sapphire Distillery’s fantastic cocktail masterclasses. This event will give you an hour’s worth of tuition on how to make a cracking cocktail (with tasters as well *hic*), plus you’ll get to nose around the rather gorge Laverstoke Mill.
And if you want to up your plonk knowledge, then how about organising a wine tasting session at Camber Wines in Old Portsmouth? You can swill, sniff and sip your way through six fabulous wines, learn all you can about them and then promptly forget as you sit down to a yummy supper at the aBar Bistro.
Mind, Body & Soul
Get a little bit of zen into your free time with a spot of yoga on the Island. Yinspire run classes in both Brading and Rowborough, with a maximum of 10 or 18 people in each class. With surroundings as beautiful as the Wight, every asana will feel amazing.
Over on the mainland, Imogen Redman was a finalist in our Muddy Awards for 2019 for her amazing pilates workshops that run in and around Hook and Andover. With plenty of qualifications in her craft and an incredibly sunny disposition, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear as you stretch your body to peak physical fitness.
Further South, Everybody Pilates has studios in both Southsea and Locks Heath and people rave about how great their sessions are (even with all the intimidating-looking equipment!). Owner, Amy Kellow, who operates out of the Southsea location and has travelled all over the world in search of perfect pilates knowledge to pass on.
New Forest based and in need of some chill? Then The Natural Health Hub in Lymington covers all types of yoga with its classes. From Vinyasa to Hatha and back round to Ashtanga, you’ll be able to tie yourself in knots after a few weeks of practising your poses.
Have you got an unusual hobby? Let us know in the comments below!