These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Whether you’re a budding photographer, a promising potter or just want to make more exciting cocktails, here are the best classes to take in the capital…

Amateur hour is over. This year, we’re spring-cleaning our skillsets and searching for the best workshops and masterclasses to become true renaissance men. Whether it’s deboning fish in the kitchen, bringing our photographic expertise into focus or sharpening up our knife-making skills, w’re trying to make it to the top of our games; upping our competency and capability in areas from pottery to perfume-blending.

And what better courses and seminars than those in London, the beating heart of Britain where you can learn everything from molecular mixology to Japanese carpentry? Below, we’ve rounded up the most informative, enjoyable and worthwhile masterclasses in the capital, whether you want to make cheese in Tottenham, or create your new signature scent in St Giles…

‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ at Billingsgate Fish Market

Where is it? In Canary Wharf, amidst the chipped ice and rough hands of the hallowed (and slightly pungent) Billingsgate Fish Market. It’s Britain’s biggest inland fish market; and the perfect place (plaice?) to get to know your black cod from your barramundi.

What will you learn? A little of everything fishy. You’ll work with a number of seasonal species (from mackerel to megrim, crab to cuttlefish) and skills including trimming, scaling, gutting, filleting, pin-boning and skinning.

Why should you try it? Because you get a hearty fish soup for lunch. Also, as it’s on a Saturday and only five-and-a-half hours long, it’s accessible and not too time-consuming. Plus, every man should know how to use a shucker.

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ at Billingsate Fish Market

£130.00

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Koivu Knives Knifemaking Course

Where is it? In Walthamstow, in east London, where the Arts and Crafts movement really found its feet. This creative streak continues in the knife-making studio of Ben Blackwell, who has infused Scandinavian thinking into his blacksmithing brand (‘Koivu’ is the Finnish word for ‘birch tree’).

What will you learn? Across the two-day course, you’ll learn the principles of knife design and use these skills to plan and create your very own, bespoke kitchen knife. You’ll heat-treat your blade, shape your handle and sharpen your finished knife on a Japanese waterstone.

Why should you try it? Because it’s not only an opportunity to play with fire — but you’ll also walk away with a handy tool to use for the rest of your life. It’s like a practical memento (and one you could take along to a cooking workshop once you’ve caught the masterclass bug).

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Koivu Knives Knifemaking Course

£350.00

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Tom Trimmins Woodwork ‘Ash Stool’ Workshop

Where is it? By Paradise Park, in Islington in north London. And that name is rather apt; as Tom Trimmins’ professional workshop is something of a haven itself. Thrumming with activity and the soothing scent of woody timber, it’s an idyllic spot to break out the bandsaw. 

What will you learn? We’d go for the ‘Ash Stool’ workshop, but there are plenty of other options; from ‘Japanese Toolbox’ to ‘Half-Day Woodwork Taster Class’. Whichever you choose, you’ll learn how to use table saws, routers and hand planes — and create something truly special to take home.

Why should you try it? Because, like the knife-making above, this is an ancient skill that many of us would never dream to dabble in. But there’s something exceedingly pleasant about building something with your bare hands (and a tenon cutter or two), and you’ll find that you leave the workshop with not only a stool, but also a smile on your face. 

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Tom Trimmins Woodwork ‘Ash Stool’ Workshop

£470.00

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Molecular Mixology Cocktail Masterclass at Purl

Where is it? As centrally located as drinking holes come, Purl can be found tucked away off Oxford Street in the labyrinthine maze of Marylebone. On Blandford Street, the bar is just a short walk from Paddington Street Gardens.

What will you learn? How to step up your home-drinking game. With techniques you can twist and trot out at your next cocktail party, this science-skewed drinks class will teach you how to whip up luscious libations using foodstuffs, foam and smoke. 

Why should you try it? Because it’s not only great fun; but also fuel for your next big bash. Learn these skills, and you’ll be the most in-demand invitee at every soirée; mixing burning herbs with chocolate shavings and liqueur-infused fruit to create the most striking signature drinks in town. 

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Molecular Mixology Cocktail Masterclass at Purl

£50.00

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Experimental Perfume Club Expert Aftershave Masterclass

Where is it? Slap-bang in the centre of St Giles; just north of Covent Garden. Experimental Perfume Club deals, as its fragrant name suggests, in aromatic matters — and this masterclass challenges you to get to grips with your own olfactory leanings. 

What will you learn? To appreciate and understand scents. With the chance to learn about the formulation of fragrances and the relationships between the comprehensive ingredients used by the industry, you’ll also blend your own aftershave during the six-and-a-half hour session.

Why should you try it? Because, like the creative cocktail-making above, nothing will stand you further from the crowd than a signature scent. Your collection should always include the classics, but a quirky, hand-blended scent is a great conversation starter. 

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Experimental Perfume Club Expert Aftershave Masterclass

£300.00

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London School of Photography ‘Photojournalism and Street Photography’

Where is it? In The Barbon Buldings, on the beautiful Red Lion Square in High Holborn. It’s a suitably photogenic spot for such a course; one that promises to teach you the mechanics and aesthetics of good photography.

What will you learn? But it’s more than that. With a particular focus on street photography and photojournalism, there’s an element of storytelling here that’ll educate you past the purely practical. You’ll also learn portraiture, ethics and the editing process. 

Why should you try it? Because it’ll change the way you see the world. Even when you’re not holding your camera, you’ll start to view things through a different lens — seeking out stories and documenting your days in a different way.

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

London School of Photography ‘Photojournalism and Street Photography’

£695.00

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Crown Works Pottery ‘Two Day Weekend’ Workshop

Where is it? Run by Giulietta Hextall, Crown Works Pottery can be found in East London near to Bethnal Green, and specialises in handmade, thrown items in both porcelain and ceramic. They also offer a wide range of different classes.

What will you learn? Depending on the course you plump for, you could learn to create anything from a teapot to a charger plate. We’d opt for the ‘Two Day Weekend’ workshop, where you’ll learn the basics and created a detailed bowl to take home.

Why should you try it? Because, as with the woodworking class above, there’s something oddly therapeutic about pottery. Tactile and tension-relieving, it’s a chance to sculpt and create with practically no tools — and create a work of art that’s a true extension of yourself. 

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Crown Works Pottery Workshops

£245.00

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Cheese-making Course with Wildes Cheese

Where is it? In a charmingly-named ‘micro-dairy’ up in Tottenham, not far from Little Russia. It may look a little more industrial than the quaint, cheese-making scene you’ve conjured up in your head. But don’t let the plastic put you off — this is the real cheesy deal.

What will you learn? The art of cheese-making, and all without the need for any special equipment, meaning you can continue your tasty efforts at home. You’ll also get to sample a selection of cheeses throughout the day, if you weren’t already sold on the idea. 

Why should you try it? Because everyone likes cheese. And you get to take several types home; semi hard white cheese, a semi hard blue cheese, a lovely soft curd cheese and a small camembert style cheese. What more could you want?

These are the best London masterclasses for learning new skills

Cheese-making Course with Wildes Cheese

£150.00

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