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The London Fiver – Five Unusual Hobbies You Can Learn in London

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River Thames in London at low tide with exposed sand. View of the city in the background

When people go on holiday, they might opt for taking a course to learn something like French pastry making or Italian cooking.  London certainly has its own share of courses tourists can take from chocolate making to beer brewing, but there are also more than a few unusual hobbies that you can learn while you’re visiting the city.  From centuries-old skills to fictional sports, we have identified five such weird activities for you to study.  If there’s something you think we left out, please share that with us in the comments.


Once upon a time, digging through the mud along the banks of the River Thames was something people did to survive.  Scavengers looked for things they could sell in the hopes of making a living.  Now, it’s a fun day out for people who just hope to find something cool washed up from the riverbed.  Make sure to adequately prepare by bringing non-slippery shoes, gloves, and even a guide since a local will know more about how quickly the tide will rise than you do.  Additionally, one major rule for mudlarking is “eyes only”, meaning that you shouldn’t go digging for anything, just keep your eyes on the ground. 

You can register for a mudlarking permit on the Port of London Authority website.


Not as gruesome as it sounds, Butchery Classes are for those with an interest in meat.  If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to know how to pick out the choicest cuts of steak at your favorite restaurant, make your own sausages, or getting yourself ready for your next outdoor barbecue.  Many of the available classes also help to instill an appreciation in the history and tradition behind one of the city’s oldest professions.  No matter the reason for taking the class, you’re sure to learn something valuable…even if it seems icky. 


There are plenty of craft-making classes all over the city, but none are quite like pyrography lessons.  No, you won’t be burning anything down, but you will learn how to use a wood-burning pen and other implements to decorate some timber.  From learning the different kinds of tips to free handing designs or following a template, pyrography courses can help you learn a new skill that you can use for fun or to start up a small crafting business.  The courses do have some requirements and necessary safety equipment that you’ll need to bring with you (if they don’t provide it themselves), so make sure to read all the prerequisites for a class. 


Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, fans of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can learn to play one of that universe’s greatest sports while visiting London.  Quidditch for Muggles offers classes, school events, and birthday parties for young witches and wizards that want to learn the sport.  For the older quidditch enthusiasts, the quidditch club Werewolves of London invites anyone who wants to get in touch and join them at their Saturday morning training.  Who knows, you might find yourself good enough at it to play in an actual match or just take what you’ve learned back home to start your own club. 


Lots of people dream of running away to join the circus when they’re kids, and London’s trapeze classes can help fulfill those dreams of long ago.  There are a number of trapeze schools throughout the city that will help you learn the death-defying aerial arts—with the help of nets and harnesses of course.  Plenty of these trapeze schools offers classes for all ages from children to teens to adults, so don’t be afraid to jump right in there and learn alongside your family. 

John Rabon
Author: John Rabon

John is a regular writer for Anglotopia and its sister websites. He is currently engaged in finding a way to move books slightly to the left without the embarrassment of being walked in on by Eddie Izzard. For any comments, questions, or complaints, please contact the Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson's haircut.


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