Wannabe dancers, artists and jewellery-makers are invited to the riverside town to hone their skills and master a few new ones.
The historic town of Kingston upon Thames is inviting visitors to indulge their creative sides, get their dancing shoes on or hone their wine-tasting skills on a learning short-break to the riverside borough. Holidaymakers can choose from a range of courses including: wine tasting, jewellery-making, and ballroom lessons, Capoeira and King-Fu classes and art workshops.
Where to stay
Every activity can be combined with an overnight stay in one of Kingston’s friendly hotels or B&Bs.
The Holiday Inn London – Kingston South, has rooms from £89 per room, per night, including breakfast. Call 020 8786 6565 or visit hikingston.co.uk.
The White Hart, Hampton Wick Rooms start from £75 per room, per night, with breakfast. Call 020 8977 1786 or visit whiteharthoteluk.co.uk
Chase Lodge Rooms start from £85 per room, per night including breakfast. Call 020 8943 1862 or visit chaselodgehotel.com.
Strictly, Jive & Swing
Kingston gives visitors the chance to put their dancing shoes on with Jive, Swing and Ballroom lessons. Visitors can learn to jive & swing dance with Everything’s Jumpin’. Held every Monday in the Kingston Workmen’s Club, these pay-as-you-go classes teach the Lindy Hop, Rock n Roll, West Coast Swing, Ballroom and even Modern Jive. Run by a professionally qualified dance teacher, they start with a warm-up, before moving on to the basics and dancers can choose from a beginners’ class to improvers and intermediate or freestyle. Prices start from £7 for one session, £9 for two sessions or £10 for all three sessions. For more information, go to everythingsjumpin.co.uk
Ballroom lessons are also available from Strictly Come Dancing’s own Izabela Rai. Locals can book a 10-week course from £100, hosted at the Kingston Workmen’s Club on Old London Road. For more information go to wizabeladance.com
Tea dance at The Rose
Kingston’s acclaimed The Rose Theatre holds “Tea Dances” on the last Sunday of every month in its Swallow Bakery Café. Experienced dancers and newcomers are invited to get their jive on at the regular Swing Dance Club events, presented by the Jive Joint Dance Company. The classes are offered free of charge and dancers simply turn up with their dancing shoes! For more information go to rosetheatrekingston.org
Yoga and Boxfit at Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty in Kingston’s market place offers a number of free weekly yoga and workout classes for members (membership is free). After hours, the boutique is transformed into a fitness studio; rails are pushed aside, lights are dimmed and the music is turned up. Boxfit is offered every Tuesday from 18.15 – 19.15 and yoga is on a Sunday between 10.00 and 11.00. For more information go to sweatybetty.com
Alternatively, Fighting Fit, one of the leading martial arts organisations in the UK, offers Kung-Fu, kickboxing and self-defence classes on Wednesdays at 19.15 and Saturdays at 13.00 and 14.00. Classes are £9.00 and take place at the Richard Mayo Centre and the Kingfisher Leisure Centre. For more information, go to fighting-fit.com
Improve your drawing skills
Alternatively, life drawing classes are being offered at Kingston’s Market House every Thursday evening from 7 – 9pm. Budding artists can join the class for just £20 per head and enjoy a relaxed evening of drawing with a local artist and professional life model. All materials and refreshments are provided. For more information and to reserve a place, please call 07968 160 426 or email WeAreSkyhigh@gmail.com
Perfecting the Palate
Laithwaites Kingston runs a monthly wine tasting event where Tony Laithwaite and the company’s Head of Retail, Helen McEvoy, share their insider knowledge and give visitors the chance to ask the questions they always wanted to know the answers to. A selection of canapés is served throughout the evening and the wines shown are offered to guests with a 10% discount plus free delivery. The tasting runs from 7.30 – 9.30pm and tickets are £15 per person. To book go to laithwaites.co.uk call 0208 399 4246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org