LONDON – The fastest way to sound smarter is to speak English with a crisp English accent. (Take it from a girl who is married to a Brit.) You may not be able to take a posh voice home as a souvenir, you can pack in some very British knowledge instead. The next time you're in London, tear yourself away from the Tate Modern and lunch at Palomar and go learn a little something.
You're not an artist; you just play one on vacation. Be spontaneous (so artistic!) and drop in on a life drawing or watercolor class held weekly in the evening at the local pub for a mere £5. Longer, pre-booked sessions cover printmaking, still life painting, and more.
Get Your David Hockney On: .
Somehow butchering feels extra butch when it's a Brit wielding the knife. The Ginger Pig, one of the city's best meat purveyors, has seven locations around town and holds small classes daily at their Marylebone and Shepherds Bush outposts. Classes are topic-specific: pork, beef, poultry, lamb, seasonal game, and sausage making.
Get Your Fergus Henderson On: .
First things first: They call it "cookery" over here. And Leith's has trained an impressive roster of professional and amateur cooks. (And not that we'd ever name drop, but Kate Middleton polished her knife and spice skills here.) Enthusiasts Courses is their short-term program in food, drinks, chef skills, and food photography and business. Classes for kids and teens are also available.
Get Your Jamie Oliver On: .
You've admired the pillowcases Henry VIII rested his big head on, now learn to make them for your own bed. The school within (an educational visit unto itself) offers more than 160 classes at all levels of skill and time commitments, from one day to full diplomas. The course catalog is a primer in what you didn't know can be done with a needle: whitework, beading, crewelwork, Tudor goldwork, and something marvelous called Alice in Wonderland miniature stumpwork and applique. No need to be in London, either. Other locations include Bristol; Glasgow; Exeter; Williamsburg, Virginia; Tokyo; and San Francisco.
Get Your Jane Austen On: .
In addition to leading untraditional tours of East London, the company offers two-and-a-half and four-hour workshops in street art and graffiti, occasionally with foreign street artists, most recently a group of Brazilians. Get inspired on the streets around Shoreditch, then learn how to stencil and get spraying.
Get Your Banksy On: .
HOME, FASHION, FOOD, ETCETERA
There's an eclectic range of homey arts on offer through this "boutique of things to do." Furniture painting. Lampshade making. Hand-welted shoemaking. Mosaic tile-making. Elocution. (Maybe you can master that British accent...) Classes are primarily held in London, but also throughout the country.
Get Your Delia Smith On: .
PING-PONG AND HULA-HOOP
Oh, those wacky Brits. So eccentric. Like Darling Collective, Indytute offers an assortment of random learnings. table tennis workshops (£24) and (£12) with Marawa the Amazing sound particularly charming.
Get Your Oopsy-La On: .