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The 10 Best summer courses

Polish your Spanish or life drawing skills, or learn to forage and then cook your harvest with this range of engrossing courses

{1} Foraging and Philosophy Weekend

Retreat to the beautiful Exmoor countryside for a weekend spent freeing your mind, and rambling free. Expert Lucia Stuart will teach you how to identify and cook wild plants and seaweeds, while Dr Mark Vernon will encourage discussions on Plato, Socrates and the Epicureans.

28-30 June, £325, idler.co.uk


{2} How to Make Love Last

Of all the classes and workshops at London’s School of Life (How to be Cool being another intriguing one), this day-long workshop on love – led by writer and counsellor David Waters – invites you to explore all elements of relationships and how to deepen them.

24 July, £35, theschooloflife.com


{3} Combat and Stage Fighting

The Central School of Speech and Drama – one of the country’s most renowned drama schools – hosts a range of summer courses. The combat and stage fighting course teaches the skills you need to play safe on stage.

1-5 July, £573, cssd.ac.uk


{4} Songwriting

Taught by professional songwriter Christine Collister, this residential course held in a cottage in Scotland will help you work your ideas into complete songs. The Arvon Foundation also offers grants for those on a low income.

15-20 July, £620-£680, arvonfoundation.org


{5} Weekend Yoga Retreat

Cut loose with a yoga course at the Tilton House retreat in East Sussex. A normal day will involve morning meditation, Hatha flow yoga and free time for coastal strolls or other holistic treatments. There are log fires at night and even a yurt (for more yoga!).

19-21 July, £330, tiltonhouse.co.uk


{6} Fabric and Form: Life Drawing

This course at the fantastic Princes Drawing School offers an opportunity to paint models dressed in fashionable London dress. Among the other summer courses on offer are drawing with watercolour and printmaking.

15-19 July, £325, princesdrawingschool.org


{7} Photography at Glasgow School of Art

Get to grips with traditional photo technique at the prolific Glasgow School of Art. The summer courses include beginners’ black-and-white photography or lessons in photographing Glasgow’s architecture, both using a 35mm camera.

Summer courses, £340, gsa.ac.uk


{8} Spanish

Whether you’re getting ready for a holiday, or just want to get your Spanish up to scratch, the range of courses on offer at the Instituto Cervantes in London and Manchester should fit all levels. The courses are very reasonable, too – from £142 for 30 hours of tuition.

Dates and prices vary,  manchester.cervantes.es


{9} Life Drawing

An intensive life-drawing course at the University of Edinburgh’s art and design school, taught in the North Light Studios facing Edinburgh Castle. Led by an experienced tutor, students will develop their skills and be given techniques to help them capture the human form.

29 July-2 August, £310, ed.ac.uk


{10} Making Woodwind Instruments

Learn how to craft a traditional instrument from scratch at West Dean College. Over five days you will be shown techniques to bore a descant recorder or a three-piece folk flute, as well as how to tune them up to play. The college also offers summer courses in everything from upholstery to woodcarving.

16-21 August, £481, westdean.org.uk