Take time for you this month with a new niche hobby. Hunt for treasure, hone a unique skill, learn to fly! A less obvious past time could bring the escapism we’re all craving. Let’s add some new strings to the bow and find balance while we’re at it. Unique hobbies here we come.
I waaaaanna fly away
Photo: Bruno Feitosa @ Pexels
Fancy getting a little bit more fit n’ flex but bored of your usual (dwindling or non-existent) fitness routine? Well, this could be just the ticket. From beginners to certified circus performers, Flying Fantastic with studios in Peckham, Bankside and Wimbledon runs a host of aerial classes for all ages, that will get you hanging upside down and/or flying through the air.
From aerial yoga – which includes twirling one-self in long lengths of material (called aerial silks) suspended from the ceiling and then magically moving your body into all sorts of phantastic-al shapes, which is all at once peaceful …and graceful – eventually (it does take a bit of practise). These exercises work wonders on building your core-strength and improving flexibility.
Then there are the flying trapeze classes that will have you swinging through the air, right across the studio like an eagle. At first – terrifying; and then absolutely exhilarating – Errr, what fear of heights?
The National Centre for Circus Arts is a professional circus school in Shoreditch that offers one of the UK’s only university degree programmes in circus – who knew?! If you don’t want to join the circus, or get a degree for that matter, adults can sign up to one of their 6-8-week courses to learn aerial, tightwire and acrobats, even if you have zero circus skills.
The expert teachers will have you pulling off circus moves in no time – maybe not the hobby to show off at the summer party. But a sure-fire way to invigorate your fitness regime, entertain (yourself), make new pals, bond with your children/friends/partner, learn cool skills and feel fierce all at once.
Photo: Cottonbro @ Pexels.
Always wanted to learn how to handstand but could never quite grasp it? What about tumbling? Think you’re too old? Well, a host of gyms across London would tell you otherwise (safety first of course). The Southwark Gymnastics club offers up classes for all ages and abilities.
Then there is the Over Gravity Gymnastics club in Bow, who have an actual handstand class, as well as specialised strength classes. If you’re a real beginner and a little bit shy, you can even start out with a one-on-one session to really feel-your-feet before you join an adult group class.
Same applies at the East London Gym, who offer open session and one-on-ones. Even if you’re a complete beginner, do remember everyone’s there for the same reason and it’s totes friendly vibes across the board. The coaches will listen to what you want to get out of your sessions and let you know what’s realistic and how you can get there safely. Best of all – leotards and lycra-leggings aren’t mandatory.
Adult gymnastics is a fantastic way to build muscle strength and definition especially if you’re a bit bored of ‘weight’ day. Gymnastics is also great for improving flexibility, posture and teaching our bodies to work and move a little more gracefully. Plus, when you’ve just had a shocker of a day what’s better then running top speed to launch yourself into a gargantuan foam pit?
Discover beautiful new spots.
If you enjoy the thrill of treasure hunting, then you need to have magnet fishing on your radar. This unique hobby has ricochet into popularity – there were over 173,300 internet searches for ‘magnet fishing’ in the UK last year and over 1,127,500 worldwide.
This unique hobby uses super-strength Neodymium magnets attached to 10-30 metre ropes, that you drop into waterways. Neodymium, used in MRI machines is a rare earth metal that has the strongest magnetic properties of any element in the world. Small and mighty, if you choose the right size and strength magnet, it can pull out a car!
So, right, you might not be looking to fish for a car, but along with plenty of scrap metal there’s the potential to find real treasure – roman coins, historical artefacts, bicycles, this eco-friendly hobby means not only can you hunt for something pretty exciting while you are pulling out scrap you’re helping to tidy up the waterways. Anything you pull out should be recycled sensibly and any weapons should be reported to the police.
The Magnet Store reported how one keen magnet fisher pulled out a safe that contained military service badges, documents and jewellery. The fisher traced the owner through the military badge number and was able to return his discovery to the rightful owner. The safe had been stolen 10-years prior and the owner never expected to be reunited with his belongings.
A huge thrill of magnet fishing is that the success rate is far higher than plain ordinary fishing, you could get a catch in the first 5-minutes, which makes it a super popular hobby with (less patient) children, who should be accompanied at all times of course.
A great way to get outside and discover gorgeous new spots, get all the equipment you need and find the best spots to magnet fish.
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Waiting for the tide to go out, so we can hunt for treasure.
Photo: Archaic Kid @ Pexels
Fancy yourself as a bit of a magpie? Well then Mud larking could be your new summer hobby.
Running through the heart of London – the Thames, is one for the largest archaeological sites in the world and it’s filled to the brim with historical artefacts (as well as the odd unsavoury find).
The Thames tide changes dramatically and when it goes out, remnants of these historical artefacts get strewn along the wide muddy foreshores – and mud larkers look for it.
Interesting fact: Because the Thames has such low levels of oxygen (anaerobic) many organic materials preserve longer in its waters and because of that the layers of mud hold hundreds of years of history within them. If your head to the Museum of London you can see Woolly mammoth teeth, Tudor rings and clay pipes that have been plucked out.
The dictionary will tell you that a mud larker is a person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour. We like to think of them as treasure hunters, up with the lark to catch the best worms. Lara Maiklem, certified mud larker and author of award-winning Sunday Times bestseller ‘Mud larking’, will sure get you fired up.
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Today, mud larking is a popular past-time for history lovers, many of whom claim the calming effects of spending a morning or even a day on the shores of the river. Add to that the sheer excitement when you do stumble across something.
A group of fascinating historians and volunteers at Thames Discovery run walks along the foreshores, which is a really great way to learn more about the fascinating history and archaeology of the river, to learn about the tides, how to stay safe and stick to Port of London Authority rules should you fancy getting on board with a little treasure-hunting.
Mud lark me up! See you on the beach.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to spend a free weekend, there’s no need to head far. We’ve put together the very best attractions in your neighbourhood, covering off arts, culture, green spaces and activities for all ages. Dive into our area guides and plan your next excursion – East London guide, South London guide and Manchester guide.