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Top 10 luxury courses – from polo playing to racing driving, perfume making and more

Whether you’re considering a career change, looking for inspiration for a new hobby, or just simply fancy trying your hand at something new, taking a course is a great way to feed your mind and fuel your creative spirit. Be inspired by our luxury courses and find one to suit you.

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Cigar Academy

Sautter, Mount Street, London

To become a bona fide cigar maker takes 9 years in Havana, but if you’ve a little less time to spare you can make a start with a one day training course with Nic Wing at Sautter cigar shop on London’s Mount Street. Aimed at new cigar lovers or serious aficionados, the course will focus exclusively on Cuban cigars – particularly enjoyable for American visitors whose 50 year-old homeland embargo still prevents importation. You’ll spend the morning on the Cigar Terrace of the Mayfair Hotel learning about the history of Cuba and the Cuban cigar industry, history of the UK cigar trade, development of cigar sizes, get an overview of tobacco growing & maturing, cigar manufacture and aging. After lunch at the hotel the course will continue at Sautter on Mount Street where you’ll learn how to look after cigars – from keeping to cutting and lighting. Your Sautter Cigar Training ‘Homework’ includes a suggested list of cigars to help you continue your education.

Saturday courses are planned for 1st March, 12th April, 17th May, 14th June, though private training can be arranged for groups or individuals. There are also special events planned to coincide with the three NFL games to be held at Wembley in the Autumn.

Duration: 1 day

Fees: £150


Polo Lessons

Guards Polo Academy @ Coworth Park

Learn to play polo with Andrew Hine, coach to Zacara – the winners of the British Open Championship, at Guards Polo Academy at Coworth Park. A wide variety of lessons and polo days on offer include half and full day Discover Polo experiences, or alternatively bespoke polo experiences can be arranged for individual clients. Instructional chukkas are available for the more serious player, as is chukka hire and the former England team manager will also be offering a three-day elite polo academy during the course of the summer.

Duration: as per individual requirements

Fees: from £160/hr for private lessons.


Diamond Diploma

Gemmological Association of Great Britain, London

The combination of natural beauty, detective work and science has made gemology an appealing hobby. Gem-A, which began as a Gemmological Committee of the National Association of Goldsmiths, first introduced a gemmology qualification in 1908 in order to encourage jewellers to understand the gems they were selling and to identify the fakes. This course offers a comprehensive study of diamonds and the diamond market. Studying for the Diamond Diploma, you will learn about diamond grading, the 4Cs (carat weight, colour, clarity and cut) and the other factors that influence value, as well as how to identify and recognize imitations and treatments.

Gem-A offer this and other London based daytime or evening courses or Open Distance Learning with additional practical classes in either London, New York or Las Vegas.

Duration: 1-2 years

Fees: from £2,300



GCSE at The Greenwich observatory

Aimed at adults, this comprehensive course offers a firm grounding in the study of the Earth-Moon-Sun system, the Solar System, the Galaxy and the wider Universe. You’ll be assessed through coursework and a final examination, leading to a formal qualification in GCSE Astronomy.

Duration: 30 weeks

Fees: £460


Floral Design

Diploma at Judith Blacklock Flower School Knightsbridge, London

Discover the secrets of successful floral design through this intensive one-week course by the Judith Blacklock Flower School. You’ll learn what makes arrangements look good using the elements and principles of design, the trade secrets that will enable you to make a few flowers go a long way and about the latest trends, techniques and materials. You’ll learn how to make arrangements for large venues such as churches, marquees or reception halls, how to arrange flowers in a vase and hand-tied bouquets, pedestals, table decoration and top table designs, mantelpiece garlands and topiary. You will also visit New Covent Garden Flower Market and a specialist sundries supplier. The school also offers private tuition in flower design, millinery and watercolour painting, and courses ranging from one-day flower design workshops to a two-week intensive career course, designed for those who are interested in floristry as a profession.

Duration: One week intensive

Fees: £999


Perfume Making

Grasse Institute of Perfumery, France

Grasse is the birthplace of the world’s perfume industry and the 12 students per year who make it into this course are chosen for their creativity and olfactory talent in a selection process that’s open 1 January – 31 August. If you make the grade you’ll spend 9 months developing the fundamental knowledge of perfume creation. You’ll learn about raw materials and how to use them correctly, in particular natural plants such as jasmine, roses, lavender and mimosa for which Grasse has long been renowned. You’ll learn the language of perfumery, how to classify and recognise the major fragrance groups and how to create harmonies through the subtle art of blending. There are 972 hours of training, in English, of which 324 are given by confirmed creative perfumers or technical experts. The remaining 648 hours are spent doing supervised practical work and visiting factories, laboratories and growers.

Duration: 9 months (GIP also offers shorter ‘summer schools’)

Fees: EUR 12,000



Bisley Shooting Ground, UK

Holding a gun for any length of time can be difficult for a novice, so the most popular way for beginners to learn is in a series of 1 hour sessions staggered to your convenience. Bisley is known internationally for the quality of its shooting instruction, with its instructors hand picked and most having shot for their country or county. The lessons take place outside in the beautiful, 3,000 acres of rolling surrey countryside Bisley is located in. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the sport, giving beginner shots a chance to experience a variety of traps, including bolting rabbits, bursting partridge, high pheasants and grouse. Bisley’s simulated game facilities are cited as the most realistic in the country. Over the course of the 6 lessons and expert tuition the beginner will leave feeling knowledgeable, a capable shot and hopefully a passion for the sport.

The ‘Beginner course’ is priced from £475 and includes a basic gun fit and background to shooting. Bisley are delighted to offer 6 x 1 hour beginners sessions for the price of 5 – simply book with the code ‘InsigniaBeginner’ before March 31st 2014.

Duration: 6 hours

Fees: £475


Race Driver Training Programme

Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy, Kenilworth, UK

Obtaining your National B Racing License in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 is a pretty exciting prospect for most petrol heads. At The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy you can train to do just that. After passing test track assessment in a road car you’ll move up into a racing car and have your driving recorded on video ready for a performance analysis.  Having familiarised yourself with the car and various racing circuits in a simulator, you’ll be ready for a real trackday. Track day assessments will help you fine tune your skills and get you ready for your National B racing license test – which once passed means you can jump into a GT4 for a test day in preparation for competing with the Aston Martin Racing team in a Vantage GT4 Car.  The 3 part Race Driver training package includes assessment and simulator sessions, gaining your license, competing in a GT4 and your racewear pack.

Duration: 4 days

Fees: £21,165  +VAT per person



London Cru, London

London Cru is central London’s first winery. With state of the art equipment and only the best grapes sourced from Europe’s vineyards, this course is the first opportunity to get involved in the winemaking process in London. Grapes are carefully selected by Gavin and Roberson Wine’s Senior Buyer and Master of Wine student Mark Andrew. You’ll be given a rundown of the fundamentals of wine tastings, the components of wine, a dash of wine science and the art of wine blending before being let loose to create your very own wine blend. Experts are on hand to advise on how to achieve your perfect blend. Once you’ve made 3 wines you’ll get to pick your favourite and have it bottled to take home and enjoy that evening.

The next Winemaker for a Day is on Saturday the 15th of March from 11am – 4pm, with a two course lunch and wine between 1pm and 2pm.

Duration: 1 day

Fees: £125



Elite Sailing, Chatham, UK

If you want to learn to sail and acquire the skills to be a competent member of a sailing crew on other boats, then learning the ropes on an RYA Competent Crew practical sailing course is a great place to start. Living aboard the boat for 5 days, you’ll earn how to steer the boat, how to set and trim sails, how to prepare the boat to enter or leave harbour, how to pick up moorings and anchor and how to handle the ropes and tie knots. Each day’s route involves a mixture of short passages from port to port and the course culminates in a final day assessment. All meals, tea and coffee aboard the boat are provided and there’s the opportunity to spend some evenings ashore.

Duration: 5 days (Sun-Fri / Tues-Sun) or 3×2 weekends (Fri-Sun)

Fees: £492 (5 days) £220 (2 days)



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