With booze, cakes and chocolates out of the way, it’s time to feed your brain. London boasts many institutions that offer courses on everything from sculpting to gamekeeping, but you can also learn a thing or two about the city itself.
Bishopsgate Institute contains one of the capital’s premier local history libraries. It also puts on a number of courses to help you get better acquainted with the city. Ten short courses are listed for the first quarter of 2014. Topics include Museums of London, London Squares: a Short History, and Migration and the Making of the Modern City. Most courses will dip into original source material and some include guided walks. Costs and number of sessions vary. Details here.
The adult education centre offers regular London-themed courses. Those with places at the time of writing include Transporting London, Public and Private Buildings, Spies in London, Photographing London, and Wild London. Costs vary, but are typically £138 for ten weeks.
The college on Westminster Bridge Road has a course starting this month on The Making of London: The Great Fire to The Great Exhibition. It’s £120 for 10 weeks and runs 8 January to 19 March.
Museum of London
The museum has a 10 week accredited course on Anglo-Norman London from Jan-Mar. Those of a seafaring bent might enjoy the Port of London Study Group, whose current focus is Trade and Empire: 1850-1914. In April, you can take a course on Everyday Life in Medieval London.
The Workers’ Educational Association runs a 10-session course on writing London, including non-fiction, fiction and poetry. It takes place at Museum of London 15 January to 26 March and costs £98.70.