Our rundown of five of the best from across the South East

Cook Smart… 

Last month, The Limpsfield Cookery School in Surrey opened its doors for the first time to provide a range of classes focusing on various culinary skills, taught by top chefs. 

The brainchild of Jacqueline Derbyshire, the School’s aim is to provide pupils with the tools and knowledge to create dishes with a huge selection of courses throughout the year, from bread and cake making, to mastering international cuisines. “I have always considered myself proficient in the kitchen,” says Jacqueline, “and indeed have usually been the go-to person to cater for family parties and events. However, after my daughter married a Michelin-trained chef, I was made very aware that there was a huge range of skills and dishes that I was lacking. I found that there were either no courses available to help me learn, or those that were available were more geared to professional chefs and felt cold and unwelcoming. This is where the idea for The Limpsfield Cookery School was born!” 

Alongside the courses, once every month, Jacqueline will be hosting a Friday night Supper Club where up to 35 guests can enjoy a casual, informal buffet-style gathering, focused on fresh, seasonal produce – the perfect way to kick-start the weekend. 


Wonky waltz..? (or never even tried?)
We tracked down Jack from jackdavidson.co.uk to ask  him about his popular ballroom classes:

What can you expect from a Jack Davidson dance class? “Well, firstly, great dancing technique, followed by lots of fun and a whole new social community you never expected to meet! Our aim is to add some Strictly magic to your dancing. We cater for beginners to advanced and beyond. Our dance classes in Tenterden and Rolvenden teach so much more than just ballroom and latin dancing – the steps are just the beginning of the journey, technique along with fun and socialising are at the core of what we do.”

Why do people seem to like dancing so much? “We all lead busy and stressful lives but dancing can be such an immersive experience and benefit you in so many ways. For instance, helping you to stay active both mentally and physically, meeting new people, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone (gently) and providing an environment with like-minded people all sharing the joy of dance.”

Do I need a partner? “They say it takes two to tango but at a Jack Davidson dance class it doesn’t matter if you come as a couple or by yourself, we are accessible to all. We understand that it can take a lot of courage to try something new or just start dancing again, but we aim to put all your worries at ease and help you leave class smiling and wanting to come back for more.”

You can visit jackdavidson.co.uk for class times and more info or call him on
07863 132920.

The Pro Approach… 

This spring, tennis fans should check out the Château Lou Casteou and Rose Tennis Academy, which will be running from 14-19 April in a stunning château set in the beautiful Côte d’Azur countryside. It is structured to welcome all levels of tennis players – from beginners to advanced – with coaches James Rose and Richie Baker leading an experienced team of tennis pros. Six hours’ daily coaching and tournaments, luxe all-inclusive accommodation and a ticket to the ATP Tournament in Monaco is priced at £1,998 single occupancy, or £1,750 pp for two sharing. 

If you’re after something more fitness-orientated, you could try Body Tonic at Lou Casteou, a luxurious, four-night all-inclusive fitness retreat, which provides energetic training classes, vibrant Latin dance parties, stunning coastal treks, a tennis workshop, private chef and pampered chateau accommodation. Upcoming retreats are 27-31 May, 24-18 June or 16-20 September. loucasteou.eu

Fun with Fitness…

If you’re keen to up your fitness levels and enjoyment of exercise, but are daunted by the gym or just lacking in motivation, Wealden Times columnist Sarah Maxwell runs a series of online fitness courses alongside ballet barre and personal and group training classes at her studio in Cranbrook. Sarah’s fun, action-packed sessions are filled with laughter and positivity and offer the perfect chance to reap the benefits of a whole body workout under her expert supervision. 

Sarah will be hosting a very special health and fitness retreat with a difference in Palermo, Sicily (European capital of culture 2018) from 9-13 September. The retreat will be for a maximum of eight people and will be based in elegant and stylish accommodation with a wide variety of room options (your own room and bathroom as standard). Sarah’s private air-conditioned fitness studio is ideal for Pilates, barre, Ariel fitness and yoga. Enjoy a few days surrounded by wonderful people, great food – “No starvation juice here,” says Sarah – and fabulous wine, “Yes, that too!” It’s suitable for all abilities. Contact Sarah to be one of the first to receive full details about this retreat and future dates. sarahmaxwell.com / Instagram @sarahmaxwelllifestyle

Fancy Broomwork… 

England’s first ever dedicated curling rink is tucked down a country lane, just three miles from Tunbridge Wells. Fenton’s Rink welcomes a wide range of people, all keen to try their hand at this fascinating Winter Olympic sport. The 50-metre ice rink has been specially designed for curling, so everyone gets to try the real thing, complete with curling stones, brushes and shoes – as you would see on televised games. Beginners can use rubber-soled shoes to get the hang of throwing the stone before advancing to sliding on the ice – if you want to try that, too. 

For elderly visitors, or those with a bad back, you can just push the stone along with our specially designed cues, so everyone can have a go! The season runs until the end of April, so there’s still plenty of time to try something really different. Check out Fenton’s website and online booking system at fentonsrink.co.uk for current availability.

Limpsfield Cookery

Limpsfield Cookery

Château Lou Casteou and Rose Tennis Academy

Château Lou Casteou and Rose Tennis Academy

Fenton’s Rink

Fenton’s Rink

Sarah Maxwell Charlotte Knee Photography

Sarah Maxwell Charlotte Knee Photography

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All Aboard with Heart of Kent Hospice

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