New hobbies - 10 of the best

PUBLISHED: 22:21 05 March 2012 | UPDATED: 17:16 01 December 2014

New hobbies - 10 of the best

New hobbies - 10 of the best

Ten great activities to throw yourself into in 2011, from rock climbing to home-made crafts and even a cheese club...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2011


Mountain biking
Tearing about the most beautiful terrain in Surrey, spraying passers-by with mud, mountain biking has an obsessive following.
This hobby is for you if... you’re fit and like getting outdoors in all weathers to ride some of the best natural and man-made mountain bike trails in the South East.
How to get started: As well as a decent mountain bike and basic fitness, you’ll need a good sense of humour. There are groups across Surrey who ride regularly both on and off-road. One such group of like-minded individuals is the ‘muddymoles’ – more at

Homage de Fromage
Homage de Fromage is a monthly cheese club in Surbiton dedicated to celebrating the wonderful taste and rich variety of British cheeses, while also creating cheese-inspired art.
This hobby is for you if... you can’t get enough of the wonderful stuff that is cheese – er, and you’ve always wondered how pliable it is as an art tool.   
How to get started: Each month, at The Lamb pub in Brighton Road, Surbiton, they take a tasteful wander through a selection of cheeses chosen to represent a different region of the UK. For more information, visit

A friendly cross-generational game that appeals to those seeking
a few hours of exercise in a competitive sporting environment. Timely, too, as the Surrey County Bowling Association celebrates its centenary this year.
This hobby is for you if... you’ve got plenty of enthusiasm but prefer the genteel pace of the greens to charging around the county’s hills. 
How to get started: Don’t buy any equipment before you’ve checked out what your local club has on offer, but do visit, which is home to a list of all the clubs in the county.

Rock climbing
Those who’ve experienced it say you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it and that it’s hard to explain to non-climbers why you’d want to put yourself in such a scary situation. Fortunately, Surrey residents have one of the country’s leading climb centres.
This hobby is for you if... you want to push away from your comfort zone and get in shape in an adrenaline pumping but safe environment.    
How to get started: The Guildford and Sutton based, Craggy Island, is one of the largest indoor climbing centres in the country. They run beginners’ courses and supply the equipment you’ll need for the course, too. Find out more at

Kirstie Allsopp and her crafts-based television programmes, plus the ongoing economical strife, mean that crafts have never been more popular.
This hobby is for you if... you enjoy being creative but haven’t found the outlet for you – the practical benefits could transform your life, too.    
How to get started: Check out the MakeMe Workshops at The Medicine Garden in Cobham – just one among a number of Surrey-based crafts venues where you can pick up useful hints and tips. See

Just Jhoom!
Move over Zumba, Just Jhoom! recently became the first officially accredited Bollywood-inspired dancercise class and it was all the brainchild of Cranleigh resident, Shalini Bhalla.
This hobby is for you if... you’re looking for a fun and fabulous workout, which is suitable for everyone.    
How to get started: Shalini has been running classes in Cranleigh, Guildford and Woking, which are all regularly packed out (including two weekly classes at Surrey Sports Park). Find out more at

Weeks before officially opening for its usual tourist trade, Ham House in Richmond hopes to entice people out of their homes during this rather gloomy time of the year to learn this new and very sociable skill via a professionally run bridge club.
This hobby is for you if... you want to stay tucked up indoors, but not necessarily in front of the TV.    
How to get started: Courses for beginners and those with a basic knowledge start from Monday January 17 and cost £125 (£105 for National Trust members). To book a place, call 0208 892 9429.

Considered by many as among the best clay pigeon shooting in the country, Bisley shooting, near Woking, is set in 3,000 acres of heath and woodland.
This hobby is for you if... you enjoy a high level of concentration, and would like to improve your hand-to-eye coordination, all while honing in on swiftly moving targets before blowing them up into little pieces – it’s addictive.    
How to get started: Historically considered a gentleman’s pursuit, the range has made its own bid for sexual equality with ladies’ days, which include a breakfast of bacon rolls and pastries, a morning of exhilarating shooting and then a two-course lunch. For details, see

Church bell- ringing has much to offer, with many different challenges and rewards. Ringing is an unusual hobby that involves being part of a team, forging a lifelong interest in which you are always learning something new and having a good social life, too – ringers are always made welcome when they visit other towers.
This hobby is for you if... you enjoy being part of a tradition that dates back 400 years.     
How to get started: To become a ringer, all you need to do is to attend regular practices. Take a look at to learn more about church bell-ringing and to find a tower near you. They are always looking for new recruits and if you join this year, you may even be able to take part in the ringing for the 2012 London Olympic Games!

One of history’s longest running ‘hobbies’ and yet the one that so many people never manage to get around to doing; a bit like the book they are certain they’ve got in them.
This hobby is for you if... you want to meet other like-minded people, enjoy learning new techniques and think you’d benefit from the positive experience of doing something creative.      
How to get started: Most classes or workshops provide the materials for you, though some may ask you to bring specific items such as a sketchbook and pencil. Get in touch with your local art society or look out for notices on boards at local libraries or similar. There’s also some useful information on the county council website:



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