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11 of the best free online courses to take during lockdown

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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A watercolour painting

Looking to try your hand at something new during lockdown? These incredible online courses offer everything you need to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby, and they’re 100% free.

Keeping yourself entertained in lockdown can be pretty tricky. Whether you’re still working, or have been placed on furlough, the time you might have spent pre-lockdown seeing friends, going to the cinema or simply commuting has now been freed up.

And while watching the latest Netflix releases or hosting a virtual pub quiz are fun ways to pass the time, they can get pretty old if they’re the only things at your disposal.

Lucky for us, experts and teachers across the world are using their extra time in lockdown to share their expertise with the internet – for free. 

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Whether you fancy picking up a brand new skill or just learning something for fun, there’s tonnes of great online content to keep you busy.

With this in mind, we’ve picked out 11 of our favourite free online courses available right now. From baking and drawing to painting and cooking, there’s plenty to get you started. 

  • Wagamama’s Wok From Home Series

    Make yourself a yummy takeaway treat with Wagamama’s Wok From Home classes. Hosted by Wagamama’s executive chef Steve Mangleshot, the classes (which are streamed on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV and YouTube on Wednesdays), talk you through how to make a number of the restaurant’s classic dishes, including their katsu curry and vegetarian yaki soba.

  • Codecademy’s Beginners Coding Courses

    A laptop with coding on it
    Best free online courses: Codecademy.

    Codecademy offers a bunch of free online coding courses to help you understand the basics of this valuable skill. Each course breaks things down step-by-step, so it’s easy to pick up, and the interactive practice screen allows you to identify and correct your mistakes.

  • Scrapbook.com’s Watercolour 101: The Basics

    Scrapbook.com’s Watercolour 101: The Basics course gives you a free introduction to the art of watercolour painting. As well as guiding you through the basic techniques and showing you how to combine colours in an artistic way, the course also talks you through the supplies you actually need to get started.

  • Sarah Du-Feu’s Adult Basic Ballet

    If you’re looking to spruce up your at-home workout routine, look no further than the online ballet classes being led by English National Ballet School trained dancer Sarah De-Feu. The classes, which are streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, range in difficulty and cover the very basics of ballet, so you don’t need to have danced before to give it a go.

  • Yale’s Science of Well-Being

    A woman smiling and feeling happy
    Best free online courses: The Science of Wellbeing.

    Looking to boost your wellbeing during lockdown? Luckily for you, Yale’s world-famous happiness course The Science of Well-Being is available to take for free online. Taught by Professor Laurie Santos, the course is designed to increase happiness and help you to build more productive habits. 

  • BeSophro’s Free Guided Sophrology Sessions

    BeSophro’s Free Guided Sophrology Sessions will guide you through the basics of dynamic meditation, a practice which can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, calm fear, boost your productivity and improve sleep. There truly is no better time to learn more about taking care of yourself, and these Instagram Live classes are a great place to start.

  • Patch Plant’s Houseplant Parenting Course

    Want to buy yourself some houseplants, but have no clue how to care for them? Patch Plants’ houseplant parenting courses guide you through the very basics of plant care, including how to choose the right soil and what to do if your plant starts dropping leaves.

  • Disney’s How To Draw Series

    Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of Disney with Disney Parks’ How To Draw series. The YouTube playlist is full of step-by-step drawing guides for your favourite Disney characters, including Elsa and Anna from Frozen and both Minnie and Mickey mouse. 

  • Stylist’s The Breakfast Club

    Stylist has launched The Breakfast Club to entertain, support and distract you through lockdown. From bread baking to guided meditations, join us on Instagram Live, to get your daily fix. Over the next week, we’ve got two great classes coming up – a nail art tutorial with Lauren Michelle Pires, and a pasta making class with Francesco Mazzei and Grana Padano. 

  • Writers HQ Seven Ideas in Seven Days Creative Writing Course

    Let’s get real a second: that 50 chapter novel you planned to write during lockdown just isn’t going to happen, is it? If you want to get writing, but aren’t really sure where to start, why not sign up to the Seven Ideas in Seven Days creative writing course from Writers HQ, which will help you to come up with ideas and put a story outline in place. 

  • Biscuiteers Ice-olation Challenges

    Give your lockdown baking sessions a bit of an edge by taking part in the Biscuiteers Ice-olation challenges. Each of the lessons guides you through a different stage of the baking process, from making the all-important biscuit dough to using flood icing to decorate.  

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