Win a free language course with Cactus

Everybody likes something for free, and even better if that something will boost your brain power, improve your job prospects and enhance your holidays! Yes, it’s a language course – a 10-week evening course, in any language you choose and in any of our 19 locations across the UK.

This is a fantastic opportunity to improve your skills in an existing language or try something completely new – the choice is yours!

How to win a free language course with Cactus

To be in with a chance of winning one of our popular evening courses, simply sign up here by 30th September 2015.

The winner will be picked and contacted on 1st October and should choose their language course by 3rd October, to start in October 2015 or January 2016.

Language course locations

Cactus offers evening courses in 10 locations across London and other UK locations including Manchester, Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield. Win a free language course in the location closest to you!

If you have a language learning or language teaching query, please visit our blog or get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter. Alternatively, feel free to contact us here or call to speak to one of our advisors on  00 44 (0) 1273 830 960.

Learn a Language Your Way Video

Learn a language with the experts

Cactus is a leader in language learning, with many years’ experience designing and implementing language courses for all needs and interests. We know that different people learn in different ways, and we can help you to learn a language your way. Discover all the options with our Learn a Language Your Way Video.

Learn a Language Your Way Video

Watch > Learn a Language Your Way Video

Your language learning options

Whether you are looking for a 10-week evening language course to fit into your working week, a private language course via Skype or face-to-face, a TEFL course to enable you to teach English the world over, or a language course abroad where you can truly immerse yourself in the language and culture, Cactus has the language learning solutions you need.




If you have a language learning or language teaching query, please visit our blog or get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter. Alternatively, feel free to contact us here or call to speak to one of our advisors on  00 44 (0) 1273 830 960.


FREE Language Learning Webinar – Fri 3rd July

Join the Journey: Learn a language with Cactus!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to take a language course, now is your chance to find out – from the comfort of your home or office!

Date: Wednesday 3rd July

Time: 1.00pm – 1.30pm BST

Registration: Google Hangouts

Cactus is hosting a free half-hour webinar via Google Hangouts to explain what a language course is all about. Answering common questions about our courses, listed below, this short webinar tells you everything you need to know about our evening courses, with the chance to ask your own questions in a Q&A session at the end.

  1. Who takes a language course?
  2. So I’ve booked my course. What happens next?
  3. What level am I?
  4. Who is my teacher?
  5. What will I learn on my course?
  6. What are the classes like?
  7. What progress will I make?
  8. What support will I get?
  9. Why should I book with Cactus?
  10. What happens at the end of the course?
  11. What other options are there for learning a language?

Whether you are interested in learning a language to improve your career prospects, travel the world or chat to foreign in-laws, an evening course will prepare you for any situation. You can take one course on its own or progress through the levels to achieve greater fluency in your chosen language.

Join us with no obligations – it’s all free. You’ll just get great advice and information on language learning and language courses. Join the webinar and you will also receive an exclusive discount off our evening language courses!

To register, sign up here via Google Hangouts.

Cactus offers 10-week evening courses in 15 locations and 21 languages across London and the UK. Courses are available at all levels and start in July, October, January and April.

Cactus Gift Vouchers – The Perfect Present

Stuck for present ideas? For a gift that’s original, lasting and memorable, Cactus gift vouchers are the answer – and it’s perfect for a male or female of any age!

You can purchase gift vouchers for family and friends for use towards any Cactus product, such as an evening language course, a language holiday overseas, a TEFL course or private tuition.

Cactus gift vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue and you will be sent a receipt along with an e-voucher (PDF). You may also request a paper voucher by post. Please let us know if your voucher is a surprise gift and we’ll send the confirmation to you rather than the lucky recipient! You can order your Cactus gift vouchers online, along with a personalised message card which will be delivered by email to the recipient of your gift. These gift vouchers are an original present for anyone who loves to travel and learn more about new cultures and new places.


Alternatively, call us on 01273 830 960 and we will process your order over the phone.

Learning a language is a gift that will last a lifetime; it inspires, boosts confidence and above all feels good.


A week in Barcelona: a vibrant city in which to soak up the Spanish language and culture

Executive PA at Cactus, Cecilia Harvey, tells us about her week in Barcelona enjoying the Mediterranean sunshine and indulging in local culinary delights…all whilst attending a local language school.

Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I boarded the train headed for Gatwick airport. Drizzle on the windows made me smile, knowing I was heading for a 28 degree heat.  Since the birth of my children, I had never been away by myself, let alone do something “just for me”. Having not ever been to Barcelona either, I could hardly contain my excitement.

What a luxury to be in the airport alone, to sit and have a coffee and read my Lonely Planet guide. I carefully planned my itinerary for each day, knowing which sites I definitely wanted to see. I also knew that Friday was a holiday in Spain and there would be no classes that day. For that day, beach!

As I left behind the storm that was brewing in the south east, and that had been announced weeks before, I heard people talking on the plane about advice they left to their friends and families about “battening down the hatches”…. The plane did go through some very strong turbulence, and with my stomach in my throat, I just closed my eyes and couldn’t stop smiling.

Landing in Barcelona in the heat was brilliant, my skin immediately thirsty for that Vitamin D. I was in no rush, but knew exactly where I was headed. The Aerobus is fantastic; it leaves from both Terminals at Barcelona’s El Prat airport and takes you right to the centre of the city. I just soaked up the sites as the very easy 30 minute journey left me standing in the beautiful and buzzing Plaça de Catalunya. As I walked down toward my apartment, I purposely chose a quiet street (well, quiet doesn’t really exist in central Barcelona!) but not down one of the main ones, let’s say, as I wanted to leave the world famous “La Rambla” for when I had time to soak up everything around me.

Settling into my flat for the week

I got to my address, and a very sweet girl called Lisa from the school, International House, was there to greet me. She gave me the keys to my room, detailed some basic rules and instructions and left.  Wow…I had a real flashback to my student apartment at Uni. Very well equipped, the apartment gave onto a very noisy and echoey set of courtyards, all connected like a maze. My room was basic but incredibly clean. All I needed really, as I wasn’t planning on spending much time in it anyway!

I went out looking for somewhere to buy some basic essentials for breakfast the following day, but to no avail, as it was by then quite late on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, I stumbled across the wonderful “Cuines de Santa Caterina” – a well know eatery at the edges of a wonderful market, the Mercado de Santa Caterina. Unsure if I was hungry yet, I walked around, passed the Cathedral and through some streets, all buzzing with tourists and residents alike, going about their business.

Back at the flat, I was unpacking my case and heard the front door…it was Uli, one of my flatmates! From Bremen, Uli had a really interesting background.  I then met Katja, a Danish girl who was to be my other flat mate, although I didn’t see her very much at all. Uli and I chatted about our children and about why and how we were there. After deciding we were both hungry, we decided to go and grab something to eat. He had also arrived that day and like me, not managed to find anywhere to get any food. We went to the Cuines de Santa Caterina and I indulged in a local beer, grilled squid and fried artichoke hearts. What a culinary delight that was!

The following morning I turned up at International House, just 5 minutes round the corner from the flat having passed the visually stunning Palau de Música Catalana. I didn’t have opportunity then to spend more time, feasting my eyes on the intricate detail in the décor of the building….but it was on my list, so I knew I would return.

First day at the language school

At the school, all the new students were welcomed and had to take both written and oral tests after which we were all allocated our classes and teachers. In between tests, we were all sent upstairs for 20 mins to the school café, run by a woman whom I can only describe as a “force of nature”. The orders came in, thick and fast, both from us newbies and all the other students who by that time were taking their morning break. I sat on the outside terrace in full sun with my espresso. Fabulous!

My class was run by Marco, a born and bred Catalan guy who made it even more interesting, as he knew and understood the differences and could explain them to us as well as ensure we knew which was Castellano and which was Catalán. There were only five of us in the class which was fantastic, and I knew I would be challenged mentally as not only was the course labelled “intensive” but my level was Upper Intermediate III and my classmates had already been there for 2 or more weeks.  Most of the days following that, I came out of the school, my head buzzing and hurting from the bombardment of information. The verbs really challenged me as they differ so much from Italian ones (I am half Italian) and there are so many more tenses to remember and so many more subtleties. We had a lot of course work which most days I decided to do immediately after school, so I could then just relax and enjoy the free afternoons and evening. This didn’t always go to plan, as the Mercado de Santa Caterina lured me in on my second day and I found myself eating tapas in the Cuines again….

Excursions & wanderings…

The school organised some excursions which on a couple of occasions I joined. The first to the Barrio de Gracia, and the other to the museum of Catalan History. Both incredibly worthwhile going to with local people as your guide as they knew a lot more than any written guide will illustrate. The Barrio de Gracia is very trendy and has a multitude of small restaurants and cafés of different cuisines and wonderful little artisanal shops which are gems. My favourite site there was the Casa Vicens – architecturally mesmerizing. The residents of Gracia are very proud to be “from Gracia” and they have various parties and celebrations, which are different in each street! The museum of Catalan History was very interesting. Created with a multitude of interactive features, it was designed with all ages in mind. Incredibly interesting actually for a foreigner to see just how much Barcelona has contributed to many types of trades which not only still exist in Barcelona and to a wider extent, Spain, but how the city was a pioneer in a lot of them.

I achieved so much in six days: I walked down the Rambla, just with the intent of subjecting my ears to the local language and setting my brain into “Spanish mode” – and it worked. I shopped in the famous Mercado de la Boqueria, where my Lonely Planet didn’t fail me: an explosion of colours, sounds and smells, it became my daily favourite spot to be. I marvelled at Gaudi’s creations in all shapes and sizes; I met some lovely people and ate delicious food in tapas bars in little plaças where you know only the locals go. I walked along the beach and soaked up the rays and the warmth. I sat on grass verges by the marina and listened to a band playing and people dancing to the captivating rhythms and watched street dancers and breakdancers outside the Cathedral.

This experience has enriched me in so many ways. First and foremost I have really progressed in my Spanish and plan to keep it up with a Cactus Skype course. Secondly I have seen some amazing places, art, museums and eaten delicious local dishes and met interesting and friendly people. Last but not least, I visited a city which was welcoming and alive and was blessed to go to a well organised school where the staff was extremely competent and friendly. I will be going back with my family in the not too distant future.

Cecilia took a 1-week General Spanish language course of 20 lessons in Barcelona. Cactus offers Spanish courses in many other locations across Spain and Latin America. Those wishing to learn the basics or brush up before they go can also take a Spanish evening course in the UK or the US.

Italian course in Rome: a first-hand account

Cactus Office Manager Claudia Ohde tells us why Italy’s historic capital was the perfect place for her Italian course…

I just came back from a one-week language holiday in Rome (from 31 degrees there to 13 degrees in Brighton!). Not only was the weather fantastic (it was hot but there was always a refreshing breeze – perfect summer weather in my eyes) but so was my language course! Each morning seemed to pass in no time which was mainly due to our fabulous teacher Marina who made learning fun and easy. She managed to keep the entire class in Italian at all times, including the breaks she spent with us on the terrace. Quite an achievement in a beginner level 2 class and despite the cheeky attempts of some students to sneak some English in.

The classroom activities included lots of group work with changing partners, playing memory to broaden our vocabulary, well planned role-play and even the creation of a short rap song! Would you have advertised the course like this to me beforehand I might have chickened out (I’m not the role play type!), but Marina managed to keep everyone engaged and motivated at all times and I really enjoyed myself.

The class was a great mixture of 12 people from 11 different countries – France, Sweden, Germany, Libya, USA, Venezuela, Japan, Korea, China, Netherlands and Russia. The school was in a very central location close to the main station and the building had everything a good school needs: good sized class rooms with interactive whiteboards, air conditioning, wifi for the students and a nice cafeteria with inexpensive food (home-made) and drinks. Staff were very welcoming and friendly and everything was very well organised. They also offer a very interesting programme of after-school activities. I particularly enjoyed a seminar about Italian wines which was held by one of the teachers and was very informative and easy to understand. It of course included a little wine testing and some nibbles (my favourite Taralli) too!

The rest of the time I enjoyed walking through Rome with its unique mixture of ancient historic sights that pop up between rather modern buildings just everywhere! I particularly enjoyed walking around in Trastevere, a quiet old town area shielded from noisy traffic and the 10,000 Harley Davidsons bikers that populated Rome that weekend to celebrate their 110th anniversary and to get their blessing from the Pope.

Cactus offers Italian courses in Rome and in many other locations across Italy. Italian evening and part time courses are also available in the UK and the US.

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.