5 best British history podcasts to download now

Immerse yourself in the gardens of Cliveden. Credit: National Trust Images

As the National Trust launches a podcast series exploring its finest gardens and houses, we delve into the first few episodes and find four more podcasts to bring a bit of British history into your home

Best for: garden history

The National Trust Garden Series

The new National Trust series guides listeners around three gardens to meet staff and volunteers. In the first few episodes, Alan Power, the National Trust’s head gardener at Stourhead, Wiltshire, explores the impressive parterre and Rose Garden at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire. In episode two, he takes listeners round Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. And in episode three, he visits the garden at Mount Stewart, County Down full of exotic plants. Six further podcasts, highlighting the outdoors and art and literature, will be released later in the year.

Download on iTunes

Listen on Soundcloud

Best for: art lovers

The Art of the Monarchy

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz explores 1,000 years of the British monarchy through their art collections. Gompertz travels from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight to Balmoral in Scotland, via Buckingham Palace and the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, speaking to historians, academics and curators at the Royal Collection. This BBC Radio 4 series was recorded in 2012, but is available indefinitely.

Download from BBC iPlayer

Best for: history lovers

Talks and Lectures by Historic Royal Palaces

Learn how Anne Boleyn’s musical talent influenced her role in court and discover what Victorians really liked to eat and drink in this series of podcasts produced by Historic Royal Palaces. HRP looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.

Listen and download on iTunes

Best for gallery lovers

The Royal Academy

It might seem a little strange to have a podcast strictly about art – how can you talk about something you need to see, but if anyone can manage it, the Royal Academy can. The Royal Academy team have produced some fascinating episodes over the past few years exploring their major exhibitions, and engaging big names – including photographer and film-maker David Bailey and illustrator Sir Peter Blake – in conversation.

Listen here

Best for lifelong learners

Oxford University History series

You don’t need to study for a degree to get the benefit of an Oxford education – you could, it might be argued, just download a podcast. The University of Oxford produces series from many of its faculties – from philosophy to history. In the latter, look out for The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII in which Professor Steven Gunn examines the period in impressive detail. You will have to imagine the dreaming spires outside the window. But at least you won’t have to take an exam at the end.

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