If you’ve booked a trip to London, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to see and do, converting your cash to British Pounds and starting to pack.
Though one of the best bits is learning a little, or fully immersing yourself in the culture of your new surroundings. You’ve no doubt seen the sights of London in your favourite films or TV shows, but have you ever listened to a London podcast? If not, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite ones that will give you a unique insight into life in the capital, covering a whole host of topics from a variety of voices.
Also, if you’ve yet to book your accommodation, book early to take advantage of London Hotels Special Offers, too.
A great place to start is this simply and aptly-named podcast in the form of a hysterical improv comedy that shares the story of ‘a referendum that brings back capital punishment with a 51% majority’, and it showcases the civil servants who have to make it happen. Though it’s a few years old, this one has never felt more relevant and is a light-hearted look at the country’s current political state.
This new podcast hosted by the London-based model and activist Adwoa Aboah has been dubbed as ‘your regular source of fierce female chat’ with London ladies and beyond. Guests so far have included author Lydia Davies, footballer Nadia Nadim and one of Aboah’s close personal friends. If you’re heading on a girl’s trip, this is the perfect listen before indulging in the Best Afternoon Tea in London.
The Guardian UK: Politics Weekly
If you’d like to learn more about the real side of British politics, this is a great choice. Here, the Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart and the paper’s political correspondent Jessica Elgot are joined each week by commentators, experts and politicians to discuss the biggest stories in politics from the past seven days.
The magazine Monocle has a number of great podcasts, but this one is our particular favourite as it showcases a quirky side to London and the rest of the UK, with a little help from its dynamic presenter. A recent episode involved travelling to Kent to interview a woman whose life revolves around searching for notes within bottles washed up on the shore to try to work out why people do so. Quirky indeed!
For those who are fans of the extremely popular American podcast, The Moth, (based around people revealing stories about themselves in front of people, on stage) you’ll be pleased to know there is a British version. It’s called Spark London, and it follows the same premise in a similar set up. The stories told on stage have to be factual, and need to be under five minutes long.
For fans of theatre, this is definitely the choice for you. Listening to The Attic for access to all of the news, reviews and interviews straight from the West End. As well as that, the presenters also share news of fun theatre-related events across the capital to stay up to date with. Staying at the Chilworth is ideal if you’re looking to be close to great theatres, too.
Rinse FM Podcast
London has a vastly diverse music scene, and we couldn’t compile a list without including a musical podcast on here. The capital’s favourite pirate radio station Rinse FM is now available in podcast format. In stark contrast to the standardised radio landscape in the country, Rinse FM look to champion the various needs of young people in London, and those passionate about youth-orientated music culture. They showcase genres including Dubstep, UK Funky and Grime, while interacting with and influencing those scenes and more.
Looking to make your London holiday an active one? Here’s one of the capital’s top walking podcasts. London’s Peaks sees hosts Rick Pearson and Isaac Williams walk to the highest points of the 12 inner-city London boroughs with a mix of astonishing, eclectic people who call them home, offering a unique perspective of the city along the way.
Fierce City: A London History Podcast
History buffs, with Fierce City, you’re guaranteed to discover something about the city’s history you didn’t already know. This is a monthly podcast on the people, power struggles, and pomp and circumstance of London’s 2000-year story, brought to you by presenters Satu and PJ.
If you prefer your history haunted, this is the one for you. London is great for those who love all things spooky, as there are deep dark secrets lurking in every corner. Each fortnight this podcast looks to unearth those, one terrifying (and true) tale at a time.
Keen interest in architecture? This podcast from the London Festival of Architecture highlights the people behind city’s most iconic buildings – it’s a series of conversations with some of architecture’s leading lights. These are the people shaping our cities day in day out, who are all incredibly respected within the architectural profession, yet somehow their modest profile often contradicts the impact they have on the world around us.
Wimbledon – Join the Story
Calling all sports fans! Five stories from Wimbledon are retold here, with access and insight from those who witnessed them and players impacted by them today. Andy Murray’s 2016 men’s singles victory is recited in the context of the Brexit vote, but most episodes reach much further back into history. There’s the synchronicity of Germans Boris Becker and Stefi Graf’s 1989 wins coming as the Berlin Wall began to crumble, and an honour to the success of Althea Gibson, the first black woman to win the title back in 1957, who’s reminisced by her doubles partner Angela Buxton and five-time women’s singles champion, Venus Williams.
The Offside Rule
Another sports one, and this time of course about the beautiful game, which you can’t escape in the UK. This one in particular highlights women in football, and the Women’s World Cup – and it provides listeners with some much-needed education on the two. Stars such as Hayley McQueen, Kait Borsay and Lynsey Hooper share daily stories, and their extensive back catalog of interviews with people such as Phil Neville, Casey Stoney and Martin Tyler is well worth a listen too.