Where to watch lectures in London: our top 10

12th August 2015

Here at thinking bob we love learning new things, and in London we’re lucky to have places to do that on tap! And that’s no more true than in lecture halls across the city, where you can listen to the world’s top experts do what they do best: have interesting discussions on everything from zombies to healthcare.

Here are our top 10 places to watch lectures in London.

1. Conway Hall

Conway Hall lecture
Conway Hall call themselves ‘The landmark of London’s independent intellectual, political and cultural life’ and we have to agree.

What to expect:Lectures, discussions and debates a few times a week on everything from politics to science, Doctor Who to zombies.

We love them so much we made them a thinking bob partner – which means our members get discounts! Check when we’re headed there next on our socials page.

Nearest Tube: Holborn

More information: conwayhall.org.uk

2. The British Museum

British Museum, London

Picture credit: William Warby on Flickr / Creative Commons

The next of our London museum giants to visit for interesting talks and discussion. They’re paid-for, but worth it, and it’s a good excuse to wander round the museum afterwards.

What to expect: Everything you expect from the British Museum – history and culture – with slightly fewer mummified heads.

Nearest Tube: Holborn

More information: britishmuseum.org/whats_on.aspx

3. The Royal Institution

Royal Institution, London

Picture credit: Matt Brown on Flickr

Famous for the Faraday Christmas lecture, the heart of London’s science scene holds regular talks throughout the year as well.

What to expect: Anything science-related. Recent lectures have spanned the science of human error and million-pound spacesuits.

Nearest Tube: Green Park / Piccadilly Circus

More information: rigb.org/whats-on

4. The V&A

Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, The V&A

Attend a lecture at the V&A and you’ll be treated to a couple of hours in the beautiful Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre: a huge domed room overlooked by the likes of Da Vinci, Raphael and Holbein.

What to expect: Discussions and talks on history and culture from some of London’s most renowned experts.

Nearest Tube: South Kensington

More information: vam.ac.uk/whatson

5. Science Museum Lates

Interactive installation at the Science Museum, London

Science Museum Lates are an assortment of adults-only fun, science and learning. We like. Dotted through the evenings’ schedules are lectures and talks relating to the night’s theme. They’re free, but get in early as seats are limited and the nights are very popular.

What to expect: Science. Lots and lots of science.

Nearest Tube: South Kensington

More information: Visit the Lates page – schedules released on the night

6. UCL

University College London, Gower Street, London

Picture credit: Steve Cadman on Flickr / Creative Commons

As a centre for learning, healthcare, museums, archaeology and scientific research, UCL are well-placed to hold regular talks on pretty much anything. Many of their talks are free and they even hold shorter lunch hour lectures that can be watched live or online.

What to expect: Expect the unexpected. Recent talks concerned the dinosaurs of Crystal Palace and the Nepal earthquake.

Nearest Tube: Euston Square / Russell Square

More information: events.ucl.ac.uk/calendar

7. Imperial College London

Imperial College London

Picture credit: Cristiano Betta on Flickr / Creative Commons

The fourth science-based lecture host on our list, Imperial College London is one of the world’s best universities, and they share their excellence with London with lectures every couple of weeks or so.

What to expect: Er, science.

Nearest Tube: South Kensington (for South Kensington Campus) or Paddington (for St Mary’s Campus)

More information: Visit Imperial College London’s website

8. The British Library

British Library debate

Picture credit: Matt S on Flickr / Creative Commons

London’s pillar of literacy is about more than a few old books: they also run regular talks on subjects relating to their exhibitions, plus some other treats thrown in for good measure.

What to expect: Books, history and art. An upcoming talk will welcome Michael Palin on the 40th anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Nearest Tube: King’s Cross / Euston

More information: bl.uk/events

9. Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection

The Wellcome Collection is the place to be for ‘the incurably curious’ as they put it, and their discussions are just as popular. Discussions are held either during normal gallery evenings or during their Friday Late Spectacular.

What to expect: Everything from art to death, lullabies, and artists’ depictions of cholera (those are all actual discussions).

Nearest Tube: Euston / Euston Square

More information: wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/events/all-events

10. Queen Mary University of London

Bart's Pathology Museum, St Batholomew's Hospital, London

Picture credit: Andrea Vail on Flickr / Creative Commons

Another university on our list sharing its not inconsiderable knowledge with the public. Queen Mary lectures cover all sorts of medical curiosities, science and engineering, and they team up with Bart’s Pathology Museum too.

What to expect: Upcoming lectures cover topics like Necrophilia, happiness and referendums. All separate lectures, we might add.

Nearest Tube: Varies depending on the location

More information: qmul.ac.uk/events

Seen something you like, but need people to go with?

London social at thinking bob

Then take some bobbers with you! Our members are always up for some evening geekery and sharing the experience of a lecture is the perfect way to find like-minded new people you’ll click with.

Just grab the details of the lecture you want to attend and – providing you’re a thinking bob member (it’s only £1 to join if you’re not) – then you can suggest it for our calendar and we’ll be in touch!

Written by:

Charlotte Gunnell

London blogger at APeaceOfLondon.com on a mission to find chilled-out, cultured and unusual corners of the city. Lover of Lego, loyal bobber and watcher of the odd historical drama.

Follow me on Twitter @apeaceoflondon

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