Historical Podcasts you might like

All the podcasts on this page in my humble opinion are well worth listening to. And I should say that does NOT mean that if they are not here they are not worth listening to! If you see what I mean. Anyway, I have however divi’d them up a bit now that there are a lot of them.



Pax Britannica: The Rise of a Global Empire by Sam Hume

The British Empire is increasingly conflicted history of course and increasingly becoming a political and cultural football. Sp you need a reliable and trustworthy friend to take you through it. Sam is just such a person – an academic, professional historian with all the commitment to objectivity and understanding that implies. He’s also a wordsmith, so you will enjoy his style and turn of phrase. He does start from the very beginning it has to be said, with Elizabethan Ireland. but it;s a great period anyway.

Empire podcast by Anita Anand & William Dalyrmple

I came to this expecting to hate it, for slightly petty reasons; I’d seen a couple of throwaway comments by Dalyrmple about the reformation which were so silly as to make me distrust his commitment to accuracy. But it’s very much won me other; both are very good – Anand is a journalist, presenter and author, Dalrymple written many books on India. It’s a bit clunky to begin with, but then it gets going and the pair of them have great knowledge, work brilliantly together and the content is very good indeed.

1666 and All That by Miranda Malins and Paul Lay

A podcast about the frankly wildly fascinating 17th Century in the British Isles and Ireland. Miranmda is a historical novelist and very articulate; Paul is the editor of a History magazine and history author to boot. So both know their stuff. It’s just started at the time of writing, so they are just finding their feet a bit in terms of interaction, but the content is really good and it’s definitely worth sticking with.

Age of Victoria by Christopher Fernandez Packham

Christopher has a great voice for podcasts, and again a great passion for his subject. Much of what he podcasts about is cultural – Gin culture for example – as well as political and economic. Plus he’s just getting onto empire at the time of writing, which will of course be interesting!

Rex Factor

It’s a different approach and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy it. It’s a two-blokes-in-a-pub, light-hearted format marking all England’s monarchs and deciding if they have the Rex Factor or not. But actually the work behind it is impressive. Also, the podcast predates mone, and so has been with me all the way through, like an old pair of slippers.

The British History Podcast by Jamie Jeffers

Slightly irritatingly, Jamie has essentially cornered the market for British history. People love his style, his humour, and his passion for the subject. He’s built great communities around the podcast too, so you can join loads of other people. Definitely worth trying out, if you haven’t done so already.  

The History of English by Kevin Stroud

The story of the development of the English language is fascinating – like any language I guess, but hey it’s my language. So I was delighted to find Kevin’s new podcast. It’s got loads of depth, and is much broader than just English, some of the episodes are pure genius. Also I met him a few years ago and had a bite to eat, and he’s a very nice bloke. .

Magazine & General 

Rest is History by Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook

This has been a runaway success and you can understand why. Both are very good, published historians, and Tom in particular has a very wide range of expertise. Their output is extraordinarily vast and varied, they get on well together so the episodes flow really well, and the content is great. Their approach to history is of a traditional hue, but objective.

The History of European Theatre Podcast by Philip Rowe

I have learned so much from this podcast, and it’s really well told. Philip clearly loves his subject and was also kind enough to do a guest episode on the History of Eng;land, so he must be good. if the suvhect interests you, definitely worth checking out

BBC – In our Time

I had avoided putting on the BBC series, just on the basis that I’m sure everyone knows them anyway. But I supposed I should put them up for completeness. So this one is my favourite; Melvyn Bragg the presenter has become something of a national institution in the UK and he is very good. Because it’s the BBC, it means that the contributors are excellent, the subjects great, and of course the production top notch. So it should be a first port of call.

BBC – Great Lives

The same applies to this really – Matthew Paris is also an excellent presenter. The Lives they pick are a bit eclectic, so you have to pick and choose, but when they fall in an area you are interested in, they are superb.

BBC History Magazine

The podcast is a very good range – a series of interviews with people, usually the authors of articles in the magazine. The articles are thought provoking is the thing – and gives you a subject to take forward, or gives a different perspective, and the interviewees are very expert. Honestly, the interviewing and format isn’t wildly good, but you can cherry pick.

Revolutions by Mike Duncan

I was slightly conflicted when this came out, and am getting more so. I really enjoyed THOR, and Revolutions is equally good; It’s pretty thorough, but as ever Mike’s very good at finding the stporyline and picking what’s interesting, without getting bogged down. So that’s great, yes? Well yes and no. It’s one of my favourite periods, and I have no idea how I am going to improve on the way Mike’s done it. Anyway, it’s really good, and is now a staple for me, though now coming to an end.

When Diplomacy Fails by Zack Twambley. 

Zack did a guest appearance, with a great podcast on Bannockburn, so you’ll know him anyway. It’s a great idea for a podcast, and allows him to pick all the most dramatic conflicts in world history; but it’s much more than just the wars themselves. Zack mixes it up a bit as well, with some conversational episodes. The style is very upbeat and conversational.

The Maritime History podcast by Brandon Huebner

I do love boats and stuff, and so was very excited when I saw this podcast. It then took me absolutely ages to get round to listening to it, but when I did it is a joy and a delight; a soft spoken host, who speaks with great clarity and authority; and a nice website which made me jealous. Very much worth a try.


The History of Rome by Mike Duncan

Like many others,  I love this ‘award winning’ podcast. Mike’s delivery is dry and witty, pitched at the perfect level  for the amater, enthusiastic, ever-so-slightly geeky historian.  I listened to this for a few months then though maybe I could copy/rip off/plagiarise/be inspired and do my own thing along the lines. And the rest is history … podcasting . . .

The Egyptian History Podcast by Dominic Perry

I was so pleased to have found this – since THOR it’s seemed to me that there are two obvious candidates for podcasts – Ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. And so here’s one of them – and it is really good. Dominic Perry clearly knows his stuff, he speaks really well, there’s some personality that comes through – so basically I am very confident this will be in my shortish list of ‘I-must- listen-to-these-if-none-others’ list. Really good.

The Ancient World by Scott C

Now this is a really good one; a survey of the ancient world, which in this idiom means from the earliest civilisations to about 500BC. Apparently it’s going to be done in 15 episodes, so that’s an impressive coverage! The pace is really good, Scott’s reading is clear and engaging. The content though is the real thing about this podcast; it’s not stuff I know much about so it’s really fascinating. Give it a go, it’s excellent.

The History of Byzantium by Robin Pierson

Robin Pierson bravely took up the challenge of carrying on where the History of Rome left off. As soon as you hear Robin’s delivery you feel in the hands of a professional, with a superbly professional and clear delivery.  I’ve just listened to some excellent scene setting episodes about the city of Constantinople which were fascinating.

The History of Witchcraft by Sam Hume

This is a great topic, and Sam does a great job of using sources to add reality, and fortunately includes critical evidence such as Monty Python sketches. It takes a cultural perspective as well, to explain what lay behind the growth of Witchcraft.

Something different

The Romance of 3 Kingdoms Podcast by John Zhu

A wonderfully narrated podcast, with dry wit mixed with love of the subject, cl;early a passion from an early age. Its a retelling of an ancient historical text, full of stratagems and battles and under hand dealings to gain power and glory, A really good listen, though you might miss the odd name here and there!

The History of Philosophy (without any gaps)

There are some ambitious podcast projects out there and no mistake – but I think this one has got to be the winner. We got to episode 53, and just got past Aristotle… I have to admit that I found the first 2 or 3 a bit slow, but after Heraclitus I really found myself enjoying it. The style is definitely academic, but engaging and constantly witty and relaxed. He gets some other people to contribute as well, so there’s a nice variety. But you’ve got to be really interested in philosophy!



36 thoughts on “Historical Podcasts you might like

  1. Thank you very much for your invaluable contribution. Your blog as well as your podcasts are marvellous!

  2. Hi David
    Can I add two more recommendations for this page. 1st of all The China History Podcast by Laszio Montgomery and the 2nd which I’m surpised you having put there is In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg from BBC Radio 4 (which is a combination of history, science, relgion, Culture, Philosophy and probably other things) but history comes up a lot and the is a archive for history called called In Our Time: History. Hope you and my other history of england fans like my personal recommendadations. I also think The History Of World War II is really good.

  3. Hi Ben
    Thanks for the recommendations; I’ll try the history of china one – a subject I’d be interested in, though I’d guess makes doing the history of England look like slacking! I have listened to the In our Time one… and I agree it’s OK, but consciously decided not to put up here. Of course it is really good, and they get authoritative contributors, and I like Melvyn – but I find it a bit dry, a bit Radio 4. So I only pick up the odd one here and there now when I’m particularly interested in the subject.
    The one I’ve started to listen to now is the History of Philosophy – the first 2 or 3 were hard work, but once he gets into Heraclitus it get’s really good. Definitely worth a try.

  4. If I may suggest another: check out Open Yale (Yale University) as they have an excellent free podcast history course (about 20+ hours long) on the History of Tudor England, covering off from Henry VII through to Charles II.

  5. Hi David
    I am a recent discoverer of your “History of England” podcasts and just can’t get enough of them!! They are particularly enjoyable because of the humour you bring to them – the people become credibly human rather than simply names from the past! I am especially interested as many of them are my ancestors. Thank you!!

  6. I also enjoyed “Norman Centuries” and”12 Byzantine Rulers” by Lars Brownworth and the the “British History Podcast” by Jamie Jeffers.
    I’d like to thank you for listing these resources. I love listening to your podcast though once I caught up I find that it works better for me in clumps. So I let a few accumulate then listen to the last from the the last clump and immerse myself (otherwise I’ll forget who’s who). Then I can be seen on my walks with headphones on laughing with abandon.
    I think I’ll eventually know more about your long history that our short one, since most American history podcasts emphasize the 1) colonial days, 2) revolution, 3) Civil War and 4) WWII. unless I’m missing something…

  7. Don’t forget the History Books Review podcasts by Colin Saunders. He is working through Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and does it so you think you have read it.

  8. Thanks so much for suggesting these. I’ve just gotten into Ray Harris’ The History of World War II podcast – I hadn’t come across that one yet. I’d just finished listening to the Modern Scholar audio book on World War I (and finally learned how to pronounce Ypres – I’m a Yank and had only seen it written before – and was looking for something similar on WWII.

  9. There is a relatively new podcast on the scene which is 5 episodes (and a introduction episode) in. It’s called History of the Crusades by Sharyn Eastaugh. I’m still warming to it but so far it’s good.

  10. No Dan Carlin? Hardcore History is the best history podcast.
    He made an EPIC Fall of the Roman Republic Series clocking in at about 12 hours long. Not the most frequent podcast, which is OK with me because I squee with joy when it comes and gives me time to listen to other stuff.

  11. Ok, Dan Carlin. I did listen to an episode (something Rome-like I think) but his style wasn’t quite for me. So take this as a full retraction, shamed by your email I have been listening to the Ghenghis Khan episodes – which are excellent. So I will update at some point…

  12. The (quite frankly adorable) married couple who do the “The Civil War (1861-1865” podcast also have another: ‘The Life & Legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte’.
    I was surprised by how much I like it, even though (it being my personal favorite era) I know much of the information already.
    I’ve only gotten up to the tenth or so episode, so not past the French Revolution. My only concern is a few of the history books they’ve been using are the Nappy-bashing sort, but it hasn’t really shown so far.
    Oddly, it’s not appearing on itunes just now, though the thirty-somethingth episode showed in my subscription feed. Hmm. Anyway, if you like their other, try this.

  13. I love your work! Thank you so much to you and your family for sharing so much of your time!

  14. Some very good recomendations here, agree that the genghis khan series by dan carlin was great! Question, does anyone know of a good podcast (series) on the scientific revolution (i.e not just the enlightenment)? Thanks!

  15. The History of England is the best podcast from a man in a shed. What happened to Historyzine by Jim Mowatt? his War of the Spanish Succession was very good. You might look at The British History podcast by Jamie Jeffers. Do not be deceived by Rex Factor, it is a casual approach but loaded with information. History of Crusades a winner too.

  16. I’m enraptured with ‘In Our Time’, listening to it on the hourly journey by bike to work in the morning and then again home in the dark. This is just the ticket; thank you for compiling and recommending these.

  17. Thought i would throw my hat into the ring regarding podcasts- in particular Dan Carlin. I see his name has cropped up a few times but no one seems to have comemented recently. Dan Carlin produced 6 episodes entiltled ‘Blueprint for Armageddon’, all about WW1. A number of the episodes are in excess of fours hours, however, if listeners have any interest at all in the subject, I strongly recommend a listen!

  18. What a great collection of podcast, some of which I am familiar with but others that I am not. The Ancient world in 15 episodes? Sounds crzy but I will have to give it a try.

    1. I’m sure you’ll be amused to know that at the time of writing Scott has just completed he 95th episode…none of us podcasters stick to our promises!

  19. Sire.
    Only just chanced upon this incredible podcast epic.. I’d previously downloaded one for the same topic which unfortunately was presented by one of our North American brethren?!
    As ex-pat in Sydney this series, so far as I’m only up to episode 1.5 is making my daily lockdown walks immensely doubly enjoyable..
    The richness of the topic and how youse (sic) deliver it is brilliant..
    So much so that I’ve stopped listening to the Frank Skinner podcast which I’m up to Jan 2012!!
    Please keep up this sterling work

    1. Thank you Gordon! How very kind of you and welcome, I hope you continue to enjoy it. Frank Skinner? Which one? Always looking for good new podcasts…

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