You might not be able to travel to many places at the moment, but there is somewhere you can easily dive into: the world of history podcasts.
According to Acast’s UK content director, Sophie Herdman, history shows are some of the platform’s most popular offerings.
“History is such a rich and interesting area in podcasting as it naturally allows for plenty of great storytelling. At Acast our history podcasts are among some of our most popular shows — from the likes of established historians such as Dan Snow and many more,” she told the Standard.
Here are some of our favourite history podcasts to immerse yourself in. From the tales of Leeds Castle to the darker side of history, there’s a whole lot to keep you occupied.
Best history podcasts to download now
Dan Snow’s History Hit
Dan Snow’s history podcast is top of the list for history shows. Learn more about some of the most iconic and influential moments in the world’s past.
Episodes cover events such as the Peterloo Massacre in 1800s Manchester, and the Hiroshima attacks with one of the few remaining survivors who speaks English, Hirata San.
Driving the Green Book
You watched Mahershala Ali’s Oscar-winning performance in Green Book but do you really understand what it was like for Black Americans to travel around the southern states during the time of Jim Crow and segregation? Broadcaster Alvin Hall’s new podcast sees him hit the road with activist and social justice trainer Janée Woods Weber to explore what it was really like to use the historic travel guide.
In this living history podcast, Hall interviews former Motown artists, local activists and historians about their personal memories of segregation.
“It was impossible not to see the connection between the interviewee’s recollections and personal stories about travelling during the time the Green Book was published and widely reported horrific events that African Americans experience on the streets and highways across the US today. The question kept coming up in my mind: Why haven’t these things changed? Why can’t these things change? Where in the American psyche or soul is the resistance to such change?” said Hall.
Listen to Driving the Green Book on Apple Podcasts from September 15
Leeds Castle History Highlights
Last year, the 900-year-old Leeds Castle launched its first podcast to celebrate its anniversary. As part of the celebrations, the Kent-based castle and enlisted the help of actor Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet and Downton Abbey) to talk listeners through the castle’s place in English history.
Episodes will cover Leeds Castle under siege, Henry VII at the Field of Cloth, to the roaring 20s when Gatsby-style parties took over the castle.
Lore regularly tops the charts for the best history podcast and it’s no wonder. Each episode looks at the darker side of history so it’s almost a true-crime podcast, with a side sharing of mysterious creatures and nightmares.
Recent shows cover the depths of the ocean in Anchored and how your tendency to collect things can lead to dire consequences in The Collection.
Hosted by Dr Vince Houghton, historian and curator at the International Spy Museum, each episode of SpyCast takes you deep into the world of espionage.
You’ll find interviews from ex-spies, intelligence experts and espionage scholars covering everything from security issues in Korea, to the Cold War, and counter-terrorism.
Travels Through Time
If you’re looking for a podcast that will help you escape then Travels Through Time is one to check out. Each week, the show interviews a leading historian or writer and asks them which point in history would they most like to visit.
Recent episodes have seen Professor Simon Hall take a trip through the US in 1960 to DR Rebeca Wragg Sykes going back to Neanderthal times. Whilst listening to their episodes you can also think of the specific moment you’d travel back to, and what it says about you.
The Bowery Boys
Who doesn’t dream of living in New York in the 1920s when dancing was all the rage and gangsters ran the streets? Listening to The Bowery Boys makes you feel like you too are a part of this magical city’s colourful past.
Presented by two New Yorkers, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, explore the treasured history of Brooklyn, or behind the scenes of New York’s celebrated comedy scene.
This BBC World Service podcast is about specific moments in history by the people who were there.
Whether it’s the businessman who opened the first call centre in India in the 1990s to the female publisher who opened a feminist publishing company, Virago Press in 1972 to promote women’s writing, you’re sure to learn something in every episode.