Free talks and lectures in London

Big-name speakers and leading thinkers are sharing their wisdom for free in lectures and talks across the capital. Time Out hunts out the best places to hear enlightening ideas on everything - from politics to the meaning of life

  • Free talks and lectures in London

    Free events at the Science Museum's Dana Centre

  • Arts and humanities

    The Ethical Society
    Conway Hall in Red Lion Square has long been the home of free thinking in London, and their programme of lectures and events cover topics such as ‘Do humanists need the concept of evil?’.
    The Ethical Society, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL (7242 8037/ Holborn tube.

    The British Academy
    The British Academy is the national centre for the humanities and social sciences and its evening lectures are all free.
    The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH, (7969 5200/ Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Royal Academy of Arts
    The Royal Academy hosts regular free lunchtime lectures on art-history topics by major scholars in the field.
    Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD (7300 5839/ Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Tate Modern
    Various talks and discussions are offered at the Tate Modern, many are free and if not, you can watch them online. There are also free ten minute collection talks at 1pm on Saturdays and Wednesdays plus free guided tours around the gallery every day. (11am/12pm level 3 and 2pm/3pm level 5).
    Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG (7887 8888/ Southwark tube.

    More: The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Wallace Collection also offer free talks.


    London School of Economics
    Many of the world’s leading statesman - including Bill Clinton - have appeared in the LSE's stellar lecture programme.
    London School of Economics, Houghton St, WC2A 2AE (7955 6043/ Holborn or Temple tube.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society does for science what the British Academy does for the humanities. All events are free, though in some cases pre-registration is necessary. The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AG (7451 2500/ Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Dana Centre

    If you’re over 18, the Science Museum’s Dana Centre offer a lively and innovative programme of events to engage with science and the culture around it. Many events are free, though it’s best to book Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate London, SW7 5HD (7942 4040/ South Kensington tube.Wellcome Collection Make sure you book a spot for the Wellcome Collection’s popular Thursday evening events or if you miss those, keep checking the website for upcoming ‘Packed Lunch’ lectures that start promptly at 1pm.Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE (7611 2222/ Euston tube.


    Gresham CollegeGresham College maintains a roster of professors, most of whom are on three-year secondments from other institutions, and hosts guest lectures on subjects ranging from law to psychiatry.
    Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH (7831 0575/ Holborn tube.

    UCL Lunch Hour Lectures
    UCL’s Lunch Hour Lectures are bite-sized, 40-minute talks given by eminent members of the faculty. These take place in the Darwin Lecture Theatre on Gower Street, and run throughout the year.UCL Lunch Hour Lectures, Darwin Lecture Theatre, Gower St, WC1E 6BT (7679 2000/ Goodge St or Warren St tube.

    More: Birkbeck College and King’s College also puts on free lectures at lunchtime and after work, and don’t forget Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.For more courses and workshops, see Around Town listings.

  • Add your comment to this feature