Main content

7 fascinating history podcasts for curious minds

History has all the best stories and many of them can be heard in these original and enlightening podcasts.

Homeschool History

Horrible Histories’ self-confessed chief nerd, Greg Jenner, presents this fun-packed weekly podcast. In each short episode Greg tackles fascinating topics ranging from the space race, to the Restoration, to Mary, Queen of Scots. As Greg himself says, this is history for anyone, “provided you like bum jokes and silly sound effects”.

Witch Hunt

Why were witch trials allowed to happen? This is the question explored by presenter Susan Morrison and historian Dr Louise Yeoman in Witch Hunt. They examine why 16th-18th Century Scotland was convulsed by such a fear of the devil that it permitted the murder of thousands of its own citizens as punishment for crimes they could not possibly have committed.

Lost at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History houses extraordinary treasures of great historical significance — and Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the Bee Gees’ silver suits and the original Muppets. It's these artifacts from the 20th Century that catch the attention of comedian Aasif Mandvi as he explores the history of American pop culture.

Witness History

This BBC World Service podcast examines past events with help of people who lived through them. Topics are wide and varied, from the kinderstransport, to Tennessee Williams, to previous pandemics, but all tales are personal and poignant.

The Californian Century

Actor Stanley Tucci tells the dramatic story of modern California, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley. Tucci plays a writer whose screenplays chart the lives of ten men and women whose actions tell the story of The Golden State. Dead bodies, disaster and duplicity … and it’s all true.

Dan Snow's History Hit

Dan Snow’s popular podcast is a must for those with even just passing interest in history. Whether they're marking significant anniversaries or analysing how historical figures and events impact today’s news, Dan and guests explore all topics with knowledge and enthusiasm.

Histories of the Unexpected

Everything has a history and in this entertaining podcast Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell investigate the stories behind such random topics as soap, mothers, spies and executions. The team have also published a series of episodes especially for use in homeschooling.

Latest features from BBC Scotland