Free Lectures in London

May 05, 2016

When it comes to hiring a speaker, many are surprised at the costs involved. If you want a celebrity or famous face to talk at your event then the price can run into the tens of thousands. Aside from a YouTube video or two though, you aren’t entirely sure what you may be getting even when you have spent £1,000 on hiring a motivational speaker. If only there was a way to ‘try before you buy’ when looking for guest speakers for hire. Well you’re in luck! Many institutions and education establishments around London offer free speaker lectures and we’ve outlined some of the best below. Many do not require a ticket either, just turn up and enjoy if anything on their current calendar takes your fancy.

Royal Society

The Royal Society lectures focus on science and combine free lectures which are open to the public as well as focused meetings for scientists. So whether or not you still don a lab coat from time to time or not, there is sure to be at least one event that is perfect for you (if you like science, that is). Current free speaking engagements in the calendar include ‘Who cares about the history of science?’ and ‘Is mental health in our genes?’ Well worth investigating further! We are particularly taken by the intriguingly titled, ‘Black holes, alien life and the multiverse – an update’.

London School of Economics

The London School of Economics, more widely known as LSE, has entertained guest speakers from far and wide and often has a variety of lectures on a huge number of topics each week. We particularly enjoyed a lecture on the class system in the UK earlier this week, whilst other members of the public were learning about ISIS and the minds of criminals. Former guest lecturers at the LSE Public Events programme include David Cameron, Bill Gates and Nelson Mandela, whilst current speakers in the calendar include Gordon Brown, Jeremy Corbyn and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Somalia.

University College London

Another university more widely known by their acronym, UCL, lectures are not only delivered regularly throughout weekday evenings but also take place for free during your lunch hour. So if you happen to be close by the UCL campus near Euston, then you can enjoy a huge variety of guest speakers talking about a variety of topics. Unfortunately the lunch hour lectures take a break during the summer, but you can still enjoy talks in the evening, which include ‘Archaeology and Espionage in World War One’.

Gresham College

Found in 1597, Gresham College has been providing free lectures to the public for over 400 years and is currently hosting over 140 free talks each year. Formed under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, the talks are divided into a number of different subjects and are easily searchable using the intuitive website. Upcoming lectures include a dissection of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, the fascinatingly titled ‘Five Catastrophes that Made London’ (will the beer flood feature?) and ‘Development, Developers and the Water Environment’. The Gresham College was also responsible for the founding of the Royal Society above so you can rest assured that these free lectures will be brilliant.

British Academy

The British Academy provide free talks, panel discussions and debates as well as other public events which focus on humanities and social sciences. As such, the talks include looks at historical figures and people of influence that you may or may not have heard about. Upcoming lectures include topics which cover poetry, modern languages and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Do note that there is a small fee for a couple of events so do check in advance!

National Archives

The National Archives provide a variety of events and talks – few of which are paid – that tend to run around anniversaries of key moments in history. It’s not all directly about conflicts either, with Sarah Kogan talking about her art and its themes and an upcoming discussion on 100 years of the Women’s Institute. Naturally, many discussions about war so if that’s your thing, then it’s best to check out the website for speeches on a particular topic.

Naturally, there are a whole host of museums and libraries that also offer free talks in and around London, but we couldn’t fit them all in here! We also recommend a look at the website of the Wellcome Collection.

Once you've found the exact style of lecture or public speaker you enjoy, then feel free to check out our speakers for hire page or enquire using the contact details below. 

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