A year of the English Heritage podcast – our top 12 behind-the-scenes episodes

Dan Linstead , 8 April 2020

After broadcasting 52 weekly episodes and attracting nearly 200,000 listens, The English Heritage Podcast has reached its own historic landmark as it celebrates its first birthday.


The IM Content team first launched the podcast for English Heritage in March 2019 to help raise awareness of the charity’s work, sites and collections, drive site visitation and ultimately convert people to membership.

Each episode is centred around an interview with an expert to celebrate the conservation work of the charity, to provide behind-the-scenes insight, or to reveal the stories of their historic sites, the people who lived within their walls, or the historic events that took place at them.

Over the past 12 months, the podcast has covered a diverse array of subjects, from wall painting conservation and fashion history to Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the rise in popularity of mead.

To celebrate the podcast’s first birthday, here are the 12 most popular episodes we have broadcast over the past year:

1/ Victoria and Albert’s birthdays at Osborne

In this launch episode, we marked the bicentenary of V&A (both born in 1819) on a visit to Osborne, the royal couple’s beloved former holiday home on the Isle of Wight.

2/ The story of a real Downton Abbey at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens in South Yorkshire

In which we reveal the real-life upstairs-downstairs tales of a Victorian country house, with English Heritage curator Eleanor Matthews.

3/ The final frontier: what life was like for the Romans on Hadrian’s Wall

Tough, cold but brotherly – we explore legionary life along the 73-mile wall across northern England which provided inspiration for Game of Thrones.

4/ Brave knights and epic fights: The making of a legendary joust

Professional jouster Dominic Sewell drops by to explain how jousting was invented, how it has evolved over time and the skills involved in becoming a modern day hero on horseback for the crowds.

5/ Undressing the history of fashion with Amber Butchart

Fashion historian and BBC TV presenter Amber Butchart talks us through the big developments in English fashion history and reveals the most outrageous fashion statements through the centuries.

6/ Mary Tudor and the succession crisis at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk

Historic properties curator Jeremy Ashbee heads to Framlingham Castle in Suffolk to explain how it came to be at the centre of a succession crisis in 1553, which saw the crowning of England’s first official queen.

7/ Victorian cook Avis Crocombe at Audley End House in Essex

Food historian Annie Gray visits Audley End House and Gardens in Essex to discover the story of Victorian cook Avis Crocombe, whose cookbook was discovered by a relative and donated to English Heritage.

8/ Celebrating Christmas with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Osborne

Discover how the royal couple popularised a new way of seeing in the festive season, and how Prince Albert was instrumental in bringing German traditions to Britain, such as the Christmas tree.

9/ The origins of myths, legends and folklore

What makes a really good myth, legend or folktale? Leading expert Professor Ronald Hutton explores how these stories endure and why there has recently been a resurgence of mythology in popular culture.

10/ How the Victorians invented the great British beach holiday

Learn how many of the things we now associate with a trip to the British seaside (fish and chips, promenades and piers) have their roots in the Victorian summer holiday.

11/ The rise of Mead: Toasting the world’s oldest alcoholic drink

Once the Vikings’ drink of choice, mead now has a new and growing following who are putting a modern twist on the historical classic. We’ll drink to that.

12/ Rescuing England’s largest collection of rare wall paintings

Learn the stories behind these rare and fragile works of art, how much work is going to be involved in their conservation and the work underway to ensure these precious paintings don’t vanish forever.

The English Heritage Podcast is available to subscribe to for free on all major platforms (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher).


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