enough newness on Netflix? Switch the telly off and press
play on one (or all!) of the 22 phenomenally engaging podcasts
below. Between National Geographic scientists taking on Socotra’s
unsolved mysteries, and the real history behind Donna Tartt’s
Secret History (plus everything in between) – we’ve got curiosity
Press play and prepare to be mentally transported by our
Overheard at National Geographic
A recent-ish find, this is the podcast we’re listening to when
we’re after thirty minutes of informative escapism. The premise?
The snippets you might overhear whispered straight from the lips of
fabled explorers up and down the corridors of Nat Geo HQ. Think
stories about the secret lives of sharks, science in Socotra, and
life under the sea with Jacques Cousteau. Co-hosted by National
Geographic editor-at-large Peter Gwin and executive editor of
National Geographic’s History magazine, Amy Briggs, each episode is
an illuminating deep-dive into an obscure topic you’ll think about
long after the closing credits.
The Upgrade by SUITCASE Magazine
Ok, call us out. This is a shameful plug but The Upgrade is the podcast for globally minded
travellers. Unpacking some of SUITCASE’s best bits, The Upgrade
podcast brings a little escapism and travel inspiration to wherever
you’re listening. With season one all wrapped up, we’ve been busy
plotting and recording the second. Tune in as we shift gears on the
conversation around slow travel, spotlight lesser-known
destinations and share the zany new hotels where we’re checking in.
Plus, we’ll be joined by the people changing the way you travel,
including pioneering hoteliers, artisans from around the world,
record-breaking explorers and eco experts.
The Great Women Artists
Created to celebrate and uplift women in the art industry, art
historian Katy Hessel launched her podcast series off the back of
her hugely successful Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists (which is well worth a
follow). For her podcast series, Katy interviews leading female
artists, art lovers and curators, probing their careers and finding
out about the women who inspire them. Follow along for in-depth
discussions around the must-see exhibitions across London
– it’s the millennial’s answer to a gallery audio tour.
Once Upon a Time…at Bennington College
Donna Tartt’s 1992 smash hit, The Secret History, is one of those feverish
page-turners you finish quickly because you simply can’t look up.
In short, it’s a novel with all the ingredients of a cult classic,
think dissatisfied youths, murder and a storied university replete
with rebels. Journalist Lili Anolik takes us back to the decadence
of 1980s Bennington, where it all started for Tartt and her
talented literary cohorts like Brett Easton Ellis (author of
American Psycho) and Jonathan Leathem. Episode by episode, Anolik’s
caramel tones clarify the blurred lines between fact and fiction in
Tarrt’s magnificent tale.
The Business of Fashion
One for the entrepreneurs as well as the front-row fashion
connoisseurs, BoF interviews some of fashion’s highest flying
creatives, explores trending topics such as the booming fashion
resale market and, of course, covers the latest in coveted catwalk
looks. Want to skip straight to the best bits? Start with the
episode with Kim Jones, Artistic Menswear Director at Dior, who
discusses leading Louis Vuitton’s menswear revival along with the
future of streetwear.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Completed the Queer Eye catalogue on Netflix? Move onto this
podcast by positive-thought guru Jonathan Van Ness. Proving he’s
not just a dab hand at a blow-dry, he enlists industry experts to
discuss hard hitting topics ranging from climate change to the US
bail system in his weekly series. The wealth of information relayed
combined with his willingness to explore new topics makes for an
The Pikes Podcast
Annual pilgrimage to the White Isle of Ibiza
on hold? Get your hedonistic hit early with the official podcast
from Pikes, which covers up-and-coming female DJs, Ibiza’s
spiritual history and insights into Seth Troxler’s birthday party
among a diverse topics. All this is mixed with anecdotes from Tony
Pike’s epic antics that are so vivid you’ll feel like you partied
with the legend himself.
You’re Wrong About
Before you scroll down the roll call of episode titles,
squirming and screaming that this is “just another true crime
podcast”, let us preface this with: it’s not. Two journalists
unpick the details of key cases, pivotal moments in politics and
decade-defying scandals debunking the myths reported by the media.
And yes, there’s multiple episodes on the O. J. Simpson trial.
There Goes the Neighbourhood
All of us can relate to crippling city house prices and the
conscious struggle between wanting to live in a flourishing
“reborn” neighbourhood while harbouring the guilt that comes with
seeing local residents losing their homes. Now in its third series,
There Goes the Neighborhood unearths the issue of gentrification in
looks at the integral role that race plays and gives a voice to the
people most affected. Download the series for a fascinating insight
Los Angeles is suffering from an identity crisis.
The FADER Uncovered
Producer Mark Ronson sits down with the impactful music-makers
that have defined the beats of then and now in this addictive
podcast based on famous FADER magazine cover stories. Ronson’s
encyclopedic knowledge of the music industry makes him a magnetic
host, and the witty banter between him and his guests is both
hilarious and illuminating. Pharrell, Big Boi, Kelis, Haim and a
slew of other stars divulge the highs and lows of life on the road,
behind the scenes struggles and the collaborators that keep their
creative spark alive.
Credited with taking our make-up bags from grotty to glowing,
Breaking Beauty reviews the latest hero products, fixes our skin
routines according to the seasons, skin type and Mercury’s position
in the solar system, and interviews some of the industry’s leading
pioneers. Expect conversations with the founder of MAC Cosmetics,
Urban Decay and Michelle Obama’s skin guru.
The Jungle Prince
If you’ve ever set foot in India, the opening moments of this
podcast – which feature the narrator traipsing through thick jungle
to the soundtrack of her own panting breath, followed by the
clamour of rickshaws, trucks and rhesus monkeys – will bring you
straight back to the country. This three-episode series narrated by
the New York Times’s Ellen Barry delves into the bizarre tale of
the self-proclaimed Queen of Oudh, Begum Wilayat Mahal, and her
children, Cyrus and Sakina. The family moved into the waiting room
at a New Delhi train station in the 1970s, replete with servants,
lavish carpets, luggage, and dogs. At its core, this podcast is a
meditation on the deep trauma caused by India’s 1947 partition,
communicated through the story of one family’s mysterious and
ultimately heartbreaking unravelling, to the backdrop of the Delhi
We mainly tune in for the killer 90s references and the southern
sass, but that aside it’s refreshing to listen to a true-crime
podcast that goes easy on the gore and doesn’t get too deep. Plus,
we’re not left wanting to sleep with the light on.
The Book Review
Like attending a book club – without having to host
or organise snacks – The Book Review reports the latest literary
releases from both sides of the Atlantic, alongside fascinating
author interviews and recommendations. Brought to you by The New
York Times, this is a level up from the thriller beach-read you
normally have stuffed in your bag.
We all have them. We return to them when we’re sad, hungover or
when we’re about to board a 12-hour flight. That is, the stash of
classic (and borderline trashy) movies that keep us going when we
just don’t know what to watch and can’t face making a decision.
This podcast is kind of like that, but instead of rewatching The
Breakfast Club for the seventh time, a roundtable of industry
experts rehash the details, share on-set stories and discuss what
they would have done differently. Doesn’t pique your interest?
Quentin Tarantino’s frequent appearances may well change your
Comments by Celebs
The girls behind the hilarious Instagram account @commentbycelebs bring you up to date with the latest
Hollywood news, covering everything from the (possible) reunion of
Brad and Jen and who Pete Davidson is now dating to a deep-drive
into the world of Justin Bieber. If you can’t keep up with the
Kardashians (but secretly want to), this one’s for you.
Have you heard George’s podcast?
Part drama, part spoken-word performance, part news and part
music, this podcast by George Mpanga (aka George the Poet) podcast
is absolutely brilliant. Eight episodes skip from unpicking the
meaning of a drill track and covering the London riots to the
glamorisation of violence. As five gold awards from The British
Podcast awards testify, it’s a cultural phenomenon.
Design devotees should already be au fait with Roman Mars’s
weekly series that probes into architectural influences without
waxing lyrical about the greatness of
bauhaus or the beauty of brutalism. Yawn. Instead, he takes on
the everyday – if you stretch that to include Kentucky truckers and
wax mannequins. Expect post-Pablo Escobar urbanism and
If you’re new to plugging in to podcasts, start with this
insanely addictive series brought to you by brilliant investigative
journalists. The majority of the world has already caught up, so
you’ll have plenty of people to wax lyrical about the the painful
yet beautiful life of John B. Best to block out a whole beach day
to get through.
The Receipts Podcast
Haven’t you heard the hype? The hilarious Receipts Podcast
started in the DMs, is filled with filter-free chat and brought to
you by a trio of strong, confident women who know how to keep it
real. Really real. Like, “I work with my boyfriend’s side chick”
kind of real. It’s pretty much like having your best friends
gossiping in your ear.
Desert Island Discs
There’s probably never been a more apt time to listen to the
cult classic than when you’re missing your travels. Desert Island
Discs has been on our airwaves for more than 75 years and hosted
some 3,000 castaways, so we’re pretty sure it’ll last the length of
your trip, never mind your flight, and have you covered should
there be any delays. Even if you were stranded on said imaginary
desert island, we doubt you’d run out of listening material.
This article was updated on the 17th of December