History, culture & writing - Off Site

Explore History, Culture & Writing

Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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  1. Writing the city
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 21 Aug 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
    Through a combination of close observation and texts both old and new, you'll explore the depiction of inner city life in fiction, and write your own fiction inspired by the urban landscape in this short course.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. Introduction to the Wallace Collection
    Course start date:  Wed 21 Sep 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    Each week, we'll explore a different aspect of the Wallace Collection looking at its fine and decorative art objects, including paintings, furniture, porcelain and even arms and armour.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  3. The history of Western art in 100 paintings
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Julia Musgrave
    A chronological introduction to Western art from c.1250 to the present day, taught by looking at artworks in London’s galleries, and related materials.
    Full fee £559.00 Senior fee £447.00 Concession £363.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  4. The art and culture of 17th century London
    Course start date:  Fri 23 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    Discover the 17th century: a time of upheaval in Europe, intercontinental trade, religious schisms and a wide range of artistic styles. See its art, architecture and design in London’s galleries and museums. #arthistory #explorelondon #walkingtour.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  5. London churches
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 27 Sep 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Richard Plant
    London has many fascinating churches to explore. See them on a series of guided visits and discover beautiful stained glass, surprising interiors and architecturally important structures by notable architects.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £90.00
  6. The many sides of London's West End
    Course start date:  Tue 27 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Richard Watkins
    A course of walking tours of London’s West End showing its development from the seventeenth century, how its profile has ebbed and flowed, looking at it through specific themes.



    First meeting place: Covent Garden tube, outside exit on James Street.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £70.00
  7. Study trip: Venice Biennale and Venetian Renaissance
    Course start date:  Fri 30 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marie-Anne Mancio
    Explore the glorious art of Venice’s Renaissance and see the city come alive with contemporary artworks during Venice’s exciting Biennale. This three-day visit is led by an expert art historian.
    Full fee £429.00 Senior fee £429.00 Concession £429.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. The Heights of Dickens
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    Follow in Charles Dickens’ footsteps in a walk from Highgate to the hamlet of North End on the border with Hampstead and Hampstead Garden Suburb. We will follow some of Bill Sikes escape route after murdering Nancy in Oliver Twist, see houses that Dickens stayed in; learn about his friendship with philanthropist Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts; peep into Highgate Cemetery and follow the Gordon rioters in Barnaby Rudge towards Lord Mansfield’s country estate at Kenwood (Caen Wood).



    We will pass the Spaniard’s Inn, featured in the Pickwick Papers and continue across Hampstead Heath towards North End and Hendon. We finish in North End where we view the 17th century farmhouse that Dickens lodged in.



    Please note this walk is over 3 hours long and involved some steep ups and downs.



    starts Highgate on Green opposite the Woodman pub (414 Archway Rd, London N6 5UA), ends Bull and Bush pub, North End Road, NW3 ( between Golders Green and Hampstead.
    Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £25.00
  9. The City of London: the Square Mile
    Course start date:  Wed 5 Oct 2022 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Paul Sinclair
    Explore the City’s development from Roman and medieval times through to the Tudors and Stuarts.



    This course will comprise of 10 walks starting with Roman London. First meeting place at Monument station on the Monument side.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £105.00
  10. Contemporary art in London
    Course start date:  Fri 7 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Explore and discuss contemporary art on show in London. Each week we’ll visit 1-2 commercial galleries or a public gallery and examine specific exhibitions of contemporary art across a range of media including painting, works on paper, photography, new media and sculpture.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  11. Pioneers of Modern Art
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 16 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    In the early 20th century Hampstead was home to some of the era's most pioneering artists. We will walk in the footsteps of the Slade School artists who socialised in Downshire Hill and the Modernists working in Belsize Park. Starts Hampstead Tube station, Ends Isokon Gallery, Lawn Road, near Belsize Park. The tutor can take people back to the Station. There is also an option to spend time in the Isokon gallery afterwards.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £19.00
  12. Friday lates: Islamic art at the British Museum
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 4 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Take a Friday evening to explore the British Museum’s newly refurbished Islamic galleries and learn the stories behind one of the world’s great collections of Islamic art.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  13. Reach for the sky: Trading and business in the City
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 6 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    The City of London, contained within the Roman walls that largely existed until the 17th century, developed its own commercial identity along its tight-knit medieval pattern of narrow streets and alleyways. Walking through its heart, we will discover the foundations for trade and business; admire the architecture of churches, livery halls and important financial institutions and learn how major events in the City’s history have affected trade. We will learn about the 1990s IRA bombings and attempts to destroy buildings relating to its financial infrastructure and see how business developments and skyscrapers, competing for space and reaching for the sky are changing the City’s sky-line.



    Tour starts outside Cafe Nero exit 2 St Paul’s Station and ends in Bishopsgate by St Ethelberga’s Church or next to the new 100 Bishopsgate.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  14. Lamp-lit Hampstead
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Dec 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    Discover the mysterious atmosphere to Hampstead on a tour after-dark where the streets are lit by old-fashioned lamps. We will wind through the narrow back streets and catch glimpses of its fascinating history from the glow of lamps and lit buildings. This tour is particularly stunning over the Festive season where subtle Christmas lights add to the effect. We will end at the historic Holly Bush Tavern where we can warm up with a drink!



    Tour starts outside Wagamama 58-62 Heath Street, NW3 1EN Ends Hampstead Tube Station.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  15. London's smaller galleries: Leighton House
    Course start date:  Wed 11 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    A Palace of Art built for the Olympian Giant of the Victorian art world but also a place to live and work. This short course provides a fascinating exploration of Leighton’s world.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100

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