Science and nature courses online & in London

Spanning weekdays, evenings, and weekends, City Lit's science and nature programme offers a wide range of online courses and lectures across the fields of astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, evolutionary and forensic anthropology, botany and horticulture, and ecology, conservation, and climate change.


Our science and nature courses will help you understand how our planet, its ecosystems, and humanity has evolved up to the present day and the challenges we now face, whether looking at the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or our own societies. Our courses, including lectures, day courses, and longer-term study over several weeks, aim to inform you of the issues that interest you.


Throughout 2021, our courses will run online to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community. This enables you to join your courses wherever you are. We will keep you updated as to when we will be back in our building in central London and on our walks across the capital. Whether online or in the classroom, we are here to welcome you.

Our courses are taught by experts in their fields.

Coming from a range of backgrounds, our tutors include academic experts, forensic anthropologists, experienced educators, archaeologists, conservationists, horticultural experts, and renowned guides. Whoever your tutor, all our courses are intellectually rigorous and stimulating.


Take a look at our programme below to find your next science or nature course. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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  1. Science in the time of Nero
    Last Few Places Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 22 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We examine the science of the Roman empire through the work of Seneca (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE) and Pliny

    (23/24 CE – 79 CE) who between them describe the Roman understanding of biology, chemistry and

    physics, touching upon subjects such as botany, meteors, mining, rainbows, the nature of air, forms of

    water, and “mock suns”.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £7.00
  2. Stargazing at home: from your window to the universe (June)
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 25 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Building on their popular book, Radmila and Tom will take you from London into space through a range of topics that brings astronomy to the public. Expect to be informed and entertained!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  3. An introduction to London's woodlands
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 24 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A virtual exploration of London’s woodlands and their wildlife. Fire up your enthusiasm, hone your knowledge and sharpen your identification skills, then get out walking in your local woods.



    Brenna Boyle (B.Sc Hons Dunelm, M.Sc DIC) is a zoologist, wildlife guide and environmental teacher. She runs Wild Capital; London's wildlife discovery service and also works for two urban environmental education charities.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £15.00
  4. Discover Hill Garden and Pergola, Hampstead: an illustrated talk
    Course Date:  Tue 27 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Exploring the design of the gardens in the late 19th century by the architect Thomas Mawson, looking at its layout, planting and special features.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £13.00
  5. Discover Battersea Park: an illustrated talk
    Course Date:  Thu 29 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Battersea Park in South London is explored from its origins in the nineteenth century to today, looking at its designers, planting and special features.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £13.00
  6. Healthy horticulture? The history of the Victorian Public Park
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 31 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    The nineteenth century saw the creation of the first truly public parks up and down the country, heralding the golden age of fabulous municipal horticulture, architecture and sports facilities. In her talk Letta will trace the origins of these precious spaces with examples of surviving parks, assessing the contribution they make to our wellbeing and some of the management challenges ahead.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £15.00
  7. Introducing plants
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 18 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore the theme 'All life depends on plants' looking at examples of food, medicine, ornamental and economic plants with everyday named examples of why plants matter.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £13.00
  8. A taste of chemistry
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 18 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Chemistry is fundamental to life and the world around us. Natural chemical processes sustain biological organisms, shape the world as we experience it, and have been detected on distant planets. Join this course for a taster if the basic concepts of chemistry.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  9. Astronomy: a gentle introduction
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 19 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A leisurely walk through back garden astronomy. Learn how to find your way around the constellations, whether to buy a telescope, how to find planets and look safely at the sun. Find out why astronomy is good for you.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    85% of 100
  10. Stargazing at home: From your window to the Universe (October)
    Course Date:  Wed 13 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Two urban astronomers – Rad and Tom, formerly of the Royal Observatory Greenwich – will take you on a topical tour of the seasonal night sky, going beyond the veil of light pollution to explore the cosmic sights that we can find from home. You will learn how to plan your stargazing session from maps to apps, and find and capture the stars with the cameras you already own.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  11. Science guest lecture with Professor Raman Prinja: The stellar story, from dusty birth to explosive death
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 22 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A highly illustrated survey lecture on the birth and death of stars by Raman Prinja, Professor of Astrophysics at University College London.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  12. A taste of physics
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 12 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Get a taste of the fundamental aspects of physics such as the nature of light, matter and energy and the physical laws governing the world around us and our universe.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  13. Science guest lecture with Dr. Ximena Schmidt: The science of food: 'Eating in the future’
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 19 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This talk will discuss how food contribute by around 25% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to affect biodiversity and resources. We will explore how every activity and actor of the food supply chain is influencing the impacts of food, from food production, agriculture and farming, food manufacturing, retailing, transport, and consumption. We will finally share ideas of what we can do to reduce our food-related impacts.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  14. Botany of the Christmas cake
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 5 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Exploring the contents of a seasonal vegan cake, we will get to know better which plants provide the ingredients.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £34.00 Senior fee £28.00 Concession £20.00
  15. Stargazing at home: From your window to the Universe (December)
    Course Date:  Thu 9 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Two urban astronomers – Rad and Tom, formerly of the Royal Observatory Greenwich – will take you on a topical tour of the seasonal night sky, going beyond the veil of light pollution to explore the cosmic sights that we can all find from home. We will show you how to plan your stargazing session from maps to apps, and find the things that most people miss. We’ll also teach you how to capture the stars with the cameras you already own.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00

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