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. 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
  4. 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
  5. London heaths and commons
    Course Date:  Wed 15 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Want to learn more about the wildlife, habitats and environmental history of London’s heaths and commons? Join us on for this online course to build your knowledge and inspire your autumn walks.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £22.00
  6. From the big bang to our bodies: key scientific discoveries
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Incremental or epic, scientifc discoveries drive our understanding of the world around us. Join us in this course to explore some of the most significant discoveries from outer space to the inner workings of our bodies.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £44.00
  7. Cosmology
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 30 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Do you want to know about the origin and future of the universe? Will the universe expand forever? Discuss the latest evidence. Examine the current theories. Repeat the most important cosmological observation ever made!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £70.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Exploring the science of climate change before COP-26
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 5 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    In this course we will examine the science of climate change, what, in scientific terms, we mean by climate change, the evidence that such change is occurring, how we can assess the extent to which human activity is causing this change, and how science may help us both to mitigate and perhaps even reverse the effects of climate change.



    The course will be taught by Dr. Gary Retallick who teaches physics and mathematics at both Birkbeck College and the Open University, runs several courses at City Lit (incl. Cornish) and has previously also taught philosophy.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £30.00
  9. 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
  10. Pioneers of zoology
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 15 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Expeditions across the seas, perilous adventures in unknown lands and discoveries that shook the scientific world. Join zoologist Brenna Boyle and discover some of the brave characters and bold thinkers who shaped our knowledge of the natural world.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £49.00 Concession £22.00
  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. Birdwatching in winter
    Course Date:  Fri 5 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Add new depth and enjoyment to your winter walks this year; learn to identify and better understand London’s birdlife through this online course. Pick up tips on viewing winter migrants, discover some great sites to visit and also enjoy the birdlife on your doorstep.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £22.00
  13. 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
  14. Science expeditions: past, present and future
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 16 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Scientific expeditions have played an important role in the advancement of scientific knowledge across a broad range of dicsiplines and remain important vehicles of building knowledge today, even if many scientific discoveries now take place in laboratories. Join this course to learn more of the role of scientific expeditions in the past, the present and the future.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £30.00
  15. 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

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