There’s no shortage of opportunities to nerd out and get intellectual in London—but notorious know-it-alls may still think they’ve seen it all. Whether you’re the egghead or just trying to impress one, we’ve got you covered.
A delightfully weird blend of art and science, the Wellcome Collection revels in interdisciplinary inspiration. From a talk about depictions of death in pop culture to an exhibit on the history of mental asylums, their programming draws connections between everyday life, medicine, and the humanities in a way that stimulates the imagination, plus the permanent collection of medical curiosities and medically-inspired art installations is always worth a peek. The Wellcome Collection gives you plenty to think and talk about.
Your most recent intellectual debate may have been with a troll in an online comment section, but the more civilized version is still alive and well in London. Public lectures are all over town, if you know where to look. Start with the free ones at the LSE, King’s College, or Gresham College, with topics that range from Brexit to metaphysics. You may just find yourself confronting some of today’s most brilliant thinkers during a Q&A session.
If the prospect of exploring the “oldest grand music hall in the world” isn’t enough enticement to visit Wilton’s Music Hall, its cultural offerings should be. Aside from live music, the hall also hosts themed story-telling nights, shows—such as a mischievous abridged rendition of Shakespeare—and regular writer’s groups. The space itself is beautiful and uniquely intimate, without a bad seat in the house. There are also two bars attached, giving you a chance to soften your sharp but neurotic intellect with a little liquid courage.
Flash back to your grade school book report glory days (but now perhaps with an adult beverage in hand) at one of London’s open book clubs. Bookshops like Foyles, Libreria, and Brick Lane Bookshop host monthly meetings where perfect strangers can come together and chat about literary things. It’s both a great way to meet fellow bookworms in one of the world’s most literary cities and a good excuse to read a novel instead of whatever you’re supposed to be reading for work or school.