The best podcasts in English (as chosen by our teachers), might surprise you.
Listening to an English podcast is a great way to learn.
Yet many of our students miss out on this opportunity to improve their language skills.
The misbelief that it’s too hard to understand and the preference to “relax” while listening are frequently mentioned.
So we figured we would make a list of our favourite podcasts to help you get started, or find new favourites.
The best podcasts in English
It hasn’t been easy to make this list of the best podcasts in English.
Unsurprisingly there are MANY good shows and webcasts out there 🙂
It might be impossible to pick the best as we all learn in different ways.
Perhaps you prefer American English to British, don’t like the topics, etc.
Here’s our review:
10. Learn English Through Listening
Develop your English vocabulary with Hilary Platt’s popular podcast.
The show “Learn English Through Listening” is trendy among English students as the podcast episodes are short and snappy.
In episodes of 12-15 minutes, you’ll learn how to gain confidence in English conversations. You’ll practice how to avoid stress, how to express joy, etc.
Remember to practice your pronunciation as you listen.
- Related article: How to improve your English pronunciation
9. British Council
We couldn’t resist adding British Council’s podcast series to learn everyday English.
You’ll get language advice, jokes and fun quizzes as you practice your English. Use the transcripts to check the spelling and get a deeper understanding.
The level is indicated to A2 and B1 which makes it a great podcast for learning English.
Although, some of the fictional parts might be a bit cheesy.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them, right?
8. BBC Global News
Let’s stay in Britain, have you checked out the BBC Global News podcast?
In less than 30 minutes you’ll get the latest news presented by the world’s largest broadcaster.
They update their episodes twice a day, meaning you’ll always find new materials to improve your listening skills.
Generally speaking, it’s easy to understand what’s being said. It obviously helps if you’re already familiar with international news.
This means you can build on previous knowledge and easier follow the conversations, dig into the grammar, etc.
- Bonus: check out the 6-minutes long BBC Learning English. This is one of the best English podcasts right now.
Duolingo is a bit of a rockstar in the world of free mobile apps to learn English.
But did you know they also produce podcasts?
They’ll ask you to pick a supported language as you start, meaning you’ll get content created especially for you.
I.e. podcast in English for Spanish speakers, English for Portuguese speakers, etc.
The language is easy to follow and fairly entertaining.
Duolingo’s episodes are available online on Spotify, Apple, Youtube and Google podcasts.
6. RealLife English
RealLife English wants to help you create a daily habit by offering hundreds of podcasts in English.
They get their teachers to record shows with themes like “How to impress in your next interview, mistakes that native speakers make in English, and “is it possible to be yourself in English?”.
This is how English is spoken in the real world (American and British available). Explore their online topics to expand your vocabulary.
5. Stuff You Missed in History Class & Queens Podcast
OK, technically this is cheating as we are adding two shows and pretending it’s one. But we couldn’t choose!
As they say themselves, it’s the greatest and strangest stuff you missed in history class.
Both podcasts are highly entertaining as they take on a fresh and hilarious look at history. But most of all they are just pure fun to listen to!
Meaning it won’t even feel like you’re learning English, you’re just having a good time 🙂
4. English Learning for Curious Minds
If your level of English is intermediate, towards advanced, you might enjoy the podcast English Learning for Curious Minds.
This show has a wide selection of topics, ranging from science to philosophy to history… a nice mix to pique your interest.
To help you understand the English being spoken you can use their subtitles. This is great if you have a beginner – elementary level of English.
You can download the transcript to check out key vocabulary.
3. TED talks daily
Elise Hu hosts this popular podcast called TED Talks Daily.
If you haven’t heard about TED talks (wait, who hasn’t heard about TED talks..?), it’s all about presenting thought-provoking ideas.
Learn something new as you practice your English listening skills and learn new vocabulary.
TED is a non-profit organisation with the goal to “make great ideas accessible and spark conversation”.
As the topics range from science to technology to.. well, all parts of our society, these podcasts are a great learning opportunity.
2. Language Hacking
Shannon Kennedy and Benny Lewis talk about different ways to learn languages in this podcast series.
Here are some episode examples:
- Learning Without “Studying”
- Self-Compassion in Language Learning
- How to Find a Great Language Tutor
- How to understand Fast-Talking Native Speakers
- Finding joy in learning grammar
This English podcast gives hands-on advice to learn languages easier, and faster.
They claim they can get you fluent in 3 months, which in our experience as English teachers is perhaps advertising a bit too much.
But hey, you never know, intensive courses do work.
1. My Favorite Murder
Murder it is!
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark host the hugely popular podcast “My favorite murder“.
Why is this the best podcast to learn English right now?
Well, this mix of true crime and comedy is insanely well prepared.
Their English is pretty easy to follow, and the quality is, generally speaking, quite high.
Download this free show for your next car trip. You’ll learn English by the minute!
- Related article: What are the 10 Best Websites To Learn English?
Can you learn a language through podcasts?
You can truly learn a new language by listening to podcasts.
As teachers we see it happen all the time.
If you’re starting from scratch you obviously need to combine the podcasts with classes with a native teacher, or an online course.
But as soon as you have a decent level, you can start improving your listening comprehension and vocabulary with podcasts.
As English teachers, we always recommend podcasts to our students. This helps them build vocabulary and improve their listening skills.
We didn’t include the perhaps most popular audio show among students, that’s Luke’s English podcast.
He’s a stand-up comedian who’s been recording shows since 2009, we totally recommend this for learning too!
When is the best time to listen to an English podcast?
Whenever you have a short moment to spare!
Here are some ideas for when you should listen to an English podcast:
- During your morning walk – or run
- A short episode during your coffee break
- While commuting (driving, on the bus, metro.. 28% of US adults listen to shows while driving!)
- Use it as background “noise” when cooking or doing other tasks
- Right before or after your language class. You can bring your grammar or vocabulary questions up in your next class.
When do you prefer to listen to podcasts?
That is the best time to practise your English!
Remember that you can download almost all of the shows.
- Related article: Business English Vocabulary
Where can I listen to these shows?
Most of the podcasts are available on several platforms. If you search for them and nothing comes up, check your spelling, or search online to see where they publish.
Spotify is the most popular platform (25% of listeners) according to Statista. They are followed by Apple Podcasts which is used by roughly 20% of the audience.
Most people use their smartphones to listen to the episodes.
English is the number one language with most podcasts, followed by Spanish and Portuguese.
As we’ve seen, there are many educational resources. What is your favourite show or website for learning English? Which podcast do you consider to be the best?
And how do you find new podcasts?
Share your tips with fellow learners on social media 🙂