Guided tours and talks
Online event

Live virtual guided tours now available 


Explore 500 years of the RCP’s past, fascinating stories from the history of medicine and award-winning architecture by joining us on one of our brand new virtual building tours.

Your tour will be guided by an expert from the RCP archive, library and museum team who will lead you virtually through the RCP’s Grade I listed Regent’s Park home, sharing their knowledge and answering your questions. Experience the RCP’s historic building from the comfort of your own home as your personal guide uses a virtual walk-through plus beautiful images and videos from our collections to provide a unique tour experience.

‘I loved the history element, and that there were sections of the tour that you could then go into more detail and see the artefacts etc.’
 
‘The humour in delivery was especially appreciated. A lovely blend of movement and pausing to reflect and understand / learn’

Virtual guided tours

Group bookings

Virtual guided tours can be booked for groups from Monday–Friday. To ensure availability, please contact us at least three weeks before your intended visit.

Duration: around 1 hour

Price: £12 per person

Concessions: Discounts available for school and university groups and RCP Members and Fellows

Group size: min. 8 (or equivalent price), max. 25

Contact us at history@rcp.ac.uk to check availability, for more information and to book a live virtual guided tour for your group.  

Virtual taster tour

Explore the Royal College of Physicians fascinating 500 year history and award-winning architecture with a live 20 minute taster tour on the first Wednesday of every month from 1pm.

Book a free place here

Garden tours

Visits to the garden are welcome in 2021 subject to the government guidelines.

Open tours of the Medicinal Garden are given by senior physicians from the RCP on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm (June–October). To book, please call: +44(0)20 3075 1649 (ask for reception).

Organised group tours can also be arranged. To book, please email: garden@rcp.ac.uk with the subject ‘Garden tour’. No charge is made for any of these tours; however, donations towards the Garden’s upkeep are gratefully received.

Visitors who wish to see the Medicinal Garden on their own are welcome to visit 9am–5pm weekdays. 

Find out more about our Medicinal Garden

Online talks available


Our knowledgeable curatorial staff are available to give virtual talks for your group or event on the following topics. All talks are 30 minutes plus 10 minutes Q&A. For prices and booking please contact history@rcp.ac.uk.

John Dee: magic, knowledge, and book collecting in Tudor England

Portrait of John Dee

John Dee: magic, knowledge, and book collecting in Tudor England

The RCP has the largest surviving collection of books once owned by the fascinating and enigmatic Elizabethan mystic Dr John Dee. The books are heavily annotated by Dee himself. Find out what they tell us about his life and interests, as well as the links between science, medicine, magic and religion in Tudor England.

This talk is based on an award winning 2016 ­­­­­exhibition Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee held at the RCP at St Andrew’s Place, London.

 

Under the skin: anatomy, art and identity

Tabulae neurologicae.

Under the skin: anatomy, art and identity

We are fascinated by the contents of our complex and fragile bodies.

Travel through 500 years of anatomical illustration (1500–1900) in this talk featuring astounding anatomical art from the RCP’s collections. Find out how physicians, surgeons, artists and printers have represented the three-dimensional human form, explore the emotions their works can evoke, and ponder questions such whose bodies are used and who controls how they are depicted?

This talk is based on a 2020 exhibition Under the skin: anatomy, art and identity held at the RCP at St Andrew’s Place, London.

 

Royal College of Physicians unseen: secrets of the collections

Portrait of Richard Quain

Royal College of Physicians unseen: secrets of the collections

The history of medicine like you've never seen it before…

Delve into our collections to discover never-seen-before curiosities, explore previously hidden stories from the history of medicine, and find out about how our vast collections work hard behind the scenes.

This talk is based on a 2021 online exhibition RCP Unseen

 

The anatomy of a building: Denys Lasdun and the Royal College of Physicians

Sir Denys LasdunThe anatomy of a building: Denys Lasdun and the Royal College of Physicians

In 1958, architect Denys Lasdun was handed an impossible task: design a radically modern building for a 500-year-old institution.

This talk tells the story of Lasdun’s challenge, and how he succeeded in building a masterpiece. Opened in 1964, the Royal College of Physicians is a complex blend of art and engineering, elegantly enclosing ancient ceremonial history and traditions within a white-tiled casket of concrete and glass.

This talk is based on a 2014 ­­­­­exhibition The anatomy of a building: Denys Lasdun and the Royal College of Physicians held at the RCP’s Grade I listed St Andrew’s Place building in London.

Turn the pages: highlights from the RCP rare books

John Dee doodle

Turn the pages: highlights from the RCP rare books

Calling all book worms! Explore inside some of the 20,000 rare and beautiful volumes owned by the Royal College of Physicians. Examine 500-year-old anatomical illustrations, voyage round the earth and the heavens, and cook up a baroque feast all from the pages of books carefully preserved by physicians across the centuries.

 

Treasures of the RCP collections

ether inhaler

Treasures of the RCP collections

The Royal College of Physicians has been collecting objects, works of art, rare books and documents for over 500 years.

Join a member of our curatorial team find out more about the RCP’s iconic treasures, and discover what they can tell us about the history of the RCP and the history of medicine.

 

Doctors in their own words: voices from the archive

RCP member listening to oral histories

Doctors in their own words: voices from the archive

The RCP oral history collection holds over 250 recorded interviews of doctors speaking about their experiences in medicine over the past 90 years.

Explore stories of pioneering medical advances, including early uses of penicillin and insulin and the development of kidney dialysis, and hear physicians discuss the changes they have witnessed in doctor / patient communication, junior doctors’ lives and the National Health Service.

This talk will include a presentation and audio extracts from the oral history collection.

 

Behind the scenes at the RCP Museum: techniques for collections care

Conserving a painting

Behind the scenes at the RCP Museum: techniques for collections care

Ranging from paintings to manuscripts, silverware to medical instruments, what does it take to look after the RCP’s 500 years of history?

In this behind the scenes guide, join a member of our museum team as they share how the RCP cares for its diverse historic collections. Learn about conservation standards and pick up some techniques you can apply to caring for your own family heirlooms.

 

A history of the RCP in 10 objects

Photograph of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in frame, surrounded by books and handwritten letters

A history of the RCP in 10 objects

Explore the story of the 500-year history of the Royal College of Physicians through ten iconic items from the museum, archive and historic library collections.

Covering pioneering medical discoveries, complex characters, and tragic events, discover how the RCP developed from six people gathering in someone’s living room to the patient centred, clinically led organisation with an international reach that it is today.

Medicine in the Golden Age of Islam

Islamic drawingMedicine in the Golden Age of Islam, and how it formed the medical cornerstone of the Renaissance in Western Europe

This talk was inspired  by the wealth of scientific works from non-western traditions, in the RCP’s collections. The medical works highlighted in this talk provide a glimpse into the fascinating story of how the Islamic Golden Age fuelled later periods of scientific advancement in the field of medicine in Western Europe.

This talk is based on a 2013 exhibition The Mirror of Health: discovering medicine in the Golden Age of Islam, held at the RCP at St Andrews Place, London.