The Richard and Judy of easy-listening, we are all over these podcasts, the ultimate holiday downloads for serious chill-time.

The birth of the podcast has been brilliant in so many ways (for commutes, for work outs, for meditation, for sleep… we could go on) but it really comes into its own on holiday when those of us too lazy to read can simply plug in for our entertainment with no further movement necessary.

For those living in a podcast wilderness, start with Serial, S-Town, This American Life or the entire back catalogue of Desert Island Discs (everyone will be so jealous).

For more savvy listeners, we have these top recommendations, variously funny, gripping, engaging, relaxing and most definitely not challenging, improving or motivational – in other words, our perfect holiday downloads.


A brilliant podcast from the UK’s first true story telling club, Spark features true stories told at open-mic events that have taken place across the country. Anyone can contribute a story and there are only three rules: it must be true; it must be your own story; and it must be under five minutes long. Sorry, less amusing holiday companions, your beach chat just ain’t as good.

Song Exploder

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. There are some unusual musicians featured and many you may not have heard of, but the stories of creation are always interesting and different making this a top holiday download.

Tiny Desk Concerts

Like having a private gig brought to you, personally, on your sunlounger, Tiny Desk Concerts features mini-concerts from a host of famous and lesser-known musicians, all recorded from host Bob Boilen’s desk in the NPR office in New York. From Adele to Tinariwen, The XX and many more, there is a real sense of musical intimacy here. Perfect to zone out to.

My Dad Wrote a Porno

If you discovered that your dad had been writing erotica in the garden shed under the pen name ‘Rocky Flintstone’, it would make a funny story, but Jamie Norton turns it into an art form with this hilarious podcast. The concept is simple: each episode is Jamie reading a chapter from the book then laughing (read, taking the piss royally) about it with two friends. Holiday-style banter at its best.


Netflix isn’t very beach or pool friendly, sadly, but you can have the next best thing with Homecoming, a psychological thriller podcast so good that a second season is already in the offing. With exceptional storytelling and a killer cast that includes Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac and a menacing David Schwimmer, prepare to be silently gripped as you sizzle in the sun.

July 2018