We all remember learning as a child and being encouraged to be curious about the world around us. As adults, we sometimes forget that learning can be fun and doesn’t have to be work-related.

Whilst staying at home, you may find the perfect opportunity to learn new things, that you never usually have time for. There’s loads to discover and learn, for free, online:

Online learning

Free online short courses have started with the WEA – find out more on their website.

Learn with the OpenLearn – take a free course from the Open University. Explore lots of subjects that might be inspiring, challenging or help your career such as beginners’ French or psychology. The BBC produces programmes with the Open University, available on Freeview television, with a wide range of popular presenters.

Leeds Library Service has online facilities available free to library members, such as reference websites, ebooks, magazines and audiobooks.

Learn a new language with DuoLingo

You can find free online learning on several websites – they have paid courses, but you can try many for free and there’s lots of subjects and skills on offer:

Explore the BBC Sounds website for music, playlists, radio programmes, book readings, relaxation music, interveiws and lots more – there’s bound to be something to interest you.


Learn more about mental health and self-help – RecoveryCollegeOnline offers free courses on topics such as sleeping problems, anxiety and stress. You can also learn more about common mental health problems and learn mindfulness techniques online through Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service.

Your Space has created a booklet called 5 Ways to Wellbeing for Families, with lots of activities to help us stay well, including being curious and learning more, moving your body, being mindful, kindness and supporting each other. It’s aimed at families and children, but it’s good for adults too!

Creative courses

Free online taster workshops with Swarthmore in Leeds – you need to book these creative and wellbeing classes.

Develop a new skill with Skillshare. Find what fascinates you whether that’s drawing, photography or creative writing.


Jamie’s Ministry of Food check their Facebook page for information about online sessions or contact them by calling 0113 242 5685.

Inkwell Arts (part of Leeds Mind) has free vegetarian and vegan recipes on their website.

You can search the BBC Good Food website for lots of recipes, including healthy options, family meals, seasonal produce and comfort food.


The Royal Horticultural Society website has tips on growing houseplants, in case you want to test your green fingers indoors. You can also try their Beginner’s guide to gardening for simple steps to gardening outside.

The Eden Project website has ideas for gardening for everyone, including how to look after your garden in the winter and ideas for gardening beginners.

The Gardeners World magazine website has gardening jobs for winter.

Explore the natural world

Forests at home – The Forestry England website and social media have amazing images, interesting podcasts and more.

Museum tours and virtual sightseeing

Take a virtual museum tour – you can travel to the Louvre in Paris, the ruins of Pompeii or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, from the comfort of your armchair. Or, discover objects and stories at the Science and Media Museum. You can even virtually explore exhibits from Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Visit the University of Leeds galleries’ sculpture collection – The Stanley and Audrey Burton collection is available to view online via artuk.org, which has lots more UK art collections to explore online.

Brush up on your history – with the Royal Armouries, they’ve created a learning hub to help children, but there are also stories on their blog and videos on their You Tube channel that are for adults too.

Explore Yorkshire – can’t go to local landmarks, so visit them virtually with Welcome to Yorkshire. There’s lots of family fun with a Yorkshire Day In.

Take a virtual trip around the world – a visit to the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Taj MahalNew York’s Central ParkMachu Picchu and the ancient ruins of Athens – is just a click away.

My Learning has free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage resources available on their website.