Victorians at Play: Outdoor Pursuits

Ref: C2346994

Many Victorians lived in overcrowded and poorly ventilated homes that rarely saw the sun - so 'fresh air' and access to open spaces were seen first and foremost as a defence against infectious diseases. However, as this lecture will suggest, outdoor pursuits served many other purposes, as well as offering interesting insights into social class and gender divisions. They included allotments, the 'ornamental gardening' recommended to middle class ladies as 'a passion most blessed in its effects', and the walking, rambling and climbing that posed greater physical and sometimes mental challenges. By considering these and other outdoor pursuits such as insect-, flower- and fossil-hunting and amateur archaeology, we will identify some of their perceived benefits in terms of promoting physical fitness, encouraging an appreciation of the natural world, advancing scientific knowledge, - and helping the working classes to 'help themselves'.

Course aim

To explore a range of outdoor activities pursued by the Victorians during their leisure, and the benefits they were considered to have for individuals and society more widely.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Decide how far allotments, gardening and rambling were intended to promote social values as well as physical fitness among the Victorians.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Your lecture will be delivered in a ‘traditional’ talk-to-camera style, but there will be opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussion at the end. Slide-show images will be used to illustrate key points, and a short summary of the lecture will be posted to Canvas soon after the event.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Victorians at Play: Outdoor Pursuits


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing