The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre in the Barbican Estate in east London and it's the largest of its kind in Europe. The centre hosts music concerts, theatre performances, movies and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory. We managed to book a time slot to view the conservatory yesterday and it was such a pleasure to look at all of the plants.
The Barbican is famous as it is a prime example of Brutalist architecture, which is an architectural style that emerged during the 1950s in the UK, among the reconstruction projects of the post-war era. The centre contains over 130,000 cubic metres of concrete. The Grade-II listed Barbican Centre is one of the world's most famous examples of this Brutalist buildings.
Planted between 1980 and 1981, and opened in 1984, the Barbican Conservatory houses around 1500 species of plants and trees, some of which are rare and endangered. It is the second biggest conservatory in London, after Kew Gardens' Princess of Wales Conservatory. The Conservatory opened to the public in July 2020.
Two of the three ponds accommodate koi, ghost, and grass carp from Japan and America, as well as other cold water fish such as roach, rudd, and tench, whilst the other smaller pool (located outside the Arid House) has terrapins. A varied assortment of flora from around the world includes the tree fern, date palm, the Swiss cheese plant, and coffee and ginger plants all under one roof. I also loved the Angels Trumpets, which are highly poisonous and part of the nightshade family.
You can walk around and enjoy all of the greenery and colourful plants and walk up onto the next level for a great view and more plants. There is an Arid room with cacti which I managed to completely miss out on. It may even have been closed off at the time.
Admission is free and tickets for the Conservatory are released one week in advance online on Thursdays at 10am. A limited number of day tickets are released for online booking from 9.30am each day that the Conservatory is open. They do book up quickly so it is worth checking in regularly if you are planning to visit.
Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS
Walking distance from Farringdon or Barbican station