This is one of my favourite places in London, a much-needed oasis particularly if you are working in the city. The Barbican Conservatory is a hidden gem in the heart of London. Located a little away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s a peaceful oasis perfect for a summer stroll or for an afternoon tea among lush greenery.
The Conservatory is located in the Barbican Centre in the City of London. It’s between Moorgate, Barbican and St Paul’s stations, so it’s easily accessible by public transport. Among beautiful gardens in London that are worth adding to a London itinerary.
The Barbican Centre was built in the 1960s as part of an ambitious regeneration project for the area known as “the Barbican”. The site was formerly a bombsite, devastated by World War II bombing raids.
The Centre was designed by architect Sir Basil Spence and is home to art galleries, performance spaces, bars and restaurants, shops, and most importantly, the Conservatory.
The Conservatory was built in 1982 and designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. It spans two levels and covers an area of 3,000 square metres. The lower level is home to a collection of tropical plants, while the upper level is home to a collection of exotic fish.
The Conservatory houses over 2,000 species of plants and trees, including palms, bamboo, ferns, cacti, and orchids. The plants are arranged into different zones, each with its own microclimate.
The lower level also has a pond home to koi carp, turtles, and ducks. The upper level has a walkway that runs around the pool’s perimeter, which houses over 1,000 tropical fish.
What to expect when visiting Barbican
The Conservatory is accessible all year round to the general public, and entry is free! You can explore at your leisure or join one of the guided tours that run every hour.
The Barbican Conservatory is a popular spot for wedding receptions, parties, and corporate events. It has also been used as a film set for movies such as Batman Begins (2005) as well as the famous film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
What is the quickest way to get to the Barbican?
The best way to get to Barbican is by public transport. The nearest tube station is Barbican, served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines.
It’s just a two-minute walk from the Barbican Centre. Other nearby tube stations include Moorgate (Northern line), St Paul’s (Central line), and Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, and Northern lines).
The nearest train station is Farringdon, which is served by the First Capital Connect, Heathrow Express, Great Western Railway, and Thameslink trains. It’s a five-minute walk from the Barbican Centre. A number of bus routes also stop near the Barbican Centre, including the 4, 56, 100, and 153.
If you’re driving to Barbican, there are several car parks nearby. The nearest is NCP Car Park on Moorfields, just a two-minute walk from the Centre. There are also a number of on-street parking spaces available, but these are subject to restrictions and charges.
Barbican Opening times
The Barbican Conservatory is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. The last entry is at 5 pm.
If you require a tranquil oasis in the heart of London, the Barbican Conservatory is worth a visit. With its easy accessibility and free entry, there’s no excuse not to check it out!