The Barbican Conservatory

Photos by Aya Sekine

The Barbican is internationally recognised as one of the most significant architectural achievements of the 20th century, yet many are unaware of the tropical conservatory that lies hidden away on the third floor.

Apparently an afterthought, built around the fly tower of the Arts Centre theatre at the request of the then-resident Royal Shakespeare Company, the glasshouse is the second largest in London after Kew and is home to exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees.

The glassy, green oasis is in stark contrast to the brutalism of the Barbican Centre. An oasis of towering dark fronds and vines, intricate paths linking chambers of exotic flora and fauna, and ponds of Japanese Koi carp idling in the shadows of overhanging palms.

It’s our favourite way to enjoy a lazy afternoon with friends and family.

Open on Sundays & Bank Holidays 12 noon - 5pm - Free entry.