hanging gardens of barbican


A few weeks ago my partner arranged a ‘mystery’ weekend activity for us. Because I’m very good at guessing, I wasn’t given a single clue as to where we were going. To my delight, our destination was the Barbican Centre in the City of London. (For those who don’t know, the Centre is located within the Barbican Estate, a huge multipurpose complex of high-rise residential, civic, theatre and community buildings, built in London’s celebrated but divisive Brutalist architectural style.) We’ve been to the Barbican several times before at different times of the year, and personally I can’t get enough of the place. But the purpose of this adventure, and a complete surprise to me, was to visit the conservatory. Initially designed as an afterthought to ‘disguise’ the theatre’s fly tower, it’s a fantastic sub-tropical oasis (and arid desert!) in the sky.


Shakespeare Tower


Koi pool


Giant bamboo


Strelitzia reginae… otherwise known as ’emu flower’ in my native country


Love this! like a psychedelic shamrock!


Succulent close-up


Cacti garden


Bridge over the stream


The fly tower






View out of the conservatory onto the rooftop terrace… about 6 levels up here


Restaurants and bars to the left, apartments on pedestals on the right. The theatre is behind the restaurants, and the conservatory up the top and well out of sight



Definitely coming back here in the summer for a vino (or two!)

As you can see from the photos, we almost had the garden to ourselves. A quick google search shows that the conservatory isn’t really a secret, but it was such a joy to discover a unique garden space in the heart of the city open for all to appreciate while at the same time not over-run and therefore spoilt. And you can even get married in the gardens if you wish!! I hope you enjoyed these photos of the Barbican Conservatory as much as I did.


Author: j3dley

I'm an amateur gardener and enjoy admiring the gardening efforts of others. I'm constantly on the lookout for inspiration and love sharing my discoveries!

7 thoughts on “hanging gardens of barbican

  1. Lovely! I’d love to have a garden like this one especially in Winter !

  2. I popped over to their website with you link but didn’t feel like going through all the pages to find the answer to my question. You said this was “in the sky” so does that mean this garden was on top of that skyscraper or midway up or what?

    • Hey Southern…. thanks for your comments… since you ask, I’ve used the term ‘in the sky’ reasonably loosely; the conservatory is approximately 6 levels up from street level on the top of the theatre, but not on top of tower block. I actually added a few more photos to the end of the post especially for you to give more of an idea of how the complex looks. Hope you enjoy.

  3. I had no idea the Barbican had a public conservatory. I can imagine spending a fair amount of time by that koi pond when the weather is miserable outside. I must remember to explore it next time I’m there…but I will be forced to leave a breadcrumb trail behind me (supposing the pigeons wouldn’t eat it…); I find the space bewildering to navigate!

    • It is like getting lost in a concrete maze wandering the estate! Might take your suggestion and go for another visit next rainy weekend. Check the website link prior to visiting- opening hours are fairly limited.

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