The Barbican London – a hidden gem for families and children

Whether you are trying to keep the kids busy for a low cost rainy afternoon, or planning something for a special treat, there’s something to satisfy every member of the family at the Barbican Centre in London.

Nestled in-between tall concrete buildings in the heart of the financial district City of London, the Barbican is Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue presenting a diverse range of art, music, theatre, dance, film and creative learning events. It is also home to the London Symphony Orchestra.


Once a term, The London Symphony Orchestra presents a family concert featuring the full London Symphony Orchestra with animators, workshops and the chance to join in with your own instrument or sing-along. This is a chance for families to enjoy first-rate classical music for just £5 a ticket in a child friendly performance.

Together with the various of art exhibitions the Barbican hosts free family workshops and activities as well. The Curve (Level 0) is free and exhibits specially commissioned work from new artists. Barbican Art Gallery (Level 3) is free for under 12s and exhibits work by leading international figures throughout the year. And you can even explore the building, with a activty family trail pack. The opportunities for a family fun day out is endless at the Barbican, including several cafes and restaurants within the complex, all serving great food.


But it is not only the little ones that will enjoy a visit to this secret London attraction. We picked up Miss B (our oldest daughter age 14) in Barbican this afternoon. She had been with a friend, at the cinema. The Barbican shows a curated selection of films, many independent as well as several with U and PG rating. For £6 a ticket they had seen a beautiful Japanese animation, which they discussed rather lively over a post theatre snack at the adjoining cafe, seated outdoors in the sun, in the Barbican Kitchen restaurant.


Miss B is a member at the Barbican, which is not at all as fancy as it might sound… The free Young Barbican membership, for youth age 14 to 25, gives discounted access to unmissable art and entertainment, across fashion, photography and design exhibitions as well as film, music, theatre and dance, with ticket prices ranging from £5. In addition they invite young people to participate and arts workshops and learning projects.

The Barbican is known for its brutalist architecture which might not look so attractive at first glance. The raw, concrete buildings might surprise you; parents and children love the open foyer spaces and the fact that the Barbican is a surprisingly green place. There’s a hidden tropical oasis on the 3rd floor where you can venture into the second biggest garden conservatory in London, home to finches, quails, exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. The Barbican also has its own lake and waterfall…


The Barbican Centre is easy accessible. It’s linked to two tube stations, Moorgate and Barbican, with high walks (you go straight from the tube up to walks above street level, complete car free). If you travel by car you can use the underground parking in the Barbican Centre.

Free WiFi, great coffee, interesting exhibitions, performances and films, library – and endless of space in this concrete utopia is the reason to venture into the city rather than out. See you there?

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