Barbican Centre

Art , Photography Barbican
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(14 user reviews)
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Tove K Breitstein / Time Out
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Rob Greig / Time Out
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Nigel Tradewell / Time Out
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Tove K Breitstein / Time Out
7/7
Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out

The UK's leading international arts centre

The Barbican Centre, a vast concrete estate of 2,000 flats and a leading arts complex, is a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and rectangular ponds of friendly resident ducks. The lakeside terrace and adjoining café are good spots to take a rest from visiting the art gallery, cinema, theatre, concert hall or library within the complex. The art gallery on the third floor stages exhibitions on design, architecture and pop culture, while on the ground floor, the Curve is a free exhibition space for specially commissioned works and contemporary art. At the core of the music roster, performing 90 concerts a year, is the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The annual BITE season (Barbican International Theatre Events) continues to cherry-pick exciting and eclectic theatre companies from around the globe. The Barbican regularly attracts and nurtures experimental dance, and the Pit Theatre is a perfectly intimate space.

Find out more about the past, present and future of the Barbican with our complete guide to the Barbican Centre.

Venue name: Barbican Centre
Contact:
Address: Silk St
London
EC2Y 8DS
Opening hours: Centre Mon-Sat 9am-11pm; Sun noon-11pm. Art Gallery Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Thu, Fri 10am–9pm. The Curve Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 11am–8pm; Thu, Fri 11am–9pm
Transport: Tube: Barbican
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  • Time Out says
    • 3 out of 5 stars
    ‘Badlands’ and ‘The Thin Red Line’ director Terrence Malick’s late-career float into fragmented, personal, poetic and explicitly spiritual filmmaking continues with ‘Knight of Cups’, a largely LA-based portrait of a successful Hollywood writer, Ri...
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    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Who wanted a Disney remake of ‘The Jungle Book’? No one. Especially not one combining CGI with a real-life boy. But forget about your worries – this new version is the jungle VIP. Director Jon Favreau hasn’t monkeyed around, dipping into the 1967 ...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s unforgettably unsettling new film, ‘Evolution’, is set on an island somewhere off the coast of France. This is a place where single women raise a generation of young boys without fathers (nowhere to be seen). During the day...
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  • Time Out says
    • 5 out of 5 stars
    A one-time assistant to the director Béla Tarr, 38-year-old Hungarian filmmaker László Nemes has made a staggering feature debut with 'Son of Saul', an Auschwitz-set drama that's numbing, provocative and impossible to unsee. Set over 24 hours in 1...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Meryl Streep continues her screw-the-Oscars, life-affirming run of movies with this ridiculously watchable comedy, playing filthy rich socialite Florence Foster Jenkins. In the 1930s, the deluded diva sang at private recitals in New York, warbling...
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Pick a date

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  • Until Sunday July 10 2016 Free
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  • Photography Until Sunday June 19 2016
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  • Classical and opera Friday May 6 2016
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  • Latin and world Saturday May 7 2016 - Tuesday May 10 2016
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  • Film events Sunday May 8 2016 - Sunday May 29 2016
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  • Classical and opera Sunday May 8 2016
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  • Classical and opera Monday May 9 2016
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  • Classical and opera Wednesday May 11 2016
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  • Classical and opera Thursday May 12 2016
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  • Classical and opera Thursday May 12 2016 - Saturday May 14 2016
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
NaN people listening
Sheens86
Tastemaker

Love the Barbican, it’s like a giant school hall and everyone is packing in for assembly. Spacious seats and great acoustics. It is an absolutely massive venue, so be sure to know where you’re going! I went to see KODO (a Japanese Taiko drumming group) and they were outstanding! You could feel the reverberations pulse through your body, such a brilliant performance, very immersive. Always a wide range of events on too! The staff are very friendly and accommodating and the food and drink on offer is pretty reasonably priced.

Rosie T
Staff Writer

I find that the Barbican is one of those places that should be visited at least once. It has a fun and exciting feel to it. I have been on a few occasions to visit during exhibits and have always enjoyed the entire experience. 

GP
Staff Writertastemaker

Amazing complex with a consistently strong roster of cultural events, exhibits and talks going on. But its the absolute best place to visit in London if you're looking for an afternoon of solitude. It feels totally away from the hustle and bustle and there are sporadic seats and sofas throughout the floors which make =for a really cosy study spot (or book reading or quiet wine) you feel like nobody will find you there- you know when you're having one of those days!

Visit the conservatory open on Sundays only, visit the shop if you need a thoughtful gift for someone, spend all day relaxing here!

karen f

The Barbican is always worth a visit if you are in the area, regardless of what's on. It's a beautiful complex which has so much to see, both inside and outside. I always wonder who lives around the Barbican as I understand the apartments / flats that surround it are housing designers / artists / locals which adds to its community feel.

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

Such a weird and wonderful place, a hidden gem in London. Not the prettiest of buildings from outside but the magic is in the interior. Some great events have been held here, including a number of conferences I have been lucky enough to attend. Love the conservatory with it's koi carp pond and the garden cafe. Worth a visit even if it's just to see one of the fascinating exhibits (most of which are normally free).

Vicky T
Tastemaker

This brutalism monster might seem scary on the first visit but the more you see it the more you love it! Ageing has definitely made it more special and in combination with the new activities it hosts, it's one of the most important cultural centres London is offering. Any kind of art exhibition can be found here from time to time, as well as theatre, music and cinema shows. And all of them always carefully selected and with special prices for young and older people. Even if you're not interested in anything that's on, visiting is still an experience itself -as it feels like a journey to the past- and you can always enjoy sitting at the ground floor cafeteria by the ponds or even next to them when it's sunny!

Lilli
Tastemaker

I guess most people would agree the Barbican isn´t the most pretty landmark in London. However, even though our tastes might have changed since the Barbican was built in the 60s, it is still an incredibly impressive place to visit. One can imagine the futuristic visions of its creators when exploring all of its different levels and hidden corners.There are always some interesting and quirky exhibitions as well as a great cinema and theatre. 

Don´t miss the conservatory or a coffee break at the "lake" if the weather is good enough. You´ll feel like you´re part of Brave New World or 1984 - not quite sure if the Barbican is a dystopia or utopia.

Daniel L
Tastemaker

the weird, the wacky and the wow. The exhibitions on display (many of them FREE!!) are highly interactive and intriguing. It is a surprise that this is not as popular as some of the other major touristic venues. Hence this makes a good hideaway, alongside the ample cafe options dotted around the complex. Definitely a place to spend if you have an hour or two to spend learning about something completely new (and quirky) such as the most recent one about using light pulses to trace out the movement patterns of visitors upon a sandy floor... yes it isn't for everyone but still cool.

bigsands

I would love to do a gig here as this is London's answer to Carnegie hall on 7th Avenue. It is however sad to read the comments from the dissatisfied bride below. So anyone getting married in London should have a look at recommended venues: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIB4nvvLkNk Notwitstanding, the Barbican does other things very well and is worth a visit.

PS

I love going to shows, the art gallery and cinema here. Really cool 60s building.

dissatisfied bride

I had a lovely wedding, the location was spectacular and I had a fantastic day as did all my guests. It ended rather abruptly though with the music being turned off at 11 on the dot. I can hardly complain, but I do have some serious complaints regarding the service. The food at the wedding was a much lower quality than what I was served at my tasting. The appetiser, which had been lovely at the tasting, held no resemblance to what I was served at my wedding and the creme brulée instead of being luscious and creamy as it had been at the tasting, was a stiff gelatine. After the wedding the staff didn't pack up my crockery hire correctly which made me lose my deposit and they were completely unremorseful about it, ignoring my emails and not helpful at all. The cherry on top of the cake, 2 months after the wedding, after we had settle all accounts the wedding planner started bothering us for another 600 pounds. We had spent the budget, the invoices had all been settled and he was haggling us for more money. Quite unprofessional.