If the harsh brutalist buildings of the Barbican were the set of a post-apocalyptic film, the Conservatory would be the verdant utopia the characters reach at the end of the movie. Concealed inside all that concrete, the Conservatory is a room overrun with 1,500 species of tropical plants and trees, exotic fish, tiny turtles and three indoor ponds. It’s the stuff of London lore – one of those locations that always appears on Instagram but somehow when you try to visit, it’s eternally closed. Pre-lockdown, the Conservatory was only open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays between noon and 5pm and bank holidays.
For the first time, the Conservatory will now be open to the public on weekdays, starting Monday July 13. If you think you overdid it with the online plant deliveries in lockdown, wait until you see this place – every inch is covered in tree fern, bamboo and giant Swiss cheese plants.
Entrance to the Conservatory is free but you’ll need to book online before your visit. Barbican members can book from tomorrow (Wednesday July 1), for the rest, it’s Thursday July 2. It’s one of those extremely popular not-so-hidden ‘hidden London’ venues, so expect Glastonbury levels of digital queuing.
It’s been a rough few months. You deserve it. Go chase that leafy utopia.
The Barbican Conservatory is open for bookings from 10am on Thu Jul 2.
The Barbican’s galleries are also scheduled to reopen on Monday July 13. Find out what’s happening with Tate Modern, the Serpentine and The National Gallery here.
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