Home » London Attractions » A Short Guide to the Barbican

A Short Guide to the Barbican


The Barbican is Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue and is considered one of London’s best examples of Brutalist architecture.

Although it is known for its ‘modern’ appearance, the Barbican site has a long and fascinating history. The word Barbican refers to a fortified outpost or gateway and London’s first Barbican was built by the Romans for protection before it was incorporated in the large London wall built by the Roman’s in AD 200. Over the following centuries it became part of the Cripplegate area of the City of London. After surviving fire and plague it was the power of the Luftwaffe in the Second World War that destroyed the area.

After the war, plans were developed from designs by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon for this particular area of London. There were concerns about the dwindling population in the City of London and it became considered increasingly important that a residential area to be created on the site.


The 40 acre Barbican Estate developed with residential blocks set on a raised podium and constructed between 1969 and 1976. The Arts Centre was built between 1971 and 1982, consisting of two theatres, a concert hall, a library, an art gallery, three cinemas, a conservatory, offices, restaurant, shops and foyers.

When the Queen opened the Barbican complex in 1982 she pronounced it “one of the wonders of the modern world”. Although few agreed with that particular view, it does represent a unique urban landscape in the City of London.


Over the last few decades the Barbican Arts centre has developed into a world-class arts and cultural centre which is Europe’s largest arts centre all under one roof. The Barbican is the  base for the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and has close ties with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The Centre hosts mainly classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions but also offers a wide range of activities and festivals.


The Barbican is located in the heart of the City of London and is accessible by rail, road and underground.


Within walking distance from a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate.


The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon.


Bus Route 153 runs directly past the Barbican along Chiswell Street.


You can walk to the Barbican within 30 minutes from all over central London.

For more information, visit the Barbican website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow me on Twitter


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: