The Conservatory, Barbican, Artist Impression

I’m a sucker for the January blues. The weather’s always horrible and money always seems to be tight because I get paid so early in December. So January is always a perfect excuse to explore the city for cultural haunts that require little cash.

Art galleries and museums are my go to when I have no plans for the weekend and I need to get out of the house. I was recently gifted an annual Barbican membership so I decided to pay my first trip as a member to the iconic arts centre with my partner.

As the venue was in the middle of transitioning to its spring schedule on our particular visit, we decided to visit the arts centre’s popular conservatory.

The Conservatory, Barbican, Cafe Entrance

As the second biggest conservatory in London, boasting over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, the Conservatory is the perfect place to make a last minute impromptu visit with friends on a lazy Sunday.

When you first walk in, you’re instantly transported to a lush green haven – a stark contrast to its concrete exterior. I was captivated by the scale of the space. Trees reach over 25 feet tall and creeping ivy clings to scaling walls and is intricately decorated on narrow staircases.

The Conservatory, Barbican, Ivy

From the balcony, also adorned with ivy, you get a great view of the conservatory where you can see a petite man-made pool inhabited by exotic fish and a quaint little walkway which we didn’t notice when walking on the lower level.

The Conservatory, Barbican, Balcony View

My favourite part of the Conservatory was a small room on the upper level which housed a variety of beautiful cacti and succulents.

Make the day of it

If you like to plan ahead, the hidden tropical oasis also plays host to a quaint cafe where you can book a table for afternoon tea. Members who book a table between 12-1.30pm also get to enjoy unlimited prosecco free of charge – usually £10 per person.

I’ll definitely be coming back to make use of my membership in the future in this hidden gem, perfectly tucked away in the heart of the city!

For more information on opening times and table bookings, visit the Barbican website for more information.

All images were taken by Demetrius Williams unless otherwise stated.