The Barbican Centre - Europe's largest arts centre all under one roof

Cheval Calico House is near Barbican Centre


The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre in the City of London, England, and is the largest of its type in Europe. The Barbican comprises a concert hall, two theatres, three cinemas, two art galleries, library, two trade exhibition halls, five conference rooms, foyers, shops and conservatory. The Conservatory also has a Marriage Licence approval. The London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are based in the Barbican Centre's concert hall.

The Barbican Centre is owned, funded, and managed by the City of London Corporation, the third-largest arts funder in the United Kingdom. It was built as the city's gift to the nation at a cost of £161 million (equivalent to £400 million in 2007), and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 3 March 1982.


The Centre had a long development period, only opening long after the surrounding Barbican Estate housing complex had been built. It is situated in an area which was badly bombed during World War II.

The Centre's design – a concrete ziggurat – has always been controversial and divides opinion. It was voted "London's ugliest building" in a Grey London poll in September 2003.

Outside, the main focal point of the Centre is the lake and its neighbouring terrace. The theatre's fly tower has been surrounded by glass and made into a spectacular high-level conservatory. The Barbican Hall's acoustic has also been controversial: some praised it as attractively warm, but others found it too dry for large-scale orchestral performance.

The second-floor library is one of the five City of London libraries. It is one of the largest public libraries in London and has a separate arts library, a large music library and a children's library which regularly conducts free events. The Barbican Library houses the 'London Collection' of historical books and resources, some of which date back 300 years, all being available on loan. The library presents regular literary events and has an art exhibition space for hire. The music library has a free practice piano for public use.

So if you like music and drama, you should visit this place as artists from all around the world come here to perform. You can the Barbican Centre website you can see what are the next performances.




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