The 6 Best Reasons To Have A Family Day Out At The Barbican

Outdoor cinema at the Barbican

There's so much to do at the Barbican - all free. Here’s Kidadl's guide to why the Barbican Centre is an absolute must-visit for a family day out.

1. It’s a hidden oasis full of tropical plants and secret walkways.

Rather than being hidden away in the bowels of the building, the Barbican Centre's stairwell was designed to be a big feature. Surrounded by glass all the way to the top, you can walk up and take in 180-degree views, including St Giles Cripplegate church, which survived the Blitz and is one of the few remaining medieval churches in the City of London. Walk up to Level 2 and you’ll find access to the walkways - follow the yellow brick line and wander around the Barbican Estate, taking in the views and post-war brutalist architecture. With no cars and very few people around, it’s perfect for letting the kids run - or scoot - around and explore. Make the most of Sunday and head to the Barbican Conservatory Terrace on Level 4 to discover more than 2,000 tropical plants.

2. Level G is the place to be

The Barbican is a perfect rainy day option - you could easily spend a whole afternoon milling around Level G with the kids. There’s Squish Space, a free sensory play session for under 5s, Rhymetime on most Fridays, and the Curve art gallery, all of which are free. The Curve gallery also holds special family days, encouraging younger visitors to engage with the exhibition. You are welcome to bring your own food and have lunch on one of the tables or sofa areas, and there’s also free wi-fi. There are also free art installations on this floor, as well as pop-up live music - there’s always something different going on.

Rhymetime at The Barbican Is For Under Fives and Is Free

3. Kids eat free!

Feeding everyone can add a huge expense to your day, but there are a couple of great options here, including kids eat free deals. Head to the Barbican Kitchen on Level G for pizza or a super-healthy buffet lunch - kids under 12 eat free and if the weather’s good you can sit outside on the Lakeside Terrace. Or go to Bonfire on Level 4 for a burger with a view - they also run kids eat free offers and have a table football to play on. Or if you fancy a crepe or toastie, go to the Beech Street Cafe & Bar attached to Cinemas 2 & 3 on Beech Street, across the road from the Silk Street entrance and accessible from street level.

Barbican Kitchen Has A Great Kids Eat Free Deal
They also run kids eat free offers and have a table football to play on”
Henrietta Richman

4. You don’t have to walk through the shop on the way out.

There is a beautiful shop on Level G selling a curated selection of books, prints, jewellery by up and coming design houses, as well as some smaller items for kids, but it’s positioned in such a way that you can totally avoid it if you want to. There’s no sign of the dreaded ‘pocket money toy’ section and you don’t have to walk through it on your way out. Definitely worth a browse when you’re not with the kids though!

The Shop At The Barbican Has A Great Selection

5. Kids will LOVE the Big Barbican Adventure

Get set for a voyage of discovery as you and your mini adventurers explore the Barbican following this DIY trail. Solve cryptic puzzles and use your artistic skills to create new drawings and play games along the way. To get started, just pick up your free trail kit from the Information Desk on Level M. The Big Barbican Adventure takes just over an hour to complete, depending on how large your group is, and will guide you inside and outside of the building. At the end, go back to the Information Desk to collect your secret prize!

Kids Will Love The Big Barbican Adventure

6. There's loads of outdoor space

As well as the walkways, from Level G you can step outside to the Lakeside Terrace and fountain area, which overlooks St Giles church and has plenty of tables and benches to sit at all year round - perfect for eating a packed lunch in the sunshine. And If the weather’s good, you can wander over to Beech Gardens, accessible from street level via White Lyon Court, at the junction of Fann Street and Aldersgate Street, opposite the Shakespeare pub.

The Barbican Has A Lot Of Great Outdoor Space


At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.