Yes, Kew is lovely. It seems to have it all, with plants and greenery from every corner of the globe.
But it lacks one thing.
And that’s where the Barbican Lates come in. You see, the Barbican has its own botanical garden. It’s the second largest in London, and the only one set in a visually astonishing brutalist conservatory. And every weekend, the folks in charge of such matters open it up until the wee hours (well, 10pm) and set up a small pop up bar serving all manner of beers, wines, and mixed drinks. Tickets are free, you can book yourself a table (for up to 6 people), and it all includes full access to the conservatory.
If you’ve never been to the conservatory, by the way, then you’re in for a treat. It’s really something else; a glass-bound, three-storey rainforest boasting over 1,500 species of tropical plants & trees. There’s greenery coming from afar as the bushlands of South Africa to the coastline of Brazil, much of which is now endangered in its natural habitat. You can wander, drink in hand, among tree ferns, date palms, and coffee and ginger plants. And you should definitely pop into the arid house, which is filled with gorgeously exotic cacti & succulents. And it isn’t just plants, either – there are tranquil ponds filled with koi, ghost, grass carp, roach, rudd, and tench. And to round it all out, there are even some terrapins scuttling about, too.
You’ll need sustenance too, of course. If you fancy eating some plants before you get all up close and personal with them, then you should head on down to Stem + Glory, it’s literally around the corner from the Barbican. If you’re more of a non-plant person, then St. John will sort you out – it’s probably the best value Michelin Star in the city. Or, if you fancy someplace with a little bit of both, then you should check out LINO…
…it wipes the floor with the competition.
NOTE: Barbican Lates has now finished, but you can still visit the conservatory without the pop up bar – book here.
Barbican Conservatory | Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Want to know what else the Barbican has going on? Head right here…