I find it hard to get in and out of the complex (ha ha!), or from one side of the lake terrace to the other side without going ever so slightly mad. Where are the signs?! In many cases you have to up and over rather than down and across, and this is just not made clear. The only thing to "help" are those 50mm colour coded lines on the pavement that you are intended to follow. It's like a human game of Super Mario.
(The general area – info re pics at the bottom)
Even inside the arts centre itself I can go missing for hours trying to find the toilets, an event space or a cinema.
But it's always worth the frustration in the end.
A few years ago I went to an seminar on an upper floor and discovered a fantastic garden adjacent an exhibition space. I had no idea until that day that those spaces existed.
There's always a lot going on at the Barbican, especially this month, so it's worth unearthing your compass and other orienteering paraphernalia to make the assault on the building – be sure to plan ahead and consult the latest OS maps or Google Satelitte.
It's a fabulous environment to see a theatre production, or a film, and there are usually interesting exhibitions on the various levels. It's also a lovely place to meet friends for a drink, or make use of the wonderful spaces that are perfect for just sitting, reading, working or relaxing.
Also, on at the Barbican at the moment – the foyers are being turned into a pop-up designer-makers market selling all sorts of gorgeous hand-made products. Wednesday–Sunday every week until 22nd December. More information here.
The bottom row of photos includes CLE,1969, a pre-1966 telephone code. This is one of two still visible on shops in Goswell Road (CLE was the old code for Clerkenwell). The third photo in that row shows a section of the Blitz-flattened (now Barbican) site in 1942 (taken from a building in Little Moorfields by Police Constables Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs – more of their photos from this period can be found at The London Metropolitan Archives.)