Picnicking at the Barbican – 05/04/15



As you can tell, the Easter weekend was pretty fun-packed for us. So much so that it’s taken me the entire week to recover write it up. Easter Sunday itself was spent at church but what to do to mark such a special day? Well, setting the aside the madness of an all-age service, how about a picnic? It was sunny, after all. And the City has one prime picnicking spot – the Barbican.

It may not be to everyone’s taste. You have to have some love for brutalist, Clockwork Orange-type architecture and multiple unfenced water features, but it’s a good space to hang out, especially on a deserted Easter Sunday. When we lunched there a few weeks back with Auntie Savage, it was full of not just suits on their lunch break but also an entire graduation ceremony. We had to share benches and make conversation with strangers. This time, the only strange people we were making conversation with were the ones we’d brought with us.

On the way, there was the opportunity to spot a sheep…in fact, there were two sheep. We’d already bagged the Pearly King Shaun at Liverpool Street, but the Barbican has its very own one as well:



I think this might be another project that we fail to see through. Like the book benches.

Getting back to the picnic, the kids had lots of fun. Specifically, giving me a cardiac arrest every time they ran towards one of the fountains:



Normally, they’re fairly easy to contain but they’d had a Smarties egg each at church and so were full of sugar and buzziness. Reuben wanted to go right to the edge and climb over the “stepping stones”, which were in various states of disrepair. It was a bit more than my nerves could take, but luckily he found a fearless intern to take him on adventures:



Look how sunny it was! Sunglasses and everything! In the actual summer, I believe they have ping pong tables there as well, so that could be a fun diversion…or just result in lots of soggy and missing ping pong balls. Even without the tables, there was enough to entertain the kids…as long as you have a nerve of steel, or an intern to help.

(Just to clarify, she’s interning with the church, not LWAT. If only I had my own intern…)


We carved an entire chicken, shared a jar of pickled onions and much merriment was had. When the kids finally hit meltdown, we walked back through the Barbican and Reuben suddenly had a rare burst of long-term memory. He wanted to go to the “room with the rain in” and he remembered where it had been, despite me telling him it wasn’t there any more. So, he ran into the Curve, looking for the rain and found….a slow moving canoe. I don’t understand art. So, they chased the canoe and came back out the other end. At that point, Eva got a second wind of energy and scampered off, shouting “I don’t want to hold hands! I want to run! I want to run! Oh…I can’t run”.

That lasted well, then. Luckily the scooter was on hand and on the way back to Liverpool Street, she had the chance to scoot across some gloriously empty city plazas (like the one at City Point). On a Friday, that was heaving with people in suits talking about amalgamations but on Easter Sunday we had it to ourselves. So that’s the top tip for finding some space in London – visit the City on festive days…


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One Response to Picnicking at the Barbican – 05/04/15

  1. Pingback: Mudchute Farm – 08/07/16 | London With a Toddler

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