Golden Lane and Barbican Architecture Walking Tour - Saturday 13 August 2022 11am

Golden Lane and Barbican Architecture Walking Tour - Saturday 13 August 2022 11am

Regular price £14.50
Tax included.

Ticket type

Join Open City for a socially-distanced walking tour exploring London’s iconic Golden Lane and Barbican estates

The walk — led by Barbican resident Francis Pugh — will explore the bold, modernist vision of the architects Chamberlin, Powell & Bon who created both Golden Lane and the Barbican estates on the north west fringes of Square Mile over three decades.

It will also delve into the contributions of politicians and planners who sought to promote a new kind of inner city living — one which emphatically rejected the anti-urban ideals of the bucolic and suburban Garden City movement. 

Before it was devastated by wartime bombing, this area had been dominated by warehouses and industrial premises. From 1952 to 1982, Chamberlin, Powell & Bon single-handedly transformed the City of London’s outer edge into a radical new neighbourhood providing 6,513 dwellings spread over an area totalling 17 hectares.

In their scale and ambition the two estates together rank among the foremost achievements of postwar planning and architecture anywhere in the world. 

The walk begins on the Golden Lane Estate which was designed as social housing for the City’s key workers. On this bombed out site, the remains of deep basements were exploited to give an unusually varied three-dimensional feel to the spaces between blocks.

The walk then crosses into the highwalks of the Barbican Estate — the much larger, multi-layered, weighty, imposing and better known neighbour to Golden Lane. 

Here the architect’s master plan redrew the existing street pattern and even realigned the London Underground to introduce a new east-west axis complete with generous landscapes specifically designed to persuade middle-class professionals to abandon suburban living for apartments in a concrete mega-structure.

The walk ends outside the Barbican Centre — the international arts complex that lies at the heart of the Barbican Estate, looking across the artificial lake towards the medieval church of St Giles Cripplegate and remnants of the ancient City Wall.

This new tour follows the recent designation of the Golden Lane and Barbican estates as the City’s latest ‘Conservation Area’ in recognition of their architectural importance. While the Barbican still divides opinion, this tour will ask whether the ingenuity and generosity of its landscapes could still serve as a model for future urban housing.

Providing a safe and fun way for enthusiastic urbanists to explore the city this walking tour is part of a new series responding to the core themes of the Open House festival and wider Open City programme.

Meet: Outside The Shakespeare pub on the corner of Fann Street, 2 Goswell Rd EC1M 7AA. Duration 2hr15 and 2 km approx. Tour ends at the Barbican Centre. Step free access is possible for most of the route with lift access available for those that may need it to reach the Barbican Highwalk. This tour does not incorporate the use Zoom. 

Francis Pugh is a Barbican resident, lecturer and City of London green badge guide – with a particular interest in leading tours of the City’s 20th and 21st century architecture. He is also a National Trust volunteer guide at the Ernő Goldfinger-designed 2 Willow Road in Hampstead. Pugh has led tours for the V&A’s Art & Design Year Courses and for local City businesses and the Architecture Foundation. He joined the Open City tours team in July 2021.

Tickets are non-refundable and tours go ahead, rain or shine. Please get in touch with Adrianna at with any queries.

Concession pricing is available for those that are a student or unemployed. 

In the event your tour date is cancelled due to Covid you will be provided with the opportunity to book onto a rescheduled date, book onto another tour or held in credit (with no expiry date).