Leading Design’s Things to Do in London

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We are working hard to make sure your Leading Design London schedule is jam packed full of world-class speakers and opportunities to connect with peers. However, we’re sure you will need a bit of down time to process all the inspiration coming your way.

We asked the Clearleft team for their top things to see, do and eat around the Barbican Centre, in case you fancied a wander.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO, 5–9 minutes walk, Museum of London (150 London Wall, Barbican, London EC2Y 5HN).

The Museum of London tells the story of the capital from its first settlers to modern times. Free to visit, the museum has displays to honour London’s music, people and places.

Postman’s Park (King Edward St, London EC1A 7BT).

If you’re looking for somewhere quick and easy to eat your lunch, Postman’s Park is a shady garden with some benches and pretty beds of flowers.

St Alphage, Garden (Barbican, London EC2Y 5DE),

Converted from an old church yard, St Alphage Garden is an urban garden perfect for a picnic and framed by a remaining section of the Roman city wall.

10–15 minute wal,k Guildhall Art Gallery (Basinghall St, London EC2V 5AE)

From the Pre-Raphaelites to depictions of London’s colourful past, the gallery features a fine collection of art and a Roman Amptheatre.

St Paul’s Cathedral (St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD)

If you’re wanting to visit somewhere a short stroll from the Barbican, St Paul’s Cathedral has breathtaking panoramic views over London, an atmospheric crypt and incredible dome galleries.

A tube or bus ride away Spitalfields Market (56 Brushfield St, London E1 6AA)

The one-stop destination for food, fashion, art, music, independent stalls, and events in East London.

Whitechapel Gallery (77–82 Whitechapel, High St, London E1 7QX)

A beautiful historic building full of great art and ideas from around the corner and around the world.

Rough Trade (Old Truman Brewery 91, Brick Ln, London E1 6QL)

A music emporium in an old brewery with a coffee shop, bookshop and in-store gigs.

Liberia Bookshop (65 Hanbury St, London E1 5JP),

Every aspect of Libreria is designed to help you discover new books and ideas, and encourage interdisciplinary thinking. A beautiful space, with books curated to maximise serendipity.

Genesis Cinema (93–95 Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, London E1 4UJ),,

An arthouse cinema showing blockbuster and independent films in a renovated 19th-century building.

Southbank Skate Space (337–338 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT)

The undercroft of the Southbank Centre has been the beating heart of London skateboarding for 40+ years.

Southbank Centre (Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX)

The UK’s largest arts centre and the heart of London’s cultural life. A hot spot for world-class cultural experiences.

Thames River Tour

Escape the crowds and discover London at a leisurely pace with a river tour. Choose from hop-on/hop-off services, themed cruises, dining experiences and sightseeing tours with commentaries.

Borough Market (8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL)

A historic market in central London with an emphasis on high quality food, sustainable production and social connection.

COFFEE On site in the Barbican Conservatory Change Please — This year, we’re thrilled to have the award-winning and socially conscious Change Please serving up our coffees. You will find them in the Barbican Centre conservatory.

5 minute walk FWD:Coffee (161A Whitecross St, London EC1Y 8JL)

10 minute walk Look mum no hands! (49 Old St, London EC1V 9HX) Excellent coffee and a very funky bike shop!

30 minute walk Exmouth Coffee Company (83 Whitechapel High St, Algate East, London E1 7QX)

SHOP If you want to pick up a few essentials, there is a Tesco Express (131 Aldersgate St, Barbican, London EC1A 4JQ) 7 minutes walk from the Barbican. If you’d like a posh sandwich, Waitrose (Cherry Tree Walk Centre, Whitecross St, London EC1Y 8NX) is 4 minutes away. For something quick, there’s the Barbican News (111 Whitecross St, London EC1Y 8JD) a 4 minute walk.

FOOD & DRINK We are delighted to have our lunches prepared on site by Searcys, who specialise in bold, ingredient-focused Italian cooking in a bistronomy style. However, here are a few places to eat and drink in the evenings.

Beigel Bake (Brick Lane Bakery, 159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB)

24-hour bakery known for traditional Jewish-style filled bagels such as salt beef and smoked salmon.

Curry on Brick Lane

Brick Lane is known for the best Indian curry restaurants in London. Our favourites are Tayyabs (83–89 Fieldgate St, London E1 1JU) and Needo Grill (87 New Rd, London E1 1HH).

Le Bab (Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW)

A casual Middle Eastern and Asian spot for shawarma and gourmet kebabs cooked over charcoal and wood.

Gordon’s Wine Bar (47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE)

A 19th-century wine bar in candlelit, vaulted cellars with original Dickensian-style educational toy decor.

The Porterhouse (21–22 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7NA)

A large pub with gleaming copper pipes, imported draught beers and late-night basement music club.

Yalla Yalla (1 Green’s Ct, Soho, London W1F 0HA)

Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine and sweet pastries in a modern space with rustic wood fittings.

Between the Bridges (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1)

A unique riverside venue with a varied line-up of live entertainment, sensational street food, craft beer and cocktails, weekly drag brunches and more.

Leading Design London is a conference for people heading up design teams to learn from world-class speakers and in turn become better leaders themselves.

Join us at the Barbican Centre on 2–3 November 2022. We’re down to our last chance tickets now!

About the author

Robert Lenz

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