Rising like an acid-dropping teenager’s post-apocalyptic homage to brutalist concrete architecture, the Barbican Centre is one of London’s great institutions.

Designed to provide an arts centre in the bomb-ravaged ruins of the City of London, the Barbican is a powerhouse  of cutting-edge culture.

Its unforgiving concrete jungle feeling belies the fact that on just about any given day you can see an exhibition or two (with not a dusty old master in sight), a new-release movie, a leading theatre production, some classical music, a talk by some renowned boffin, have a drink in a funky bar and grab a cheap feed or a posh five-course dinner.

It’s also a great place to sit on one of the many couches and read a book, people watch, or surf (there’s free Wi-Fi). DANIEL LANDON

» Silk St, EC2Y 8DS, Barbican (020 7638 4141; barbican.org.uk). Verdict: apocalypse wow