Tate Modern is one of the world’s most popular modern and contemporary art galleries: a visit to London wouldn’t be complete without it. In addition to Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives, Tate Modern is home to a treasure trove of international and influential modern art. The franchise brought about a change to modern-day artwork.
Here is what to expect when visiting Tate Museum to learn more about this popular attraction.
Before entering the building, one of the first things you will notice is Tate Modern is more than a place for housing incredible art. The building in itself is an architectural masterpiece dominating the river at Bankside.
Every year more than 5.7 million people make their way to this classic British Museum, also renowned as the busiest tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. Some of the exhibited art pieces include the works of Picasso and Pollock. While her, make sure also to check out the permanent collection of photography, film, and other art installations. The museum is located a short walk to Millenium Bridge and offers the perfect experience for art-lovers staying at The Montcalm Club hotel.
In 1897, the former National Gallery of British Art was established. However, the name later changed after Henry Tate contributed to the museum’s collection. Finally, as a result of the creations of Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives, a new gallery named Tate Modern was established to house modern and international art specifically. The museum opened its doors in 2000 and has since been the centre of London tourism.
Planning your visit
No matter what time of year you visit Tate Modern, it is one of the UK’s top three attractions, so crowds are expected, particularly when visiting during peak times. This includes summer breaks, the Christmas holidays, weekends and bank holidays. Besides arriving early, staying nearby with The Montcalm Club Packages is one of the best ways to escape the hustle and bustle. The museum is one of many free attractions in London.
One of the best things about visiting London is the ease of accessibility to most attractions. The London Underground makes it easy for people to access different parts of the city for most hours of the day. Staying at one of these London City Suites is recommended as they are within walking distance to tube stations. So long as you have an Oyster Card, getting to Tate Modern is relatively easy. Other ways are rail, car and buses. The nearest tube station to Tate Modern is London Bridge and Blackfriars.
Entering the Museum
As previously mentioned, there is no entrance fee to the museum. However, it is worth knowing that there are several entrances to the gallery. In addition to the Turbine Hall entrance on Holland Street, there are two other entrances to the museum, the River Entrance on Queen’s Walks, which offers lift access to all floors, and the Switch House entrance on Sumner Street for wheelchairs and prams. The Tate Modern building is divided into two sections: Nathalie Bell and Blavatnik. The Turbine Hall and the bridges connecting levels 1 and 4 connect the two buildings on Level 0; the Bravatnik Building lies above the Nathalie Bell Building.
Opening and closing times
Tate Modern in London opens up to visitors daily from 10 a.m until 6 p.m. Should you prefer a different experience, Tate is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. All other days of the year will be open as usual except on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December.
More about the Collection
In addition to hosting record-breaking exhibitions, Tate Modern regularly attracts a large number of tourists to the South Bank. Therefore, visiting the gallery for the first time may prove overwhelming with all the hustle and bustle. Despite this, the museum’s ever-changing display of modern masterpieces remains its biggest draw. Some top masterpieces to discover include:
- A colourful Henri Matisse painting called The Snail
- Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain
- Black on Maroon by Mark Rothko is a must-see
- A work by Joseph Beuys titled The End of the 20th Century
- Cildo Meireles’ magnetic Babel
- An impressive Untitled (Ghardaïa) by Kader Attia
- Anish Kapoor’s Ishi’s Light is the darkest black of all time
- A Picasso Bust of a Woman
- The fascinating Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dali
- Claude Monet’s Water-Lilies
In addition to the above pieces on display, visitors are encouraged to download the Aura app, which gives further insight into other artwork, not on display.
If you wish to explore the entire collection, you may need more time than the standard three hours. Several companies and travel agents in London offer packaged tours to the museum for visitors looking for a more structured experience. After a morning of exploring incredible artwork, head to one of these fantastic West End restaurants to sample some of the finest British dishes. Other cool things to do nearby include:
- Exploring Southwark
- Visit the Bankside Gallery – Another artsy space only a 2-minute walk from Tate Modern.
- Take a scenic walk down Millenium Mile – An exciting walk through London that takes you through some of the city’s incredible attractions starting from the London Eye at Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge towards the east.
- Capture the beauty of Millenium Bridge – Located on the Thames Embankment and a short 3-minute walk from Tate Modern
- Watch a play production at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – a 3-minute walk from Tate Modern
- Indulge in history at St Paul’s Cathedral – a 9-minute walk from Tate Modern
- Sample incredible gastronomy at Borough Market – a 9-minute walk from Tate Modern
Upcome events and exhibitions at Tate Modern
- Surrealism beyond borders
- The work of dreams
- Poetic objects
- The uncanny in everyday
- Revolution, first and always
- The world in the time of surrealists
- Collective identities
- Beyond reason
- Convergence Point: Cairo
- Convergence Point: Mexico
For more information on exhibitions and event dates, check out the exhibition guide on the official Tate Modern website.