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The Ultimate Guide to visiting the Tate Britain

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Open: Everyday: 10:00AM to 6:00PM

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Price: Free

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Time Needed: 2 hours

It may not be as popular or as visited as its sister-museum Tate Modern, but if you’re a lover of everything and anything related to British art, then London’s Tate Britain certainly won’t disappoint.

The gallery was founded in 1889 by the famed industrialist Henry Tate, who owned a massive collection of British art after making a fortune as a sugar refiner. Because there was no space to house his art in the National Gallery, he decided to open up a new art gallery focusing specifically on British art.

Originally, Tate Britain was meant to be one museum and was a single gallery consisting of merely 65 British paintings; however, due to popular demand, the venue was eventually expanded into four different sites in 2000 (Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate St. Ives and Tate Liverpool).

All of the pieces of artwork in Tate Britain are organized chronologically and feature everything from Pre-Raphaelites, 20th century art, pop art, sculptures, and even historic artifacts and live dancers.

Tate Britain Clore gallery
 Tate Britain artwork Kathryn Yenge
Tate Britain Artwork Son of groucho
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Tate Britain Highlights

A lot of art lovers in London flock to Tate Britain to see the J.M.W. Turner collection, which is the largest of its kind in the world. The collection is located in The Clore Gallery is comprised of 300 oil paintings, thousands of sketches and watercolours, 300 sketchbooks, and much, much more.

Other must-see galleries in the Tate Britain include The Archive Gallery (which houses over a million items), the Digital Archive Corridor (where visitors can “turn” pages of digitized sketchbooks, scrapbooks and albums), and The Duveen Galleries (focusing on sculpture displays).

If you have some time, then make sure you check out the Prints and Drawing Room (located on the upper floor of the Clore Gallery), which contains even more collections of artwork that aren’t currently on display in the galleries.

Some of the many world-renowned artists you can expect to see during your Tate Britain visit include:

  • Damien Hirst
  • Francis Bacon
  • Walter Sickert
  • Paul Nash
  • David Hockney
  • Henry Moore
  • John Constable
  • Rachel Whiteread
  • George Stubbs
  • John Everett Millais
  • William Hogarth
  • L.S. Lowry
  • Barbara Hepworth
  • Lucian Freud
  • Stanley Spencer
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler
  • Thomas Gainsborough
  • Graham Sutherland
  • Kenneth Clark

Special Tips

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By becoming a Tate Britain member (for £70 a year) you will get free entry into all exhibitions as well as the Member Rooms, and even invites to private viewings and special events.

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For the ultimate Tate experience, take the Tate Boat down the River Thames to the Tate Modern (boats usually run about every 40 minutes).

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The food at the café can be quite expensive, so if you're on a budget, check out some of the many pubs in the vicinity if you want to have a quick bite to eat before or after your visit.

Getting There

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Address

Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom (See map).

getting there

By Tube

The nearest stations are Vauxhall (a ten-minute walk away) and Victoria (a 19-minute walk away).

getting there

By Train

The nearest station is Euston which is a 16-minute walk away.

getting there

By Bus

You can reach the Tate Britain via routes 87, 88, C10, 2, 36, 185 and 436.

Visiting Tate Britain

Please note that there are four Tate Britain different entrances:

  • The Manton Entrance (on Atterbury Street) – which has direct access to the lower floor of the gallery, the Linbury Galleries, and the Hyman Kreitman Reading Rooms.
  • The Millbank Entrance – which has access to the upper floor and main gallery areas via 20 steps.
  • The North Entrance (on John Islip Street) – the most ideal entrance for those parking on John Islip Street via the North Gat

Recommended visiting time is around two hours, and photography throughout the permanent galleries is allowed (but only for non-commercial purposes).

There are a variety of free daily guided tours which usually take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; for more information view the Tate Britain map which is available on its official website.

There are cloakroom facilities that are free of charge and located on the lower floor (which can be reached via a ramp/steps). All large bags and buggies must be kept in the cloakroom, however this is subject to space availability so try to avoid bringing large items altogether.

There are toilet and baby-changing facilities located on the lower floor as well as in the foyer of the Clore Gallery, and there are three lifts located at the Manton and Clore Gallery entrances. There are also benches and seats scattered all throughout the galleries, and folding seats are available upon request.

The Information Desks are located near the Manton and Millbank entrances; if you are visiting with your family, then be sure to pick up a Family Welcome Card here to help guide you through the many areas of the venue. If you want to purchase a ticket for some of the temporary exhibits, you can get your ticket on the ground floor.

Ticket Costs

Tate Britain is free for anyone to enter, although some special exhibitions may have a fee.

Tate Britain is open from Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with last admission at 5:15 p.m.) and closes from December 24th to 26th every year.

The Prints And Drawing Room is open from Monday to Friday (10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and closes for lunch between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

If you are visiting Tate Britain in a group of ten or more people, you can book your own tailor-made private tour around the museum from £10 to £14 per person; (check the official website for more information).

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