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The Ultimate Guide to visiting the tate modern

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Open: Sun - Thurs: 10:00AM to 6:00PM
Fri - Sat: 10:00AM to 10:00PM

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Price: Free

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Time Needed: 4 hours

Tate Modern isn’t the be-all-end-all of all the art attractions in London, but it might as well be

From canvases painted white, staircases that lead to nowhere, or even just a bottle of wine placed on top of a chair; love or or hate it, this massive art museum will certainly spark a reaction out of anyone who passes through its doors.

Tate Modern’s history can be traced back all the way to 1897 when it was originally designed to be one site (known as the Tate Gallery). In 2000, Tate expanded into four major sites consisting of Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate St. Ives and Tate Liverpool; however, Tate Modern is hands-down the most visited out of the four, and has even been declared as one of the top three tourist attractions in the UK.

The building which is now Tate Modern was originally the Bankside Power Station which was built after World War II, and was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (who also designed the Battersea Power Station).

Not just limited to artwork, the Tate Modern also has a massive collection of photography, performance, film, and live art exhibits, and in recent years has introduced more pieces with a specific focus on international and female artists. Some of the art galleries even trickle outdoors, so you can wander around all of the different buildings and see more temporary art installations, exhibits and even street performers as well.

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Tate Modern Highlights

Wandering from room to room (some of which feature odd-angles and shaped ceilings), there’s bound to be at least one piece of art, performance, video or installation that will grab your attention.

All the pieces of art in each gallery are organized according to movement (Surrealism, Minimalism, Post-War Abstraction, etc), and some of the many famous artists whose work you can expect to see during your visit include:

  • Salvador Dalí
  • René Magritte
  • Joan Miró
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Piet Mondrian
  • Henri Matisse
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Pierre Bonnard
  • Mark Rothko
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Andy Warhol
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Josef Albers
  • William Eggleston
  • Ceal Floyer

Special Tips

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Make sure you give yourself enough time to head up to the viewing platform on the tenth floor and enjoy stunning views of the London skyline (which can certainly give The Shard a run for its money!) Also snapping some photos of the nearby St. Paul's and the £5,000,000 flats next door to the Tate Modern is a must.

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If you want to avoid the crowds, don't bother going on a Saturday or a school holiday.

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For the ultimate Tate experience, take the Tate Boat from the Tate Modern to the Tate Britain along the River Thames; (boats run every forty minutes).

Getting There

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Address

Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom (See map).

getting there

By Tube

The nearest stations are Southwark (an 8-minute walk away) and Blackfriars (a 12-minute walk away).

getting there

By Train

The nearest stations are Blackfriars (a 12-minute walk away) and London Bridge (a 15-minute walk away).

getting there

By Bus

You can reach the Tate Modern via routes 45, 63, 100, RV1, 381 and 344.

Visiting Tate Modern

Please note that there are five different entrances to the Tate Modern:

  • The Turbine Hall entrance (on Holland Street) which has a ramp to the Level 0 of the gallery, and the Cafe on Level 1.
  • The River Entrance (on Queen’s Walks) which has lift access to all floors in the Boiler House and Level 1, as well as entry for wheelchairs, prams and buggies.
  • The Switch House entrance (on Sumner Street) which has direct access to Level 1, lifts to the Boiler House, the Switch House, and the Bar and Terrace Shop.
  • The Terrace Entrance (on Sumner Street) which has direct access to the Bar and Terrace Shop, and lifts to all levels in the Switch House.

Keep in mind that the Tate Modern building is separated into two sections (the Boiler House and the Switch House) which are connected on Level 0 through the Turbine Hall, the Level 1 Bridge and the Level 4 Bridge.

Recommended visiting time is around three to four hours, but if you’re an art fanatic you may find yourself finding needing at least five hours to see all that there is to see.

Photography in the main galleries is allowed, but only for non-commercial purposes; however photography in the paying exhibitions is not permitted.

There are cloakroom facilities that are free of charge, and all large items must be left in the cloakroom during your visit.

If you are visiting the Tate Modern in a group of ten or more, there are discounts available for some special exhibitions throughout the year, and tour guides are available for private tours as well.

There are also free guided tours which usually run between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; (for more information check out the official website).

When to Visit

Entry into the Tate Modern is free (although some temporary exhibitions may have a fee) and is open from:

  • Sunday to Thursday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Fridays and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

The Kitchen and Bar is open from:

  • Sunday to Thursday (10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
  • Fridays and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)

If you’re visiting the Tate Modern in a group can also organize your own tailor-made 60-minute tour on a theme or topic of your choice, which range from £10 to £14 per person; (for more information check out the official website).

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