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.

Tate Modern, Andy Warhol. By Robert Tate Modern, Dali Kieran Lynam
Tate Modern, viewing level. By Jim Linwood Tate Modern, tank rooms. By Joseph Bergen Tate Modern, visitors. By xpgomes6

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

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