Whether you’re an art lover, a self-confessed creative or are just looking for fun and cheap things to do on a day out in London, Tate Modern should be top of your list. As one of four attractions run by Tate, it’s known as the jewel in the crown of modern art galleries in London, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Tate first began showcasing its art back in 1897 and had just one site. But as its collection grew, the organisation expanded across three more galleries in the late 20th century, with Tate Modern being the newest of these. Ready to explore one of the top 10 most visited museums and galleries in the world? Read on to find out all you need to know about a trip to Tate Modern, including how to get there.
Things to do at Tate Modern
Tate Modern exhibitions
As one of the most famous galleries in the world today, it’s no surprise that Tate Modern is home to some extraordinary exhibits. The permanent exhibitions at Tate Modern are free with your entry, while others require a small fee. Discover more about ticketing information below. The vast collections are split between the Boiler House, the central Turbine Hall and the Blavatnik Building (formerly known as the Switch House), and each room has plenty to experience. As you explore each space, keep your eyes peeled for some truly legendary works, including:
- Marilyn Diptych (1962) by Andy Warhol
- Mountain Lake (1938) by Salvador Dalí
- The Snail (1953) by Henri Matisse
- A Bigger Splash (1967) by David Hockney
The dramatic and vast Turbine Hall is a particularly memorable gallery space. A common home to large-scale sculptures and extraordinary, interactive installations, Turbine Hall promises to provide the wow-factor.
Entry to Tate Modern is completely free, however it’s recommended that you book your tickets online before you turn up – particularly if you’re interested in a paid exhibition that may sell out.
If you’re a regular visitor, why not become a member? Pay a yearly fee and enjoy benefits such as free entry to every exhibition, priority booking, members-only viewing hours and more. Additionally, those with a National Art Pass can enjoy 50% off major exhibitions at all Tate galleries.
If you’re keen to get your own creative juices flowing, why not take a look at Tate Modern’s workshops? Meanwhile, if you’re searching for ways to keep the kids happy, then UNIQLO Tate Play should tick all the boxes. Taking place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, this family-friendly workshop offers fun, free arts and play activities for families. Older art fans may enjoy practical and instructional workshops to help them hone in on their talents, from Chalking up Narratives to Drawing With Ink: Movement and Colour.
Free daily tours
Get unrivaled insight into the world of contemporary art with one of Tate Modern’s free guided tours. All tours and talks last around 45 minutes and take place at 12:00, 13:00 and 14:00 each day.
Corporate events spaces
Hosting a private event? There are 16 unique and immersive spaces at Tate Modern to choose from, ideal for anything from small and intimate gatherings to large scale corporate get-togethers.
Tips for enjoying Tate Modern
Tate Modern is an incredibly popular museum, particularly during weekends and school holidays. To make the most of your visit, follow these tips below:
- Opening times are 10:00–18:00. Reserve your tickets in advance, particularly if you’re interested in one of the gallery’s paid exhibitions.
- Bags and items larger than cabin bag size (55cm x 40cm x 22cm) are not to be brought into the galleries.
Things to do near Tate Modern
If you’re planning to spend the weekend in London, there’s a near-endless list of exciting activities to fill your trip with. Historical landmarks like Tower of London, London Eye and Tower Bridge are only a stone’s throw away, while Shakespeare’s Globe and St. Paul’s Cathedral are even closer than that.
Directly beside Tate Modern you can find London’s popular South Bank. This cultural hub offers tons to do, from an underwater adventure at SEA LIFE to above-water activities on the River Thames.
Restaurants near Tate Modern
When those hunger pangs kick in, you’ll find eateries near Tate Modern to satisfy every craving. The Tate Modern Café is a great option for families or those who are looking for a quick bite, and with takeaway options you can even have your food to go. For a more formal dining experience, head to Tate Modern Kitchen and Bar. Located on level six, this stylish restaurant serves a delicious two and three-course set menu.
Members can make the most of the spectacular views of London from the Members’ Bar, while there are extra dining options on level nine in the Blavatnik Building –though this restaurant is temporarily closed.
Due to the gallery’s central location near the South Bank, you can find plenty of food spots in the surrounding area. If you’re looking to dine in a café, choose between Chealsons Coffee Cab, Gail’s Neo Bankside and FCB Coffee Blackfriars. If you’d prefer a restaurant, head to Tas Pide, Capricci, The Refinery or Tonkotsu Bankside. For some delicious pub grub, take a trip to Swan at the Globe with its modern British cuisine or head over to The Founder’s Arms.
Places to stay near Tate Modern Museum
Looking to make a trip of it? There are plenty of hotels near Tate Modern, all of which are in a great central location that’s an ideal base for exploring the capital. If you’re on a tighter budget, choose between Premier Inn London Southwark, ibis London Blackfriars and Travelodge London Central Waterloo, while those after a touch of luxury can book a stay at Native Bankside, The Hoxton Southwark or Hilton London Bankside. If you’re travelling with kids, then Marlin Waterloo is a great family-friendly option.
Tate Modern accessibility
Tate Modern aim to provide an accessible environment for all guests, offering amenities such as accessible car parking and toilets, as well as the option to borrow a wheelchair or walker should you need one.