Perhaps London’s most recognisable modern art gallery, Tate Modern opened in 2000 across the Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron converted the old Bankside Power Station designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott into the newest of four Tate galleries. Home to an international collection of modern and contemporary art post-1900, Tate Modern, with its iconic chimney stretching into the city skyline, quickly became a top UK attraction enjoyed by tourists and Londoners alike. Entry is through the dramatic turbine hall which has maintained many original features including steel beams and long narrow windows and is the height of seven stacked London buses. An extension called The Switch House later added 10 floors of gallery space with an open terrace at the top where views stretch from Canary Wharf to Wembley Stadium.
Visitors can spend hours exploring the extensive collection of art on display from categories as diverse as Post-War Abstraction, Surrealism, Minimalism, Activist Art, Conceptual art and more. There are paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, multimedia installations, live performances and experimental work bound to spark conversation and challenge ideas. An ongoing exhibition titled the “Start Display” is one place to begin, featuring some of the most popular pieces in the gallery such as The Snail by Henri Matisse. Free displays rotate, but some names to look for are the Guerrilla Girls, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Gutai, and Sarah Sze. There is a café and three shops onsite. Floor plans are presented on the walls and maps are available to download.
Tate Modern is open daily 10am to 6pm. Last entry is at 5:30pm. The permanent collection is free to visit, but a ticket must be pre-booked to secure a time slot. The gallery also holds temporary paid events and exhibitions with a variety of discounts available.