Tate Modern

Tate Modern

Visiting Tate Modern? Here's what you need to know.

What is it? The things you can do with an old power station... Since opening up on the South Bank in 2000, the Tate Modern has become the biggest tourist attraction in the UK. This is an incandescent explosion of artworks, and — let's not be shy about it — one of the world's great art galleries.

What to see at the Tate Modern? Modern and contemporary art, and plenty of it! Francis Bacon triptychs. Sarah Lucas self portraits. Alexander Calder mobiles. Paula Rego fantasyscapes. You could get lost in this stuff for days, although if you need a steer, book a private tour.

And the absolute highlights? Really depends what you're into. Hockney's A Bigger Splash, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (note: it's a replica) and Cildo Meireles's Babel (a tower of radios that'll make your ears ring and neck ache) are evergreen faves. Surely the main highlight, though, is the cavernous Turbine Hall — a revolving door of groundbreaking artworks: jellyfish-like drones; a massive great earthquake-like crack; a grandiloquent fountain commenting on the horrors of colonialism. Read our roundup: Every Tate Modern Turbine Hall Commission, And Where They Are Now.

Jellyfish drones
Image courtesy Tate. Photo: Will Burrard Lucas.

Top tip? The Terrace Cafe is a great place to recharge, with smashing views of St Paul's. We'd also recommend jumping in the (way too small) elevators for a trip to the Blavatnik Building viewing platform. At time of writing, though (April 2023) it's closed.

Is Tate Modern free? Entry to the permanent collections — a big chunk of the gallery, including the Turbine Hall — is totally free. You can always donate at the entrance, or buy something from the gift shop.

What's the deal with the exhibitions? Alongside the permanent exhibition, Tate Modern puts on massive exhibitions from some of the great names in art (think Yayoi Kusama, Cezanne, Paul Nash). These all cost money, and tend to be popular, especially on weekends.

When is Tate Modern open? 10am-6pm daily.

How do you get to Tate Modern? Closest tube stations are: London Bridge (Northern, Jubilee, mainline), Blackfriars (Circle, District, mainline), Southwark (Jubilee), St Paul's (Central).

Tate Modern website