The Tate Modern is a must see destination for any visitor to London. Housed in the old Bankside Power Station, the building itself is the star of this gallery, often outshining the art inside. The power station was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also built the Battersea Power Station and the iconic British red telephone box.
The power station building is constructed of more than 4.2 million bricks with the central chimney standing at 99 metres. It has a spectacular location on the south bank of the Thames opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, with the glorious Millennium Bridge linking the two sides of the river.
This building was made into the Tate Modern museum by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who were respectful Scott’s original design whilst making maximum use out of the cathedral-like space. If you want to find out more about the building, there is an architecture audio tour available.
It’s easy to suspect that the Tate’s collection of modern paintings, acquired down the years, were simply given a great museum because the Tate Foundation ran out of storage room. Many of the collections on display are at best incomplete in covering their style. Even so, it’s far better than having many of the great works gathering dust in a warehouse.
Possibly the best gallery would is that of the surrealists, including a number of Dalis, Picassos and a Magritte or two, and that’s only scratching the surface. Other artists include painters like Modrian and Rothko, whose art really is a love or hate affair. The gigantic Turbine Hall is the location of Tate’s special installations and there have been some outstanding pieces here since the opening. The Weather Project especially comes to mind.
Food and drink at Tate Modern
There are several places to eat inside the museum. Two restaurants, a coffee shop and in the warmer month’s a café/grill outside the Southbank entrance. These are open the same hours as the museum.
Tate Modern Restaurant
The Restaurant on level 7, at the top of the building, has spectacular views over London. A table-service restaurant, it offers an eclectic menu based around fresh, seasonal food and a decent wine list.
Tate Modern Café 2
The café on level 2 overlooks the gardens, serving a lighter café-style menu, espresso coffee, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies with table-service. The Café is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea daily, and also offers an evening menu on Fridays.
The Espresso Bar on level 4, with riverside balconies, is open daily 10.00–18.00, serving drinks, sandwiches and snacks. This has a stunning view over the Thames, Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s across the river. One of the best photo spots in London.
Tate Modern address and hours
Hours: Sun-Thurs 10.00-18.00 and Fri-Sat 10.00-22.00
Phone: 44 (0)20 7887 8000
Directions: Southwark or Blackfriars tubes
Photo by sterte on flickr
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