If you are into modern art, the Tate Modern is a must-see museum when visiting London.
As the world’s largest and most visited modern art museum, the Tate Modern hosts over 5 million visitors every year!
- Is the Tate Free?
- Free Galleries
- Special Exhibitions
- Installations in Turbine Hall
- Free London Museums
- Things to Do in London
IS THE TATE MODERN FREE?
YES! The Tate Modern is always free to enter and its main exhibitions are always free.
Some special exhibits have a cost.
They have a museum audio tour that you costs can pay to use, but if you have the London Pass, the audio tour is free.
The Tate is open every day of the year except 24–26 December.
- 10:00 - 18:00 Sunday to Thursday
- 10:00 - 22:00 Friday and Saturday
How to Get to the Tate Modern
- Nearest Underground Stations are Southwark, Blackfriars, and London Bridge
- Bus Routes are 45, 63, 100, RV1, 381, 344
- The nearest rail stations are London Bridge and Blackfriars
You can also take the Tate Boat which runs every thirty minutes along the Thames between Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
Read more about the Tate to Tate ferry service from our post on London Boat Tours.
Take advantage of these deals while at the Tate:
The Tate Cafe and Espresso Bar and the restaurant, have magnificent views over the River Thames!
Why not plan to enjoy an afternoon coffee or meal whilst visiting and take in the stunning views?
If you do go to dine at the restaurant and cafe, children eat FREE when the accompanying adult has a meal from the main menu.
TIP: On our pay-what-you-like City of London tour, your guide can point out the Tate.
The Tate Modern has seven floors of galleries that are always free to enter.
Within each gallery floor, there are multiple rooms containing the works of individual artists.
Artworks are arranged by theme. In the past, some of the themes have been:
- Poetry And Dream - Works of surrealism.
- Structure and Clarity - Space dedicated to abstract art.
- Transformed Visions - Abstract Impressionism after WWII.
- Energy and Process - Holds Arte Povera
- Setting the Scene - Located between wings, works of art here all have theatrical of literary themes.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts unique and specially curated exhibits.
Some special exhibitions are free to enter but some require a purchased ticket.
Prices vary depending on the exhibition. As of 2019, tickets for special exhibitions cost:
- Adult - tickets range from £15–£25
- Child 12-18 years old - £5
- Concession – tickets range from £11–£22
- Tate Members and Patrons – free, unlimited entry with a card
- See here for more details on tickets for special exhibitions.
See here to find out what exhibits are on through 2021.
INSTALLATIONS IN THE TURBINE HALL
Turbine Hall is one of the largest single-room exhibition spaces in the entire country. This is generally where cutting-edge, large-scale sculpture and installation art are on display.
The works on display change, so if you want to see what is on during your time in London, see the museum website.
Some of the most well-known pieces of art that have been shown in the Turbine Hall are:
For The Love of God by Damien Hirst
Although displayed in the Turbine Hall, this piece is different from the other larger pieces traditionally displayed there.
A platinum cast of a real human skull encrusted with over 8,000 flawless diamonds.
Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo
A 548 ft long crack in the floor of the turbine hall.
During the first month of the display, 15 people were injured along the crack, but all injuries were minor.
Test Site by Carsten Holler
A series of metallic slides are available to the public to use. Five slides in total, running from the second floor down.
The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson
A dramatic visitor experience. The hall as well as hundreds of lamps cast yellow light.
A gigantic mirror on the ceiling allowed visitors to see their shrouded shadows against the backdrop of the yellow light.
Read about the origins of the Turbine Hall in the history section below.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
An iconic part of the London skyline, the Tate Modern collection is actually housed in an old power station.
Bankside Power Station was designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott and built between 1947 and 1963.
When the power station closed in 1981, it sat abandoned on the Thames until the Tate collection moved in and was opened to the public in 2000.
The most recognisable part of the building is the chimney.
Rising 325 ft into the air, the chimney is made almost entirely of brick and stands directly opposite St Paul's Cathedral on the other side of the river.
Of particular note is the old turbine hall.
Once housing electricity generators, the Turbine Hall at the Tate is over five stories tall and boasts 3,400 square metres of floor space.
It is here that large specially-commissioned art pieces are displayed, with the works and artists changing regularly.