Tate Britain

Art , Sculpture Westminster Free
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
(10 user reviews)
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Lukas Birk / Time Out
Ed Marshall / Time Out
Britta Jaschinski / Time Out
Tony Gibsom / Time Out

Tate Modern gets all the attention, but the original Tate Gallery, founded by sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate, has a broader and more inclusive brief. Housed in a stately Portland stone building on the riverside, Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art. It’s also looking to steal back a bit of the limelight from its starrier sibling with a 20-year redevelopment plan called the Millbank Project: conserving the building’s original features, upgrading the galleries, opening new spaces to the public and adding a new café. The art here is exceptional. The historical collection includes work by Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable (who gets three rooms) and Turner (in the superb Clore Gallery). Many contemporary works were shifter to the other Tate when it opened, but Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon are all well represented, and Art Now installations showcase up-and-coming British artists. Temporary exhibitions include headline-hungry blockbusters and the annual controversy-courting Turner Prize exhibition (October-January). The gallery has a good restaurant and an exemplary gift shop.

Venue name: Tate Britain
Address: Millbank
Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm (last admission for special exhibitions 5.15pm)
Transport: Tube: Pimlico/Vauxhall
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
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  • Until Friday September 30 2016 Free
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  • Contemporary art Until Monday August 29 2016
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  • Photography Until Sunday September 25 2016
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  • Installation Until Sunday October 9 2016 Free
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  • Friday June 3 2016 Free
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  • Tuesday September 27 2016 - Sunday January 8 2017
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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Julie R

This is one of the many great free things in the capital.  Often forgotten about in favour of its evil twin, the Tate Modern, this gallery is the original (and best) Tate. 

I went there in my lunch break, so only had about 20 minutes to look around, but that is one of the many beauties of the free entry, that you can visit 'little and often' and take in one or two galleries at a time.  I've not been there for a couple of years, but now I work relatively close by, I'm going to work my way around it gradually, so this was a first reccie of what's there to plan my future visits.

I started off in the contemporary area - Henry Moore, not bad, quite artistic, but at the same time I wonder whether his sculptures just turned out that way or if he could actually do an accurate sculpture if he wanted to.  I moved on round the contemporary area and things got more and more 'Tate Modern'ish.  I started to feel that this place may not be much better than the Tate Modern, then I got to the picture below and stood there in indignant bemusement at the picture I've added below - unless the picture was an example of what an artist did when they were about 5 before they got good at art, then what is it doing in an art gallery??  I started to feel deflated and disappointed that Tate Britain was not what I remembered, but let out a mighty sigh of relief when I found the 'proper art' - a Turner and Constable gallery.  Running out of time, I took in some of the glorious paintings for a few minutes, then made my way back to work.  I'll be visiting again, but having limited time, I will plan which gallery to visit in advance, so as to avoid any further trauma.

Poppy L

Of all of the Tate's, Tate Britain is my favourite (and the original of the four that exist today). Set amongst the backdrop of Millbank, it has a calmness that the Tate Modern misses. My favourite is the Pre-Raphaelite collection (BP Walk through British Art - Room 1840) which has a perfectly positioned bench opposite my favourite paintings. It houses British art from 1500 to now, so you can spend a good couple of hours here (for little or even no money). It's also worth checking out the cafe and shops which are both well stocked.

Rosie T
Staff Writer

Tate Britain is a wonderful gallery, the collection that they hold gives me such pleasure to view. The building itself is a work of art in my eye, the whole experience from the moment you walk towards the steps to the viewing of the fine art and sculptures is delightful.  

Victoria B

Great gallery, I prefer this to the tate modern. The permanent collection is much more interesting and the building is also worth a visit. Look out of the late at the tate events! All for free too.

Lizzie W

Great museum with absolutely tonnes of great art to appreciate. You could spend ages wandering through the big open galleries..... or just half an hour appreciating a few.


Not really being an 'art person' I still found this museum to be enjoyable, but more for the architecture of the building itself. The atrium is so open and looking down or up provides incredible lines and curves, wonderful for the camera if you like that kind of thing. 

Yup, plenty of paintings and they also do tours showcasing quite a few of them (which in hindsight probably would have enhanced my trip, so would give it a bash if you are around!)

Again-- free museum is always a good shout. Thanks London! Don't forget to donate though to keep it free for years to come!

Its also a lovely walk down the Thames to Westminster tube or indulge and take the Clipper to your next destination-- as long as its not Westminster... thats just a waste of money! :)

Wally McDonald

Loved Turner and Bacon paintings and many more. Beautiful building and free admission with option for donation which makes the Tate accessible to everyone visiting London. Great gift shop.

Andy Allen

Really interesting! There is a film piece by Douglas Gordon called 'Play Dead; Real Time' which I could honestly watch for hours.