Turner Contemporary

Art London Free
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Turner Contemporary
Photo: Nick Gutteridge
Bold and dramatic, the Turner Contemporary art gallery designed by David Chipperfield opened in April 2011. Situated on the Margate harbour, the building stands in the same place as the famous ‘Cold Harbour’ guesthouse in which Turner stayed on his many visits to Margate. The views of the North Kent Coast and Thanet light that can be seen from the gallery are the same views which inspired much of Turner’s work. Whilst ensuring to always have at least one of Turner’s works on display at the gallery, the Turner Contemporary has no permanent collection and instead relies on loans from other galleries and its dynamic temporary exhibitions.


Venue name: Turner Contemporary
Address: 17-18 The Parade
Opening hours: Tue-Sun & Bank Hols 10am-6pm
Transport: Rail: Margate
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Looking for an overnight escape with friends, off-season, meant that hanging out on the beach all day was not an option. What better a place then, than Margate, which included the seaside we wanted, some wonderful views but a few great indoor activities as well, such as The Turner Contemporary. 

A great medium sized gallery, the number of displays were view-able in less than two hours, which is about the right amount of time I want to spend at an exhibition. There was a mixture of work that, to me, seemed rather weird and strange (but hey, all 'art' is subjective right?) and then others, which were actually rather impressive. 

The piece that stood out to me the most was part of the "Entangled: Threads & Making" collection, by Aiko Tezuka, which was a huge piece of fabric, half unpicked, so the threads hung down like a waterfall.

There were other pieces in this collection that didn't make much sense to me, but then the very friendly guide explained a little back-ground to then and helped us grasp the concept. So I definitely recommended you take one of the free guided tours.

Now, despite the fact that The Turner Contemporary is built on the same site of the guest house that Turner stayed at, when he painted his amazing scenes of the ocean, there was only a tiny area dedicated to his work. So if you want to see a great Turner, you're better off visiting The National Gallery in London or another large gallery which houses his masterpieces. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a gallery dedicated to his work.

However, you can stand in the main foyer of the gallery and look out at the sea and see what Turner saw from the vast window and you can also enjoy some tea and cake in the cafe, overlooking The Bay. Over all, a great gallery to visit, whilst you're in the area and a cool little gift shop too.