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The Tate Modern is one of London - and the world’s - most iconic art galleries. As well as having an international collection of modern and contemporary artworks that few can beat, it's a historic piece of architecture worth visiting in its own right. It’s hard to imagine how empty London’s modern art scene must have been before this place opened, but we’re sure glad it did. Tate Modern is one of four Tate venues in the UK, and it welcomes a stonking 5 million visitors through its doors each year.
The gallery opened in 2000, making use of the old Bankside Power Station. The imposing structure on the banks of the Thames was designed after WWII by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the same architect behind Battersea Power Station. It was converted by Herzog & de Meuron, who returned to oversee a massive extension project. This started with the opening of the Tanks in 2012, and ended with the brand-new Switch House extension in 2016.
The twisted pyramid-like structure marked the most significant new opening of a cultural institution since the British Library on Euston Road. Like the rest of Tate Modern, it’s well worth having a gander at its super-stylish outside - but for the real treats, you need to head indoors. The Switch House gave Tate Modern an additional 60% of space, and they’ve used it wisely. Their international focus means their collection of over 800 works are by artists hailing from over 50 different countries. They’ve also tackled the gender debate in a much more pro-active way than most art galleries, with their solo displays split 50-50 between male and female artists.
Along with their permanent collection (featuring big names including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Barbara Hepworth), Tate Modern’s blockbuster temporary exhibitions never fail to pull in the crowds.
|Price:||Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-10pm (last adm 45 mins before closing)|
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