Tate Modern - Introduction
Tate Modern is the national gallery of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 onwards.
The Bankside Power Station was design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the man who also designed the red telephone box. It was built in the 1950s but closed down in 1981 due to high oil prices. It reopened as Tate Modern in May 2000.
A major extension is being built as Tate Modern was designed for 1.8 million visitors a year but gets 4 million a year.
The wooden floors have been left unsealed to show the dirt and 'life' they endure under so many visitors.
There are four Tate galleries: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St. Ives. The Tate collection is so vast there is only ever 10% of the collection on display across all four branches. The entire Tate Collection is available online.
Modern art is considered to be from 1900 onwards.
Permanent Collection Displays:
Tate Modern broke from tradition by arranging artworks by theme with each room mixing periods and chronology.
- Level 3 (East): Material Gestures (New Painting and Sculpture 1945-1960)
- Level 3 (West): Poetry and Dream (Surrealism and Beyond)
- Level 5 (East): Idea and Object (Minimalism)
- Level 5 (West): States of Flux (Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism)
- Level 5: Conceptual Models
At the heart of each wing is a large central display 'hub' which focuses on one of the pivotal moments of twentieth-century art history.
Getting to Tate Modern
Nearest Tube Stations:
020 7887 8888
Tate Modern Opening Hours
Sunday to Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am - 10pm
Last admission into exhibitions 5.15pm (Friday and Saturday 9.15pm)
Closed 24, 25 and 26 December (open as normal on 1 January).
Tate Modern Ticket Information
Entrance to the Museum is free.
Book tickets online at Tate Ticketing
Tate Modern Visitor Facilities
There are two entrances to the gallery:
- The River Entrance is situated either side of the chimney and is reached via the river walkway. Access is directly to Level 2 from which there are lifts and staircase to all floors.
- The Main Entrance to Tate Modern is on Holland Street on the side of the building. Entry to the gallery is via a ramp which extends down into the Turbine Hall and Level 1. A flight of long, shallow steps with a handrail runs alongside the length of the ramp. Access to the rest of the gallery is via escalator, lift and a staircase to all floors.
Entry for wheelchairs, prams, and buggies is via the River Entrance or via the Café Entrance situated next to the Main Entrance ramp.
If you enter into the Turbine Hall on Level 1 you'll find the ticket office, ATM (cashpoint), a large cloakroom, and the largest shop. There are toilets including disabled facilities and the Baby Care Room on this floor.
There are more fully accessible toilets on all floors.
Plan your visit using an interactive map of the gallery on the official website. You can search by date using a timeline, alphabetical by artist, and then log in to create your own tour. PCs are available at the Information Desks.
Tate Modern Shopping
There are 3 shops:
This is the largest of the shops and has a wonderful amount of books. It has a great range of Tate merchandise and a large children's section.
This needs to be here as many people pop in from the river side entrance but it's not the best of the shops. Go downstairs for a wider choice.
This small shop, next to the café, carries merchandise for the temporary exhibitions on this floor.
Tate Modern Access Information
There are lifts/elevators to all floors so either entrance can be used.
The River Entrance enters directly to Level 2 where the main cafe is located.
The side entrance on Holland Street enters down to Level 1 and is a large slope into the Turbine Hall. A flight of long, shallow steps with a handrail runs alongside the length of the ramp. You'll find the best disabled toilet on this floor as well as the Baby Care Room.
There are ten wheelchairs and two electric scooters available on request for use by visitors. To book, email email@example.com or call 020 7887 8888 (allow 24 hours' notice).
Tate Modern welcomes guide dogs and hearing dogs. A water bowl is available at the cloakroom on Level 1.
Concessionary Tickets and Carers' Entry
There is a concessionary rate for all visitors with a disability, for entry to ticketed exhibitions. Carers' entrance is free.
Stools are available in the galleries and can be picked up from the concourses on levels 3, 4 and 5. Please ask a member of staff or at the information desks. Benches can be found in a number of galleries.
Multi-language and large print guides are available in each gallery room
Tate Modern Eating and Drinking
There are 3 places to eat and drink at Tate Modern:
- Level 2 Café
- Level 4 Espresso Bar
- Level 7 Restaurant and Bar
Level 2 Café
This is the largest place to dine. It is on the same level as the river Thames and has glass walls so you get great views. This is very child-friendly: there is a buggy park, child menu, highchairs, plus crayons and paper provided. Also there is a nice wide aisle for buggies or wheelchairs. Full table service provided. Menu includes wheat-free breakfast options. 12.5% service is added to your bill.
Level 4 Espresso Bar
This is a self-service café. Queue and get your coffee and sandwich then choose to sit either side of the café where tables and chairs are provided, or go out onto the viewing platform. This is the best place to take photos of St. Paul's Cathedral as you are high up, directly opposite and there's no glass wall.
Level 7 Restaurant and Bar
The restaurant gets most popular in the evenings so do book in advance and let them know if you want a window table to see across to St. Paul's Cathedral. The menu is a la carte and the waiting staff are very helpful.
If you just want a drink, there's a bar for alcohol and soft drinks, plus they also serve tea and coffee.
If you would prefer to eat elsewhere, locally there are a selection of eateries behind Tate Modern on Sumner Street. There is also a Pizza Express next to Shakespeare's Globe, close to Tate Modern along the waterfront
Tate Modern Audio Tours & Guided Tours
Free 45 minute Daily Guided Tours
- 11am Poetry and Dream
– Level 3
- 12pm Materials and Gestures
– Level 3
- 2pm States of Flux
– Level 5
- 3pm Ideas and Object
– Level 5
You do not need to book, and the meeting place for all tours is on the concourse on the appropriate level.
Ten Minute Collection Talks
Wednesdays and Saturdays: 1-10pm
See gallery signage on the day for these brief insights from Tate staff.
British Sign Language Tour
These happen at least once a month. Check the Tate website for current details.
Tate Multimedia Guides
Small charge applies. Available from Information desk on Level 2 or 3.
See the artists at work, listen to the music that inspired them and hear what they have to say about their own work. The Collection Tour includes responses by leading cultural critics, musicians, and writers.
For young people, there is a family tour available on Level 3 with interactive activities: make a creature weirder than a Lobster Telephone, Dribble paint with Jackson Pollock or improve Matisse's snail.
A highlights audio tour is available in English, plus French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
A British Sign Language multimedia tour is also available on handheld computers with video clips of interpreters. Find out more
Tate Modern Floor Plan
- Level 1: Turbine Hall, Ticket Desk, Shop (largest), Cloakroom
- Level 2: Café and Shop
- Level 3: Poetry and Dream
- Level 3: Materials and Gestures
- Level 4: Temporary Exhibitions (admission charge to galleries), Espresso Bar (café), shop + viewing balcony
- Level 5: States of Flux
- Level 5: Ideas and Objects
- Level 6: Member's Room
- Level 7: Restaurant and Bar
Level 3 and Level 5 have the four permanent galleries. These are not in chronological order, but instead are grouped into themes.
The first room of each gallery is an introductory room and each has a central room called the hub
Tate Modern Visitor Tips
- If you enter from the riverside, you arrive at Level 2. If you go in the side entrance and straight into the Turbine Hall, you arrive at Level 1. There is no Level 0.
- The escalator from the Turbine Hall misses Level 2 and goes straight to Level 3 where there are permanent collections.
- There is a large cloakroom on Level 1. Suggested donation requested.
- There is an ATM (cash machine) in the Turbine Hall, next to the Ticket Desk. There is no charge to use this machine.
- Toilets are on every floor so just go up (or down) if there's a queue.
- There is a Baby Room on Level 1 with one changing table but plenty of room to bring in the buggy, plus there are seats for your partner to join you. If this room is busy, there are pull-down changing tables in the ladies toilets on other floors.
- Public telephones are available on Level 1 (under the staircase) and on Level 2 near the entrance.
- Wheelchairs are available. Just ask at the information desk on Level 1.
- Level 5 has a film screening area where you can sit on steps and learn more about the artists and the works in the galleries. Level 5 also has a Learning Zone with multimedia screens and activities for all ages. Slope access on the far left.
- Explore screens are available on Levels 3, 4, and 5 concourses for you to search by artist or floor plan area.