Millbank’s Tate Britain, one of four Tate galleries, is home to the national collection of British art from the present day stretching back to Tudor times. “British art” is defined not by nationality alone, but by artist contribution to the history and development of British art. The original building, set on the site of a demolished former prison, has been expanded many times since its original construction in the 1890s to contain the growing body of artwork it displays today.
The gallery itself is a work of art with its Instagram-famous black and white spiral staircase, terrazzo floors and Victorian details creating a striking space for visitors to explore. There is a 1940s room set up as an exhibition from Victorian times where works such as Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth and Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose are on display. Highlights at Tate Britain include the world’s biggest free display of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings spread over eight rooms in the Clore Gallery, the Seagram murals by Mark Rothko and two rooms dedicated to the sculptures of Henry Moore. The gallery is home to many masterpieces including John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash and Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry as well as art created during the World Wars in response to conflict. Other art to spot includes works by Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. Alongside paintings and sculptures are films installations. Gallery maps are available to download. There is a café and two shops onsite.
Tate Britain is open daily 10am to 6pm with last entry at 5:30pm. Entry to view the permanent collection is free, but pre-booking a ticket for a time slot is recommended. The gallery also holds temporary paid events and exhibitions with a variety of discounts available.
Coming With Kids? This Children’s Playground is Close By.
A few minutes’ walk north along the riverbank from Tate Britain lies Victoria Tower Gardens, which incorporates Horseferry Playground, a small play area for young children offering swings, a large sandpit, and some climbing apparatus including some toddler-friendly half-buried wooden horses. The playground features a snack kiosk, open in the busier months, and there are public toilets very nearby.