Favourite Pastime in London - The Tate Modern
As anyone who has visited or lived in London can attest to, this city has a lot to offer. There is something for everyone, from shopping to sporting events to cultural activities. Also, no matter what your budget is, there are a number of options available.
Choosing one favourite pastime is not an easy thing to do, so I am going to start with one of the ways I like to pass a Saturday, with a visit to the Tate Modern. This is not my only favourite pastime, but a good place to start ...
The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is one of the four galleries making up the Tate group. This gallery houses the group's collection of international modern and contemporary art dating from 1900 to the present day.
Like most galleries and museums in London, there is no charge for entry to the Tate Modern. There are large plexi-glass boxes placed near the exits for donations, but otherwise, visitors are free to roam as they like through the collections. There is a charge for the larger exhibitions though. These areas of the gallery require tickets for entry, but a full day can be spent in the gallery without visiting any of the exhibitions if you are not interested in the artist being showcased.
The gallery has five levels with the major temporary exhibits shown on level 4. Shorter term exhibitions of 2 – 3 months are shown on levels 1 and 2 and longer term ones are shown on level 4.
Four wings, located on levels 3 and 5, house the permanent collections. Each wing is centred around a central hub and each hub focuses on a key period in the development of twentieth century art. The four periods are Surrealism, Minimalism, Post-war innovations in abstraction and figuration. Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism are linked to these four key periods. The Tate collection includes pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Giacometti and Andy Warhol, along with more current artists.
Whether you are a fan of modern art or not, there are plenty of pieces that will catch your interest.
The collections and exhibitions are not all that make this gallery interesting. It was opened in May 2000 in the former Bankside Power Station, which had been closed since 1981. Not only has the conversion of the Power Station created an amazing space for housing the art, the restaurant on the top floor is definitely worth a visit whether you eat there or not.
Eating and Drinking at the Tate Modern
On the 7th level of the Tate Modern, the Tate Modern Restaurant and Bar is located. This gives one of the best views of London, as you overlook the Thames directly across from St. Paul's Cathedral. The food is good, but it is a bit pricey.
If you are looking for something a bit cheaper and quicker than sitting at the restaurant upstairs, a cafe is located on level 2 and an espresso bar on level 4. Both offer food and drinks and overlook the riverside. The espresso bar has 2 riverside balconies.
The Tate Modern is located on the south side of the Thames at Bankside. It is near Blackfriars Bridge, beside the Globe Theatre and directly across from St. Paul's. You can walk from the Tate Modern to St. Paul's using the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian-only footbridge, which opened in June 2000.
The nearest tube stations are Blackfriars, for the District and Circle lines, and Southwark, for the Jubilee line. Both are about a 10 minute walk from the gallery.
Finally, you can ride in the Tate boat along the Thames between the Tate Modern, London Eye and Tate Britain. The boat runs about every 40 minutes when the gallery is open and tickets can be purchased for single trips or all day passes, allowing you to get off and on as often as you like.