Family fun in and around London

Tate Modern

Posted by on Monday, 21 May, 2012 in Featured, Galleries, Rainy day

Tate Modern

Tate Modern’s one of my favourite places in London – I’ve whiled away many a pleasant hour there in the past, but haven’t managed to visit quite as often since MJ arrived on the scene.  Last week, however, we were looking for a babydaytrip destination that would accommodate and entertain four adults and four babies (with four buggies) on a rainy day, and the spacious, centrally located gallery seemed a perfect option. 

Tate Modern

Tate Modern occupies the site of the former Bankside Power Station on the South Bank of the Thames.  Opened in 2000, the gallery houses a permanent collection of international modern and contemporary art, alongside temporary exhibitions and installations in the cavernous turbine hall.  At the moment the gallery is hosting the first major Damien Hirst exhibition in the UK, but we decided to give his formaldehyde-preserved shark and other famous works a miss on this occasion in favour of a no-cost stroll around the Tate Modern’s permanent collection.

From the instantly recognisable works of Matisse, Dali and Picasso, to modern sculptures by Donald Judd and Rasheen Araeen, there’s a huge variety of art and sculpture on display in the four wings that make up the permanent collection, covering the themes Poetry and Dream, Energy and Process, Structure and Clarity, and Setting the Scene.  Although the babies in our party were far too young to appreciate the finer nuances of the Tate’s collection, they genuinely seemed to be attracted by the bright colours, striking patterns and larger sculptures on display.  The large and relatively quiet (it was a weekday) galleries were perfect for wandering with our train of buggies without feeling that we were getting in other people’s way.  The Under 5’s Zone was also a big hit, with giant Cubist objects to explore, including a slide that many of the grown up visitors found irresistible too…

Interest rating

There’s a reason that the Tate Modern is one of Britain’s top visitor attractions.  The former power station with its vast turbine hall is worth a visit in itself, whether or not modern art is your thing.  With plenty of space for toddlers to toddle, accessibility for pushchairs, activities for older children and all the requisite baby facilities, Tate Modern is a great destination for the whole family.

Tate Modern from Millennium Bridge

Admission

Admission to the permanent collection is free.  Most temporary exhibitions attract an admission fee (tickets for the current Damien Hirst exhibition cost £14).

Facilities

The gallery is pushchair accessible. Baby changing facilities are available.  There is a Cubism-themed zone for the under 5’s and an Interactive Zone for older children (and adults!).  Tate Modern runs free Open Studio sessions in the Clore Learning Centre from 11am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Café

Tate Modern has a restaurant (Level 7) for formal dining, a café (Café 2), and an Espresso Bar, all of which overlook the riverside.  One child eats free with each adult purchasing a main meal in the restaurant and café.  Café 2 serves main meals, snacks, hot and cold drinks.   Reasonably-priced kids’ packed lunches are also available in the Espresso Bar.  More details of food and drink options here.

Opening hours

Sunday to Thursday – 10am to 6pm

Friday and Saturday – 10am to 10pm

Contact details

Telephone: 020 7887 8888

Website: www.tate.org.uk

Getting there

Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

By train: The nearest underground stations are Southwark (Jubilee Line), Mansion House (District and Circle Lines), St Paul’s (Central Line).  London Bridge and Blackfriars mainline train stations are also nearby.

By bus: 45, 63, 100, RV1, 381, 344.

Map:

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