Tate Britain is an art gallery in Pimlico, London. It contains the largest collection of British art in the world and is one of four Tate museums across the UK. Visitors come to see priceless works by painters from the last 500 years, including JMW Turner, Lucian Freud, and David Hockney.
Entirely devoted to British works of art, the collections here cover an extremely wide range, from modern sculptures by Barbara Hepworth to prints and paintings by the 18th-century satirist William Hogarth. For any visitor to London who wants to learn more about the cultural heritage of the UK, it’s a must-visit spot. The museum also hosts the annual, and sometimes controversial Turner Prize, which celebrates contemporary British artists.
The gallery building is also worthy of note. It was purpose-built by industrialist Henry Tate to house his own art collection, which included many important Pre-Raphaelite works after he tried to donate them to the National Gallery and was turned down. The museum opened at Millbank along the River Thames in 1897. Many visitors opt for a guided tour to learn more about the different paintings.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to Tate Britain is free; special exhibitions require a separate (paid) ticket.
- Special tours of the museum can be booked ahead of time.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible.
- You’ll find a cafe, restaurant, and museum store on-site.
How to Get There
Tate Britain is located at Millbank, in Pimlico, London. The closest tube (subway) stations are Victoria Line’s Pimlico and Vauxhall. Overground trains also run to Vauxhall. Bus no. 87 stops at Millbank. A shuttle boat service runs every 40 minutes between Tate Britain and Tate Modern on the South Bank in Central London.
When to Get There
Tate Britain is open daily from 10am–6pm. Weekends are especially busy so plan to visit during the week for a quieter experience.
Visit Tate Modern, Too
While Tate Britain is dedicated to British art, its sister museum across town on London’s South Bank features contemporary works from artists across the world. Its huge central space, Turbine Hall, offers a revolving display of thought-provoking installations, and the museum has mounted special exhibitions of artists from American artist Edward Hopper to French post-impressionist Henri Matisse.