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A day out at the Tate Modern in London

There is something for everyone at TATE Modern - even for modern art doubters. We have compiled all you need to know to make the most of your visit.

There is something for everyone at TATE Modern  – even for modern art doubters. You really don’t have to be an art expert or even art aficionado to have a good day out. Art is there to be enjoyed by all and everyone can get something from modern art (even if it is just stifling giggles!)

They also have launched the Tate Kids website that is specially designed for children to make the most out their visit to this famous London institution.

What ages is the TATE Modern suitable for?

At the time of our first visit our little Londoners were right in the middle of toddler-hood at 2 and a half years old and they both really enjoyed toddling around the Turbine Hall (the sound of their echoing voices kept them busy for a good while) Plus under 12s get free entry with a paying adult to the special exhibitions so a great opportunity to take them along. We went to visit Franz West as it seemed the most child friendly exhibit at the time.

What’s good for families at TATE Modern?

TATE Modern has a lot of family friendly activities daily and the best way to plan your day is by starting your visit at the Clore Welcome Room on Level 0 of the Natalie Bell Building where you will find a list of daily activities with timings and locations. A map of the TATE is £1 and these can be found dotted around the building.

Children don’t know how to be pretentious – but they are certainly very creative so why not play some games together to make your visit a bit more fun and  encourage closer inspection of the artwork – a favourite is the strike a pose game someone copies the stance of a person seen in a painting and the rest of the group have to guess which painting they are acting out.

How much is a ticket to TATE Modern?

Visiting the TATE Modern is free – however some of the special exhibitions are ticketed and the prices vary. Tickets can be purchased both online and on site – but it’s cheaper to book them online. Alternatively if you become a TATE Member you can get free entry to all of the special exhibitions.

Up to four under 12s can accompany a paying adult for free and family tickets are also available (two adults and two children between 12 and 18 years) but check online or on arrival as some exhibition costs can vary. Visitors with a disability pay concessionary rate and carer’s entrance is free.

TATE Modern also runs a programme of Late at the TATE on the last Friday of every month where you can see normally ticketed exhibitions for free, enjoy a drink or take part in talks, workshops and performances.

Is TATE Modern good value for money?

Yes, yes and yes. Whether you decide to go and see a paid for display, just wander around the free exhibitions or grab a snack with a view – there is loads to do for families and individuals and most of it is free so it gets the thumbs up from us. You can take your time to explore and make a habit of returning regularly.

How long should we spend at TATE Modern?

Depends on you really – there is enough to do at the TATE Modern so you can spend a whole day – but if you want to mix and match it with some of the other exciting things going on at the Southbank you can also do that too. We spent most of the day at the TATE Modern (arrived at 11am stayed until 4pm) but we decided to take a stroll over the Millenium Bridge and also visit St Paul’s Cathedral as they had a host of fun activities for children at the time of our visit.

Young Londonist best bits of TATE Modern:

We enjoyed the whole TATE Modern experience but the moments that stood out the most included:

  • Climbing to the very top of TATE Modern -the top floor of the Blavatnik Building has an open viewing terrace and we love the panoramic views over the Thames, St Paul’s, Canary Wharf and the City.  
  • The bar underneath one floor underneath the viewing gallery is a quiet spot to enjoy a glass of delicious wine with spectacular views and the prices don’t break the bank.
  • Bloomberg Connects drawing bar – this is great fun for children and adults alike as you can make your own artwork using a digital sketch pad and this is then projected onto the wall. The tots loved this.
  • The Terrace Bar outdoor area is great for a little break and a coffee – they often have sculptures from the exhibitions featured here so you can enjoy some alfresco art alongside your cuppa tea. At the time of our visit they had Franz West sculptures dotted around which the toddlers enjoyed interacting with.

  • The shops – the gift shops are all great but our favourite is the one opposite the Terrace Bar at one end of the Turbine Hall as the collection of books on offer is pretty amazing. As well as a brilliant selection of children’s books there are also toys, prints and tasteful London tat (yes there can be such a juxtaposition) plus lots of special gift ideas for adults and children alike.
  • Here at Young Londonist we love modern art as a way of expanding little one’s imaginations and bonding over paintings, sculpture or digital media.
  • We love the TATE as a great way to introduce little ones to modern art – here they can be loud, run around and generally enjoy themselves in beautiful surroundings. Our whole experience was in no way pretentious and we didn’t feel anxious when the toddlers were running around as the staff are very friendly and understanding.

What are the food options at TATE Modern?

From brunches and snacks to upmarket quality food – there is something for everyone at the TATE Modern. The Kitchen and Bar on Level 6 Natalie Bell Building and the Restaurant on Level 9 Blavatnik Building are both accessible via lifts. Both have waiter service.

The Café on level 1 of Natalie Bell Building and the Terrace Bar on Level 1 Blavatnik Building are both accessible from street level (one is at the front of the Tate with a Thames view and the other is at the back and often has modern art dotted around the place).

The Espresso Bar on Level 3 Natalie Bell Building is accessible via lifts in the Natalie Bell Building.

Is TATE Modern pram friendly?

It most certainly is. All entrances to the TATE are buggy accessible and you have the choice to bring your pram with you whilst you peruse the exhibition or leave it in the free buggy parking area on level 0 of the Natalie Bell Building. Although both the toddlers are confident walkers – it was safer to take a pram as the site is very big and requires a lot of walking (plus some of the exhibits are not toddler friendly and it is better they are strapped in).

Can I breastfeed at the TATE Modern?

Everywhere is breastfeeding friendly (the cafes, exhibition chill areas dotted around the site, restaurants or general public seating areas both inside and outside the building.) There is also The Baby Care Room on Level 0 of the Natalie Bell building which can be used if you prefer a more private and quiet setting.

Where are Baby Changing facilities at the TATE Modern?

All toilets on each floor have nappy changing facilities available and there is a Baby Care Room on Level 0 of the Natalie Bell building as well.

Young Londonist top tips for visiting TATE Modern

  • Spend some time outside both at the front (river facing) and the back in the cafe. Riverside you can find entertainers, musicians and artists and round the back at the Switch House you can often find artworks to admire and good coffee to drink.
  • Don’t try and do it all in one day – plan to visit a few floors and do something that is child friendly (they have lots of activities on) and come back for another visit.
  • Do visit the gift shops – they have an array of beautiful stock.
  • Bring a pencil and notebook so you can encourage your children to create their own masterpiece inspired by their favourite artwork.

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