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The Tate Modern Switch House: 5 reasons to rock up

Art lovers rejoice there is a new soaring building in town to inspire the pants off you. Five years in the making the Tate Modern’s new 10-storey Switch House has opened to much hype. Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron originally designed the conversion of the Tate Modern from the Bankside Power Station.  Their twisted pyramid-shaped extension has become another impressive visual marker on the London skyline.

The launch could not have been more timely. The start of the school summer holidays makes this a perfect day out to explore with your inquisitive mini explorers. Here are my five reasons why it has to be on your go-to list this summer with or without kids.

Tate Modern Switch House

1. Arts galore

The new building increases the size of the Tate Modern by 60 per cent and contains over 800 works by over 300 artists. Such is the buildings impact that it’s being lauded ‘as the most important cultural building to open in the UK since the British Library’. Plus it’s the first gallery space in the world ‘dedicated to live art, film and installations’.

Tate Modern Switch House

The primary role of any gallery or museum is to educate and engage. They’ve always felt like like super large classrooms to me, filled with things to explore and inspire.

Tate Modern Switch House

Ai Weiwei’s 2010 ‘Tree’ made from numerous dry branches, roots and trunks from different species of trees gathered by the artist from his native China sparked a river of questions from my four year old. Somehow the abundance ‘why?’ questions are not as annoying when uttered in a gallery. I think you’re just bloody grateful they’re taking an interest.

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And where else would you be able to explore a large floor-based rubber map of Beirut – ‘Beirut Caoutchouc 2004-2008’, an installation by Marwan Rechmaoui.

Tate Modern Switch House

Or have alone time for some quiet contemplation.

Tate Modern Switch House

2. It’s FREE!

In this current economic climate, we’re all watching our pennies. No need to with the Tate. Apart from a select few exhibits, much of the gallery is free to visitors.

Tate Modern Switch House

Like the sculptures from American pop artist Robert Indiana.

Tate Modern Switch House

There are times when the installations can cause problems. For example when you can’t tear your child (or an adult) from a room. Who knew the captivating qualities of a shadow.

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Kids get open access to some of the greatest and freshest art there is. The collection displays are free for everyone and if you do fancy an exhibition under 12’s go free.

3. Space to enjoy

The classic parent broken record of ‘be quiet’ or ‘behave’ can be left at the door. There is so much to do and see that these problems very quickly evaporate – Hallelujah! Plus all kids should experience running through the Turbine Hall at least once.

Tate Modern Switch House

Peek-a-boo is also a museum classic.

Tate Modern Switch House

As well as writing on the wall.

Tate Modern Switch House

On the fourth floor a new steel bridge provides an amazing view down across the Turbine Hall and connects the Switch House to the original Boiler House .

Tate Modern Switch House

The vast concrete space is staggeringly beautiful and at times and makes you feel like a small but significant dot in an ocean of imagination and ingenuity.

Tate Modern Switch House

4. Glorious views

Tate Modern Switch House

Ten floors of art is finished off with an amazing viewing platform. Housing a little café, you can take in magnificent views of the capital with a cup of tea and blueberry muffin in hand. The best free 360 degree high art in London! You can find a new restaurant and a members club at the heady heights too.

Tate Modern Switch House

The only problem is the time it takes to enter the lifts heading up to the lofty space. With an unprecedented numbers of visitors trying to squeeze into the lifts to see the breathtaking London landscape you will either a) lose patience watching packed lifts going past you or b) turn into an art installation yourself from sheer frustration.

Tate Modern Switch House

I suggest c) no matter which floor you’re on head to Level 0 that way you are eventually guaranteed entry. We only had this epiphany after five minutes of huffing, puffing and tutting.

5. Support the arts 

Yes, museums are free but to stay free for the masses they all need financial support to keep their doors open.

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We are extremely lucky to have these incredible places where you can nurture your thoughts, expand your mind, think out of the box, where there is no wrong answer and every idea counts.

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If you want them to be around for decades to come for future generations – make a donation. Even if it’s paying the recommended £1 for the visitor guide. Every little helps.

Tate Modern | Bankside | London | SE1 9TG | Website

Do you have a favourite museum or art gallery in London? Which places inspire you? Let me know in the comments below.

For more things to do in London, head to my 10 Money Saving Experiences in London.

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Tate Modern

26 Comments

  • Monisha 24th July 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Brilliant post! Love that gallery and can’t wait to go again! 🙂

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks lovely! Let’s plan another date!

  • kaleigh 24th July 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Looks like such a fun place! & those views are gorgeous!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:47 pm

      The best views in London Kaleigh x

  • fashionandstylepolice 25th July 2016 at 12:34 am

    Loving your beautiful photos. Good to know the gallery is free.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks so much! Most museums and galleries are free. It’s only select exhibitions you have to pay for. x

  • Lubka Henry 25th July 2016 at 5:09 am

    I absolutely love going to Tate Modern. Everything there – from the vast industrial architecture, through the art exhibitions and the amazing city views – deserves attention.

    Great captures!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:43 pm

      You’ll have to go see the new extension Lubka if you haven’t already. x

  • Analesha 25th July 2016 at 6:59 am

    What a beautiful place with such a gorgeous view. Great post x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you Analesha x

  • Nazrin Miah 25th July 2016 at 12:16 pm

    You are incredibly lucky to be able to run away to these places and nurture your thoughts! I have to drive miles and miles o find a nice spot where I can pour my thoughts into! The museum looks amazing!

    http://www.shewillneverlose.com

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 1:44 pm

      I know Nazrin. Lucky to be living in such a beautiful city x

  • Sophie 25th July 2016 at 2:41 pm

    The Tate modern is an awesome art gallery that I still would love to visit when I’m next in London – especially since it’s free. The V&A museum is great too, check it out if you haven’t already!

    There’s something about looking at art that is so peaceful!

    Sophie – eselle x

  • Maelonni @ Adventures of Maelonni 25th July 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Your pictures are great!! I don’t live near by, so it’s nice to get a preview of what it’s like to be at that art gallery. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Amy | Toothbrush Travels 25th July 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I can’t believe that I haven’t actually been to the Tate Modern yet but every time I’m London I can’t help but gravitate towards the Natural History Museum – I’m a total sucker for that place! Those views are incredible though! xo

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th July 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Next time make sure you gravitate towards the Tate Amy x

  • Gerry Masone 25th August 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Nick Serota’s achievement at Tate has been indisputably considerable. He turned 70 in April and he shows no evident signs of slowing down although perhaps there are hints that he’s more prepared to delegate than he was before. We talked standing on the bridge in the vastness of the Turbine Hall — the breathtaking industrial space straddling the Boiler House and the Switch House.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 25th August 2016 at 8:45 pm

      I loved the view of the Turbine Hall from the bridge too Gerry. It has to be my favourite gallery in London.

  • Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) 19th October 2016 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been to the new wing a couple of times, but still need to take the kids. You’re right, it’s a remarkable place. I’m here from #MondayEscapes but this would be perfect for my new #CulturedKids linky, live the 1st Friday of each month. I’d be delighted if you were able to link up on 4 Nov!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 20th October 2016 at 11:13 am

      Thanks Nell! I’ll def try and link up, lets hope I don’t forget. I need to set myself reminders with all the great linkys around.

      • Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) 4th November 2016 at 1:46 pm

        Thanks Sima! I really appreciate you taking the time to link up with #CulturedKids.

        • Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) 4th November 2016 at 1:47 pm

          ps. I managed to get the #CulturedKids badge working again – phew! The code’s on the link-up page. Thanks for joining in!

          • Sima Sthanakiya 4th November 2016 at 11:29 pm

            Thanks for hosting Nell. Badge up on the post x

  • Lisa (Travel Loving Family) 28th October 2016 at 9:44 am

    Good to know that there is enough to keep kids entertained! I have never dared visit with my two. Its incredible that we have free access to such a fabulous resource isn’t it. Your photos are superb. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • Sima Sthanakiya 28th October 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Oh you really must Lisa when you’re able to. Its my go to place with and without the kids. A gallery/museum is my mooching happy place.

  • Elizabeth (Wander Mum) 14th November 2016 at 6:08 am

    Great post! I have been since this opened…thanks for the reminder! Didn’t know about the rooftop cafe either – amazing views! #culturedkids

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