One of my favourite cheap things to do in London when friends are visiting is to do ‘Tate to Tate‘, as I have recently named it. This involves (obviously) visiting both Tates – Britain and Modern – in the space of an afternoon. It’s made very easy: you just take the river boat which goes direct from Tate Modern to Tate Britain (or the other way round) for a small fee. Even though it’s not completely free, it’s worth remembering that unlike in most other European countries, you don’t pay to get into either museum. There are exhibitions which you need to buy tickets for, but if it’s not something you really want to see, it’s not always worth paying for, & you can spend a perfectly busy afternoon in the free parts…
Prices from http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-boat
- Adults – £6.50 single, £12 return
- Tate Members – £4.90
- Child under 16 with Travelcard – £2.15
- Travelcard holder or London Student Card Single £4.30
- Children under 5 travel for free
The Tate Britain is one of my favourite places to visit in London, mainly because it is mostly free, but partly because the building is so beautiful. There are, of course, paying exhibitions on all the time, but it’s not always worth it. The Gary Hume and Patrick Caulfield exhibitions are on at the moment, and while they’re great to see if you have a pass which lets you in without paying (as I do) I wouldn’t recommend paying £14.50 to go. Probably the best thing to visit at Tate Britain is the “BP Walk through British Art” – and this is what the gallery has to say about it:
The BP Walk through British Art offers a circuit of Tate Britain’s unparalleled collection from its beginnings to its end. This ‘walk through time’ has been arranged to ensure that the collection’s full historical range, from 1545 to the present, is always on show. There are no designated themes or movements; instead, you can see a range of art made at any one moment in an open conversational manner.
Basically, it’s a collection of British art from the past 500 years, laid out in a way which means you’re walking through time. It’s so interesting to see art curated like this – it’s so easy to see how the styles evolved over the centuries, and how everything from painting techniques to subject matter has changed. As well as paintings, there are also sculptures on display, by leading artists like Henry Moore. The great thing about the Walk Through British Art is that it’s so massive, you don’t have to spend much time on each painting. And because you haven’t paid to get in, you don’t feed bad zooming through until you see something which really catches your interest…
In the middle of London’s financial district, right next to the river Thames, lies an unlikely haven of peace and quiet. Situated on top of a shopping centre frequented by bankers and tourists alike, the New Change roof terrace is surprisingly silent. It’s high up enough that you can’t hear the traffic (apart from the occasional siren) but not high enough that you can see the river. This means the view is particularly interesting – you can see all the usual landmarks like Westminster Abbey, the Shard, the Gherkin and Battersea Power Station but you wouldn’t know that there was a river 100m in front of you… You can also get a totally fascinating close-up view of the lovely gargoyles on St Paul’s Cathedral – something every visitor to the city should see.
The best things about the roof are these: 1. You can bring your own food up there so you don’t necessarily need to eat in the ultra chic Madison tapas bar… 2. Not many people know about it, so it’s always really quiet and calm. (The perfect environment for yoga actually. Maybe someone will introduce lunchtime classes? You never know.)