The Tate Britain is by far my favorite museum in London. Most people think I am talking about the Tate Modern when I say this, so I have to be very clear: There is another museum in London called the Tate Britain!
While the Tate Modern receives outstanding attention from locals and tourists alike, the Tate Britain seems to be the underrated of the Tates. One might think that nothing goes on here or that it’s boring to look at old paintings, however each time I go the Tate Britain (and it has been about 10 times in the last year) I discover and learn something new. Not to mention, they rotate their BP Spotlight as seen above quite frequently. I have never seen the same thing there twice.
The first thing that is special about this Tate is that the art goes in chronological order. As you walk from room to room, you know you’re stepping forward in time. This is helpful for what I call “Museum Zombies” (people who go to art galleries because they think they should and they mindlessly wonder through the rooms without knowing what they’re looking at. I am a museum zombie in most other museums, but the chronology really helps.
The Second thing that is special about this Tate is that it is exclusively British art, or art by people who were living in Britain. One can spot the significance of the paintings in that period of time and how it relates today.
Tours, tours, tours
By far the most special part of this Tate are the free tours that happen at least three times daily. They’re always there on a rainy day when you don’t know what else to do in London or when you’re feeling lonely and you want to be among people, or when you feel like you’ve watched too many episodes of ___________ and you need to get out and experience something live! I’ve been on approximately eight tours and although I have been taken to the same paintings multiple times, I have never had the same tour guide or been given the same information. I’ve had one tour guide who was keen on talking about sexual scandal and I’ve had another who was “dry as dust”. But whoever you get, you’re sure to fall in love with the Tate and begin to understand how to approach a museum and make sense of your surroundings.
Here’s a small sample from the rainbow of the Tate Britain: