Yes I know, it’s not like they’re an insider tip, I think London’s museums may not need too much in the way of PR from me. But they are great and must be mentioned in the “Ten things….” blog or else I will never ever be permitted to set foot in London again. So what, you rightfully ask, are my favorite things within those museums? While the exhibits are great and the Tate Modern contains one of my favorite exhibits ever, I will have to say it’s the sheer architecture itself that keeps me returning again and again. Before I jump into that I want to also point out that museums in London are free, although a donation is appreciated, and I always marvel at how crowded they are and how often I find people just there to idle, or to sketch or a dad explaining the concept of mummies to his five year old. Museums in London are a living, breathing part of a living, breathing city. Culture as part of life, not an afterthought.
The grande dame of museums surely, the building’s Greek revival exterior (opened to the public in 1759) belies the Great Court the main doors open onto. The largest covered square in Europe, the effect of the glass dome over blinding white stone surfaces never ceases to amaze. It is a glass and steel construction made with 1656 uniquely shaped panes of glass, for those of you who need numbers.
In stark contrast to the British Museum’s classic exterior comes now the forbidding facade of the Tate Modern, a former power station complete with turbine halls that house larger than life exhibits. My favorite however is by Cornelia Parker, 30 pieces of silver and I must say images just don’t do it justice, so just get over there. Hey, Richard Branson!! I need a ppc ad here!!
The other favorite at the Tate is not in the Tate, it’s the view from it. It’s one of views of London I love the most and having drinks at the bar on the top floor while looking at this is pretty hard to beat.
And as usual when I get going I can’t stop, so I will put together a part two to talk about two more favorites.