Modern and contemporary art housed in a sexy old power station
Shut in 1981, the monolithic Giles Gilbert Scott-designed mid-century power station Bankside re-opened in 2000 following a radical gutting and redevelopment as overseen by Swiss architects architects Herzog & de Meuron. An instant success, Tate Modern now ranks among the country's top attractions for not only visitors but Londoners too. The mammoth cavity-like Turbine Hall — annually 'converted' into a work of art by a major international artist — is alone enough of a draw. Upstairs are several galleries staging temporary exhibitions as well as Tate-collection works dating from 1900 onwards, from post-impressionism to abstract expressionism, pop art and well beyond. All in all, a major and very buzzy London destination, with several café/restaurant options and a sizeable basement bookshop. Gets crazy-busy on Saturdays. Great views overlooking the Thames, including the Millennium Bridge, which will take you to St Paul's. Also within reach: Borough Market [Fri and Sat foodie extravaganza by London Bridge, see entry], Southwark Cathedral and City Hall. Plus the historical walk along the river. Tube stations: Southwark and London Bridge.