Many Britons regard high culture with suspicion. Yet this gallery devoted to modern art effortlessly pulls in the punters and locals as well as the tourists, and ranks among London’s most-visited attractions. Part of its appeal is the building itself, fashioned by architects Herzog and De Meuron from a vast disused power station on the Thames’s south bank. In addition to blockbuster exhibits and live events, the gallery invites a prominent artist every year to transform its cavernous turbine hall: Chinese artist and dissident Ai Wei Wei blanketed the space with 100 million hand-sculpted and painted porcelain sunflower seeds in 2010; British artist Tacita Dean paid homage to 35mm filmmaking in 2011 with her 11-minute loop of grainy, flickering images projected onto a towering screen at the rear of the hall.
It would be easy to spend the entire day in the gallery, but you might want to get out and walk around the neighborhood: Enter foodie heaven in nearby Borough Market, where the delis and restaurants are open all week and a farmer’s market operates Friday and Saturday. Directly across the river from the Tate is St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s most celebrated building. To get there you cross the £18.2 million Millennium Bridge, a suspension footbridge completed in 2000, which quickly gained the sobriquet the “Wobbly Bridge.” (They’ve since fixed the wobble.)