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The Tate Modern is one of the best modern art museums in the world, also featuring some of the world's most innovative contemporary art exhibitions. Our Tate Modern Tour, led by an art historian or curator, is a rich, immersive experience for anyone looking to track the development of art throughout the modern age, from its origins in the early 20th centuries, through surrealism, postmodernism, and up to today.
We will begin by discussing the history of Tate Modern, particularly the conversion and opening of the gallery in a disused power station in 2000. We will also look into the history of the area, Southwark, and its historical associations with entertainment and industry. Once inside, we will spend some time in the Turbine Hall, which usually features a current installation, before moving into the permanent collection. As we move around the gallery, we will discuss Tate Modern's ground-breaking hang, which challenges the convention of displaying art chronologically and is instead organized around four wings, each of which is centered on a seminal artistic moment of the twentieth century.
As we work our way through twentieth-century art we will discuss why certain styles and movements proliferated at this time and examine different artists and works in relation to not only the artistic tradition but also the socio-political climate of the period. We will begin with early challenges to traditional modes of painting, focusing on Cubism, which was pioneered by Picasso and Braque and which questioned the way in which we perceive things, alongside the works of the colorist Henri Matisse, who wanted his art to have the effect of a good armchair on a tired businessman. Tate Modern has one of the finest Surrealist collections in the world; in relation to works by Dali, Magritte, and Miro, we will discuss the beginnings of the movement in the 1920s, its attempts to produce an art of the unconscious, and its ability to question our ideas about reality. Giacometti's sculptures of slender figures will begin an inquiry into how the trauma of World War I and World War II affected modes of representing the human figure as well as the relationship between art and humanity.
Want to see another seminal London museum? Try our National Gallery Tour.
We will also look at Marcel Duchamp's radical use of unconventional materials and ready-made objects in the early 1900s and his influence on mid-twentieth century artists such as Andy Warhol, who represents pop art and how it challenged consumer culture; Joseph Beuys, who represents conceptual art and its emphasis of idea over object; and Donald Judd, who represents minimalism and its strongly abstracted works using modern, industrial materials. Last but not least, we will examine works by contemporary practitioners, considering not only their context, but also their place in the trajectory of twentieth-century art.
At the end of our time together we will have a deeper understanding of 20th century art and the work of several practicing contemporary artists. This walk perfectly compliments our Thames River Tour, which takes us down the banks of the River Thames towards Tate Modern.
London’s Tate Modern and Tate Britain hold some of the country’s pre-eminent collections of historic and contemporary art. Visiting both museums via a boat ride along the Thames is a chance to see how ideas and artistic processes flow through time. By selecting works shown in the galleries’ permanent collections, Joshua will chart the evolution of different art movements and media.
A writer and lecturer at Sotheby’s, Christie's, specialising in modern and contemporary art, Joshua also freelances as a lecturer in art for the Tate museums and the National Portrait Gallery. Growing up in London, he has witnessed first-hand the city’s emergence as a centre of the global contemporary art scene.
A frequent contributor to Flash Art magazine and co-presenter of The Art Channel, your guide always has the inside track on what to see – one of the many reasons we enjoy gallery-hopping with him and getting his expert take on London’s emerging artists and must-see exhibitions.
When your booking is confirmed, you will receive comprehensive details about your experience, including Joshua's contact details and the meeting location. You will also receive a pre-experience questionnaire, which is essential for Joshua to be able to tailor your tour to your interests.
You will meet Joshua at the Tate Modern, where he will select works out of the permanent collections to illustrate how artistic creation has evolved in style and medium. Then, taking to the Thames by boat, you will go on to Tate Britain, where Joshua will identify early British works that continue to inspire artists today. He’ll give his insight into the connections between diverse styles, from self-expressive painting to conceptual works inspired by mathematics.
The whole tour lasts around three hours, and includes some light refreshments.
A boat trip down the Thames links the two Tates and provides a wonderful panorama of London from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to St. Paul's and the City of London. You alight on the South Bank for the Tate Modern, the famous conversion of the Bankside Power Station (1957-60) which took place during the 1990's to house the 20 C. collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. Apart from the exciting modern collection of paintings, sculptures, and objects, it enjoys from the top floor splendid views over the Thames towards St. Paul's, to which it has been linked by the Millennium pedestrian bridge by Norman Foster. It also contains an imposing collection of modern European masterpieces from the beginning of the 20 C with great works by the Italian futurists like Boccioni or metaphysical painters like De Chirico, French masterpieces in sculpture and paintings like Degas' Dancers, Matisse, Picasso and an impressive collection of American Abstract Expressionists.
This in-depth private tour is hosted by a professional guide specializing in art history. Please list any special interests you have (art, architecture, history, culture) at time of booking to alert our guide, so that he or she can better prepare for your private tour.
Leave central London by luxury coach and relax in comfort as you travel to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. On arrival, after around an hour on the road, head inside to see the impressive sets that featured in the Harry Potter films.
Spend the next three hours exploring independently. Walk past many of the intricately made costumes and props — like Hagrid’s motorcycle — that helped bring J.K. Rowling’s books to life on screen. Uncover closely guarded secrets about the mind-blowing special effects and animatronics that made sets such as the Great Hall and Dumbledore’s office so magical.
Have your camera ready as you explore the famous Platform 9 ¾. Pose for photos with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall and marvel at the smoke billowing from the original Hogwarts Express steam engine.
Stroll along the famous cobblestoned pavements of Diagon Alley, and look out for familiar-looking shops like Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, which was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Then, delve into Professor Umbridge’s office in the Ministry of Magic.
Other memorable sets include the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut and the unmistakable Potions classroom.
When the time comes, meet back with your coach at the prearranged time. Your tours then concludes at London Victoria Railway Station.
TM & © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
Leave London Victoria by luxury Mercedes coach, and relax in your comfortable seat as you journey to the incredible Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter. After roughly one hour on the road, head inside the studios and explore independently, seeing the authentic sets, costumes and props that brought the Harry Potter movies to life.
Stroll along the famous cobblestoned pavements of Diagon Alley and keep an eye out for familiar-looking shops like Gringotts Wizarding Bank that was featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Learn about the special effects and animatronics that created wizardry in sets like the Great Hall and Dumbledore’s office. Then, visit the Ministry of Magic, where you can venture into Professor Umbridge’s office to learn about the mythical government that rules the Harry Potter community.
Make sure to bring your camera as tantalizing photo opportunities abound behind every corner. Snap photos of the glass ceiling and yellow brick walls of Platform 9 ¾, which has been transferred from Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Then, marvel at the Hogwarts Express steam engine and see into the carriage that was featured in some of the saga’s most memorable scenes.
At the pre-arranged time, meet your host back on board your coach and return to central London in comfort.
TM & © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR
Begin where Harry started, at the Cupboard Under the Stairs, before watching an enchanting welcome video and heading into The Great Hall – one of the biggest sets at the studios. As you travel through, see an unbelievable selection of actual costumes, props and special effects pieces, all kept in pristine condition.
As you explore the studios, see The Burrow, Hagrid’s Hut, the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore’s office and much more. From small details like Dumbledore’s Pensieve to the larger pieces like the fantastic animatronic door to the Chamber of Secrets. Have fun riding a broom through London at the Green Screen exhibit and board the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9¾. See Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, buy a Butterbeer™ on the backlot and get up close to the prosthetics and animatronics in the special effects department – there is so much to see you will be thankful to have an extended time to take it all in.
Make your own way to the Great Portland Street Tube Station in central London, and then settle into your comfortable seat aboard a luxury coach and travel to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter. After roughly an hour on the road, arrive and head inside to see the magical sets, costumes, and props that helped turn J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter novels into one of the most successful film series in the world.
Following in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, spend the next 3.5 hours independently exploring the studios. Wander along Diagon Alley and pose in front of Ollivanders wand shop, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and more. Visit, too, the Ministry of Magic, where you can learn about the mythical government that rules the Harry Potter community.
Find out about the animatronics and makeup that breathed life into Dobby and the Death Eaters, as well as the special effects that created wizardry in the Great Hall and Dumbledore’s office. Then, make for Platform 9 ¾, where you can pose with the disappearing luggage trolley and see steam billowing from the original Hogwarts Express train. Should you feel hungry during your visit, you can purchase lunch at the Studio Café or enjoy butterbeer and snacks in the backlot (own expense).
Next, return to your coach and continue to Oxford. On arrival in the City of Dreaming Spires, meet a guide and stretch your legs on a walking tour. Stroll down streets lined with grand, timeworn buildings and see ivy-strewn colleges, hidden passageways, grand dining halls, and lavish libraries — including Christ Church College, the Bodleian Library, and other famous sights.
After your tour, enjoy some free time to continue sightseeing independently before heading back to your coach and returning to London, where your tour concludes at the original start point.
TM & © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR
Please note: Tour Itinerary runs in reverse on Wednesdays.
Meet your group near the Marble Arch in the early morning (times vary depending on the season) and take a short journey north of London to Warner Bros. Studio London. Prepare to enter the magic world that awaits on the Warner Bros. Studio London – The Making of Harry Potter tour. You will experience the magic that has gone into the creation of one of the most beloved franchises of all-time, Harry Potter. See the studio where all eight movies were filmed.
Begin your 3.5-hour studio tour by entering the Great Hall of Hogwarts, instantly you are catapulted into the wizarding world. Then, continue on to Dumbledore's office, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive, the Gryffindor common room, the Weasley kitchen, Hagrid's Hut, and Diagon Alley. Step onto the Hogwarts Express and sit down in the carriages as Hogwarts Castle steams away at the end of platform 9 3/4 . Discover behind-the-scenes secrets. See the intricate prosthetic and makeup work that transformed actors into amazing creatures.
Climb aboard the mini-coach and journey to historic Oxford, following the studio tour. Join your guide for a 60-minute walking tour of this famous university city. Admire the beautiful architecture and serene landscape of England's oldest university, founded in 1167. Stroll through the city center and by the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, and some selected colleges. Then, you will be treated to an interior tour of the 15th century School of Divinity, the highlight of your time in Oxford. Admire the vaulted ceiling with 455 roof carvings of the benefactor's crests and initials. You will immediately recognize this location that was featured in the scene where our heroes learned to dance in the Goblet of Fire and where Harry recovered in his hospital bed in the Chamber of Secrets. Go on to see Christ Church, Corpus Christi, Magdalen, All Souls, Hertford, Trinity, and St. John's. Spend some free time (approximately one hour) to continue exploring the grounds or to shop at your leisure.
Return to London after a full-day of exploration and magic. You will be dropped off at Victoria Train Station in the center of London.
Your journey starts in Central London where you'll meet your tour representative. Travel by train directly to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.
When you arrive, enjoy timed access and be greeted by a dedicated Studio Tour guide who reveals the wonders you'll encounter throughout your tour of the original sets, props, and costumes from all eight of the Harry Potter films. You will be given your own personal headset to ensure you do not miss any of the fascinating behind-the-scenes facts.
Start your experience with a short film in the cinema before you enter the iconic Great Hall set. Your guide shares production secrets and inside information and tells you about the processes used to bring the films to life. Take a look inside Dumbledore’s office, and walk along cobbled Diagon Alley, which features the shop fronts of Ollivanders, Flourish and Blotts, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Bank, and Eeylops Owl Emporium. Visit the original Hogwarts Express locomotive and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. Climb aboard the train carriage, and pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.
Other sets you can see include the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s Hut, the Potions classroom, and Professor Umbridge's office at the Ministry of Magic. Throughout your tour, you'll be captivated by secrets and insights from your guide.
Once your guided tour comes to an end, you have the option to re-enter the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London at your leisure, find that perfect Harry Potter souvenir at the Studio Shop, or purchase a coffee at the Studio Tour Cafe. When you are ready to head back to central London, your representative will have your provided train ticket and information needed for an easy journey.
This guided experience at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is the only tour of its kind, so if you're a fan of the wizarding world, it's a must-do.
In that paragon of travel documentaries, National Lampoon's European Vacation, there is a scene in which Ellen Griswold (Beverly D'Angelo) forgets to lock the door on the shared bathroom in their London hotel. A man comes in to brush his teeth and is pleasantly surprised when Ellen—washcloth over face and believing the man to be her hubby, Clark—calls to him from the bathtub to join her. Shock and hilarity ensue. The accidental intruder was played by none of ther than Robbie Coltrane, 16 years before he embodied Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.