This weekend we took advantage of the winter sunshine and took the kids for a walk along London’s South Bank and in to the Tate Modern.
We both feel it is important to try and show culture to our kids and, as we live in London, we would be idiots to not get them to see all that this city has to offer. P.s Picture above was done by my 8 year old son!
The day began with a tube journey to Borough Market were we battled through the tourists to gorge on paella, indian thali and (astronomically priced) Baklava. I needed a coffee after that to wash down the bad taste i had in my mouth caused by emptying of my tight northern pockets.
It’s a great walk to the Tate Modern from Borough Market. You take in London Bridge (no longer falling down apparently) the Golden Hind (or pirate ship to a 3 year old) and The Globe Theatre (where Peppa Pig never performs for some reason.)
By the time we got to the Tate Modern the tendons on my arm, from carrying the little one, were stretched beyond belief. So we persuaded both kids to take a look in the ‘big castle’ – this is our catch-all phrase for any large building and works to get them interested!!!
Inside the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall
I have always liked the turbine hall at the Tate Modern and have visited as many of the exhibitions as I could. I am not sure any piece has really topped the first one they did. Maman, a huge metal spider, by Louise Bourgeoise, made brilliant use of the space and, unless you were arachnophobic, impressed you with its size and scale.
The latest installation is Empty Lot by Abraham Cruzvillegas. It is essentially a triangular grid of mini garden beds full of soil from gardens, parks and green spaces around London.
Nothing has been planted in the soil and all that grows is what would have been in the earth when it was transported.
Big spiders are easy to explain to a kid. When it all gets very conceptual you have to try and find a common ground.
Thankfully some of the earth was brought from spaces near where we live so we could ‘distract’ them with pointing out mud from a local park or school.
It clicked for our eldest when he realised it was like a map of green spaces in London and that we could view them all in one go.
The plant beds are held up by a labyrinth of scaffold poles which form a maze which our kids were quite happy to bomb around for half an hour or so. Thankfully the Tate Modern is keen to get kids in to its space and share culture so they are not militant when it comes to children playing hide and seek in their establishment.
They also know how to get kids excited about art and culture. A visit to the family room and kids can explore the library of work held by the Tate Modern on an interactive touch screen.
My son was fascinated by how it works and even more excited when a pair of boobs appeared on the screen which he could touch and make bigger. That’s my boy.
All in all the Tate Modern is a fantastic stop over on your walk down the Thames and, thanks to it huge space, does not feel confined which, when with kids, is the last thing you want to feel.
It looks like the Tate Modern will get even better when the new extension opens this June. At the moment scaffolding covers the new building but anything to make this fantastic museum even better is good in our book.