Turner Contemporary

Just like its namesake, Turner Contemporary – which opened in April 2011 following a £17 million development – bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary art.

JMW Turner loved Margate; he first visited aged 11 when his parents sent him to school in Love Lane. After returning to sketch the town aged 21, he became a regular visitor. More than 100 of Turner’s works were inspired by the East Kent coast. It was the unique quality of light in this part of Kent that drew Turner back – he remarked to the influential art critic John Ruskin that 'the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe'.  

Turner’s relationship with his landlady in Margate, Mrs Booth, was clearly special to him – he even called himself ‘Mr Booth’ after the death of her husband. Mrs Booth’s seafront guest house was originally situated on the same site where the gallery has been built.

Turner Contemporary was nominated for the Art Fund Prize 2012.

Permanent collections

Turner Contemporary has no permanent collection of its own, but thanks to its partnership with Tate there's always a supply of Turners on display – the gallery promises at least one at any time. The programme of temporary exhibitions focuses on art from 1750 to the present that has a dialogue with Turner's work and legacy.

Visitor information

There's a café with an outdoor terrace, where sea breezes whet the appetite. It serves breakfast, lunch, teas and early suppers, and offers a takeaway service if you want to take your snack onto the beach. The well-stocked shop sells books, contemporary jewellery and gifts.


Venue details

Turner Contemporary Lifeboat Station, The Rendezvous, Margate Kent CT9 1HG 01843 233 000 www.turnercontemporary.org

Entry details

Free to all

Tue – Sun and Bank Holidays, 10am – 6pm
Closed 25 – 26 Dec

Member offers

10% off shop and café purchases

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