London - The City of Art
In the heart of the Trafalgar Square stands the National Gallery in its full glory of marble and fountains. Inside, the gallery houses some of the world's most important paintings from as far back as the 13th century: you can gaze upon the works of Botticelli, Titian, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Raphael, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne or Van Gogh, and this is a highly abbreviated list. The National Gallery was built in 1833 in an attempt to outshine Paris's Louvre and it makes art more accessible to all with free admission, a central location and extended hours. The collection is so big that it is easy to miss many of the greatest works of European art here.
On the other end of the spectrum is Tate Modern. It is London's most visited and innovative gallery. A hip, immensely successful addition to the London gallery landscape, it is housed inside a striking 1930s power station. The journey here alone is an adventure in itself. As you cross the river on the Blade of Light Millennium Bridge, you must admire the startling contrast between historic St. Paul's Cathedral and this ultra modern art gallery. The interior space itself is as attractive as the collections and exhibitions. The space is a glorious, unpretentious playground of modern art, as appealing to children and amateurs as it is to adults and art experts. Permanent collections include works by Bacon, Matisse, Rothko and Andy Warhol as well as the best of contemporary British art. The Tate Modern is more of an event than a museum visit, especially since passing judgment on the latest controversial temporary exhibit inside the giant turbine hall has become almost a civic pastime among art- loving Londoners.