The unexpectedly controversial viewing platform on the 10th floor of the Tate Modern has reopened to the public, more than three years after it had to close.

The impetus for the closure was the pandemic, but what kept it closed was a long running and highly controversial court case brought against the Tate by the owners of the flats behind the art gallery.

They argued that people being able to look into their homes was an invasion of privacy, and while I am sympathetic to their plight, the viewing platform was announced before the flats were built, so they could hardly argue that they were unaware that they were going to be living next to a building with a viewing platform on it. To the considerable surprise of many, they not only argued that the Tate was breaching their privacy, they won.

For a while, it looked as if the top floor viewing gallery may have to remain closed forever, but it has reopened at long last – at least it’s partially open and with lots of “no photos” signs dotted around the residential facing areas.

It reopened on Monday, as the renamed Level 10, with a small cafe inside, and on three sides now, an exterior walkway with views, strictly policed only of the non-residential sides. So strictly, that when on the western side pointing my camera northwards to the river and absolutely not at the millionaire’s flats, I was still told to stop taking photos.

There are signs asking people to be respectful of their neighbour’s privacy, and now tape barriers block access to the south side that overlooks the irate flat owners.

Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot to see on the south side of the viewing platform, so other than an emotional sense of loss and irritation about the neighbour’s behaviour, in practice, it’s not a huge loss of actually interesting things to look at.

That’s because the main views are northwards, towards the City and beyond. You can just about make out the Wembley Arch, and much closer St Paul’s Cathedral, the City skyscraper cluster and over towards Canary Wharf, and if you peer around the other side, the Crystal Palace TV towers.

One of the nicer things about this viewing gallery is that it’s outside — you’re on a covered walkway which is shaded from the weather, but open enough to give you a better sense of being outside.

Now that it has reopened, all you need to do is take the lift right up to the top floor, and you can sit in the cafe, or just go straight out onto the viewing walkway, which is completely free to visit. You don’t need tickets to visit.

The reopened Level 10 is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with the last entry at 4:45pm, and can be accessed by lift from Levels 0 to 4.

Other central London viewing platforms include:

The Monument

Westminster Cathedral

The London Eye

The Sky Garden

The Lookout

The Post Building

Garden at 120

The View from the Shard

Horizon 22 – coming soon


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. Tammy says:

    Wow. Money really is power where the neighbours are concerned

  2. Iain says:

    You can add 8 Bishopsgate to your list now too.

  3. Jon Howard says:

    This means genuine art lovers will not be able to get in the lifts because all of the tourists will filling them up so they can have a free look around London views.

    • ianVisits says:

      With eight large lifts covering floors 0-4 for the exhibitions, I can’t see how that’s going to be an issue.

  4. S Moore says:

    And I’d like to vent and say how PATHETIC it is that the Tate, a gallery in one of the world’s great capital cities, shuts at 5pm.

  5. Kiran says:

    Neighbours spelt wrongly

    • john says:

      It’s spelt correctly – it’s a possessive apostrophe. Although I’d argue that it should be plural, e.g. “respectful of their neighbours’ privacy”.

      Same with “not at the millionaires’ flats” 🙂

  6. A. I. M. says:

    The flats were built long before the proposal of the viewing platform was even discussed. I’m not sure where you got your information from but it’s very, very wrong.
    But of course it doesn’t effect you. I wonder if someone built a viewing platform outside your lounge window if your views would be the same. Highly doubtful

    • ianVisits says:

      Although Neo Bankside was completed in 2012, and the Tate’s Blavatnik Building not until 2016, both filed planning applications in 2006 – and were approved within weeks of each other in 2007.

      Neo Bankside’s developers knew full well that a viewing gallery was being planned by the Tate when both applications were filed.

  7. Der Klös says:

    I visited Tate Modern in 2018 and I did some photos to the south direction. Perhaps in a few years I will be able to sell them as rarities… haha.

  8. Alex says:

    The lift situation is dire, no consideration for users with accessibility issues. Sometimes waiting up to 20 minutes for a lift with space so we can take the buggy. Plenty of able bodied people refusing to use the stairs.

    • ianVisits says:

      As the viewing gallery is on the 10th floor seems a bit much to expect people to walk all the way up, and remeber, not all disabilities are visible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Home >> News >> London News