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.

In Spring 2018, the gallery ran a successful Art Happens to bring Paula the polar bear to Margate. They raised over £15,000 to take their exhibition, Animals & Us, out of the gallery and onto the beach to get everyone talking about climate change.

Permanent collection

Turner Contemporary has no permanent collection of its own. The programme of temporary exhibitions focuses on art from 1750 to the present that has a dialogue with Turner's work and legacy.

Turner Contemporary

Free to all

Rendezvous, Margate, Kent, CT9 1HG

01843 233000


Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday plus Bank Holidays

10am - 5pm

Last entry is at 4pm

Plan your visit


Please remember, anyone with coronavirus symptoms should not come to the gallery. You should follow government guidelines and stay at home.

What to expect on your visit

  • Enhanced cleaning is in place
  • Sanitiser points are still available throughout the gallery.
  • Our shop is open with contactless payments preferred. You can also browse our online shop here and place a ‘click and collect’ order for your visit.
  • Our public lockers are available for use.
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

With a National Art Pass you get

10% off in shop
Enjoy 10% off shop purchases at the Turner Contemporary with your National Art Pass
Valid until December 2022

Ready to discover more? Choose your pass

Exhibitions and events at Turner Contemporary

Exhibitions nearby

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