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

From 5 April to 30 October 2022, hours will be:

Tuesday to Sunday plus Bank Holidays

10am - 5pm

Last entry is at 4pm

Plan your visit

The safety of our visitors and staff is our highest priority. We are maintaining the majority of measures that were implemented to manage the risks from COVID-19. These include: pre-booking, wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.

Booking before your visit is essential.

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

Back to top