Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

Turner Contemporary is the South East's major new gallery. We celebrate JMW Turner's association with Margate, by showcasing historical and contemporary art through a rolling programme of exhibitions. We have regular events, many of which are free for you to take part in. Admission to the gallery is free.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays 10am-6pm
(closed Mondays except bank holidays)

Admission charges


Additional info

Turner Contemporary is fully accessible for visitors, with a ramp to the main entrance and café, as well as an internal lift to all upper floor galleries.

Seven disabled parking spaces are available on the piazza at the front of the gallery, as signposted.

Turner Contemporary Café is open Tuesday to Sunday, serving delicious hot and cold food and drinks, locally sourced where possible.

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Yinka Shonibare MBE

  • 22 March — 30 October 2016 *on now

As part of the 14-18 NOW programme of World War 1 Centenary Art commissions, Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery is transformed by two major works by leading contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Coinciding with the gallery’s fifth anniversary, Shonibare’s powerful work explores themes of conflict, empire and migration in the centenary year of The Battle of the Somme, poignantly shown at Turner Contemporary against the dramatic backdrop of the North Sea.

Co-commissioned by Turner Contemporary and 14-18 NOW, Shonibare’s newest sculptural work End of Empire explores how alliances forged in the First World War changed British society forever, and continue to affect us today. The new work features two figures dressed in the artist’s signature bright and patterned fabrics
their globe-heads highlighting the countries involved in the First World War. Seated on a Victorian see-saw, the entire work slowly pivots in the gallery space, offering a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, while symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.

Presented alongside this new commission is Shonibare’s The British Library, a colourful work, celebrating and questioning how immigration has contributed to the British culture that we live in today. Shelves of books covered in colourful wax fabric fill the Sunley Gallery, their spines bearing the names of first and second generation immigrants who have enriched British society. From T.S. Eliot and Hans Holbein to Zaha Hadid, The British Library reminds us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea

  • 8 October 2016 — 8 January 2017 *on now

Turner Contemporary is a partner on the UK tour of John Akomfrah’s multi-screen installation Vertigo Sea, premiered at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

A meditation on whaling, the environment and our relationship with the sea, the work is a film essay continuing the ‘recycled aesthetic’ of John Akomfrah’s recent gallery pieces, fusing archive material, original footage and readings from classical sources.

Shot on the Isle of Skye, in the Faroe Isles and in the North of Greenland and Norway, the film is inspired in part by two influential books: Hermand Meville’s Moby Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams’ Whale Nation (1988). Also referenced is the incident on board the slave ship Zong that led JMW Turner to paint The Slave Ship almost a century later, exhibiting it in 1840 to coincide with a meeting of the British Anti-Slavery Society.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Turner and Colour

  • 8 October 2016 — 8 January 2017 *on now

Following the success of Turner and the Elements in 2012, Turner Contemporary presents a major exhibition of work by JMW Turner and the fullest survey of the artist’s watercolours of Margate yet to be shown at the gallery.

Turner and Colour is the first exhibition to examine this fundamental theme in relation to Turner, exploring the familiar outline of his life and art in a new way. Colour is the essence of JMW Turner’s work, and his distinctive, sometimes eccentric use of vibrant colour was central to his success as an artist.

Featuring more than 70 works in both oil and watercolour, the exhibition highlights Turner’s engagement with developments in colour theory and his adoption and exploitation of new materials. Beginning with the more traditional ‘Old Master’ aesthetic that Turner quickly matched and then superseded, the exhibition charts the impact made by the artist’s experimental techniques.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Kashif Nadim Chaudry: Turner Contemporary’s Studio Group commission

  • 13 November 2016 — 31 May 2017

Turner Contemporary presents its fourth new commission for its Sunley Gallery with a major new work by Nottingham based artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry.

This commission has been selected and curated by Turner Contemporary’s Studio Group: a group of local artists and makers who first came together in 2012 to help produce Turner Contemporary’s first Sunley Gallery commission, Maria Nepomuceno’s Breathing Time (2012).

The Studio Group will work with Turner Contemporary to lead on the commission of a new artwork by Chaudry, working closely with the artist to creatively develop and make the work.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Turner Contemporary






01843 233000

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.