The early 20th century home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston has become a bit of a pilgrimage site for those that love the work of the Bloomsbury group – or even just those with an appreciation of the decorative arts. This richly adorned farmhouse is a must to visit and marvel at. Inside, hand-painted motifs, patterns and frescos adorn every available surface. Outside, a tranquil painter’s garden awaits.
Farleys House and Gallery
Less well-known than Charleston, but equally enchanting, is Farleys House and Gallery. Once home to photographers Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, Farleys brims over with colour and creativity. The house has been left very much as it was when it was lived in, as if its original occupants have just stepped out to entertain their many artistic guests (which included Picasso and Man Ray) – some of whom have work now on show in the house.
Long Man of Wilmington
If a leg-stretching ramble is on the cards, we suggest heading over to the South Downs where you’ll find the Long Man of Wilmington. A wonderful way to take in this striking figure, laid out on the side of a hill, is by taking a route through the charming villages of Jevington, Folkington and Wilmington. On your way you’ll also spot Norman churches, burial mounds and a 1,600 year old yew tree.
If you’ve room for an evening gown or tuxedo in the car, you may like to spend an evening at Glyndebourne. This eccentric British institution puts on operatic performances, where guests are encouraged to picnic in the garden during long intervals, and formal attire is a must. As Vita Sackville-West said, “The graciousness of civilisation here surely touches a peak where the arts of music, architecture and gardening combine…”