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From 1916 Charleston was the home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and a rural retreat for the Bloomsbury group. Over the years the house was transformed and filled with furniture, textiles and art by them and their contemporaries including Picasso, Renoir, Sickert, Derain and Lamb. The Downland setting captures their pioneering, creative and Bohemian way of life. The walled garden was redesigned in a style reminiscent of southern Europe, with mosaics, box hedges, gravel pathways and ponds, but with a touch of Bloomsbury humour in the placing of the statuary. Special events: The Charleston Literary Festival every May, plus other events throughout the year.

Firle, LEWES, BN8 6LL
Phone : 01323 811626


  • Parking onsite
  • Cafe
  • Only ground floor of house accessible
  • Facilities: Hearing loop and on-site wheelchair
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Opening Times: Open Mar-Oct, Wed-Sun & BH Mon. Please see website for opening times

About The area

Discover East Sussex

East Sussex, along with its western counterpart, is packed with interest. This is a land of stately homes and castles, miles of breezy chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel, pretty rivers, picturesque villages and links to our glorious past. Mention Sussex to many people and images of the South Downs immediately spring to mind – ‘vast, smooth, shaven, serene,’ as the writer Virginia Woolf described them. She and her husband lived at Monk’s House in the village of Rodmell, near Lewes, and today, her modest home is managed by the National Trust and open to the public.

There are a great many historic landmarks within Sussex, but probably the most famous is the battlefield where William, Duke of Normandy defeated Harold and his Saxon army to become William the Conqueror of England. By visiting Battle, near Hastings, you can, with a little imagination, picture the bloody events that led to his defeat. East Sussex’s pretty towns such as Lewes, Rye and Uckfield have their charms, while the city of Brighton offers museums and fascinating landmarks, the best-known and grandest feature being the Royal Pavilion. 


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