Literary Sussex #3 Alfriston and Charleston

Our final day in Sussex was spent in Alfriston and around Charleston. Alfriston has been a place of pilgrimage for us, for many years, because of Much Ado Books. Run by Cate and Nash, Much Ado Books is a fabulously curated book lover's heaven. There's always something new to enjoy and new, and old books, to take home.

When we were visiting Sussex every couple of weeks, for family reasons, many years ago, Alfriston was our bookshop therapy! I think the visits helped us to cope with difficult times. This visit was our first for a few years and it was wonderful, everything we had remembered.

We left Alfriston, after a walk around the Clergy House and Church and a quick toe into the South Downs, with a couple of bags of carefully selected and delicious books.

Next on our itinerary was a visit to Charleston Farm House. Charleston was the country house of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and is a wonderful example of their decorative style. Almost every surface imaginable is painted in their unique styles, even the bath panel! The house is a living, breathing work of art. Charleston became a gathering point for members of the Bloomsbury Group, some of the 20th century’s most radical artists, writers and thinkers. It is here that they lived out their progressive social and artistic ideals.

Our final destination was to be Virginia Woolf's house - Monk's House - at Rodmell, near Lewes. Another stunning property owned by members of the Bloomsbury Group. Unfortunately, we were a week too early and the house was still closed. So, we drove past instead, just to catch a glimpse...

After a quick stop off at Copthorne, to say goodbye to the family, we made the long journey home, promising ourselves that we would have a return visit very soon, hopefully this summer.