Situated in the heart of the South Downs, Charleston was the home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Pioneers of early 20th century British art, Bell and Grant created a hub of artistic and intellectual activity at Charleston with visitors including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster and many others.
Charleston is a unique example of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s decorative style within a domestic context and represents the fruition of over sixty years of artistic creativity, from 1916 to 1978.
Inspired by Italian fresco painting and the Post-Impressionists, the artists decorated the walls, doors and furniture at Charleston. 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.
The rooms on show form a complete example of the decorative art of the Bloomsbury artists: murals, painted furniture, ceramics, objects from the Omega Workshops, paintings and textiles. The collection includes work by Renoir, Picasso, Derain, Matthew Smith, Sickert, Tomlin and Delacroix.
Charleston is presented to look as it did when the family lived here.
To provide an intimate visitor experience and to protect the collection, entry to the house is timed and limited.
Without pre-booking online, during popular times you may not be able enter the house straight away. If you choose to buy tickets on the day of your visit, it is advisable to buy your House tickets from the shop on your arrival at Charleston.
While you wait for entry to the House, there are plenty of other things to see and do at Charleston, including visiting our charming Garden, as well as visiting the Shop and Cafe. We also have free Walking Maps which you can follow to explore the beautiful South Downs.
Guided Tours: Wednesday – Saturday
Entry to the house is by guided tour. In small groups of up to ten, discover the narrative behind Charleston’s rich history and explore our unique Bloomsbury interiors and varied collection with an expert guide. After the tour you will have time to enjoy our Garden and grounds at leisure. Tickets are sold online in advance and onsite on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. The Charleston Tour lasts one hour, and tours run regularly throughout the afternoon.
Timed Entry: Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
Up to ten rooms in the House are stewarded and you are invited to explore at your own pace. Entry is by timed ticket, and includes access to the Garden and grounds. Entry is limited to ten tickets every ten minutes to ensure visitors have space and time to enjoy the house and to protect the collection. Volunteer stewards are positioned in every room to answer your questions and bring the collection to life. Tickets are sold online in advance and onsite on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. These are the best days to bring small children.
The House & Garden are open from 1 March to 29 October 2017. Please see here for further details of opening times.