As pioneers of modern British art, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and their unconventional household created a messy hub of artistic activity at Charleston.
Charleston was also importantly the home of Vanessa Bell’s three children, Julian, Quentin and Angelica, who all loved the freedom of the countryside and the unusual experience of growing up in an artists’ home.
Visiting Charleston with Children
Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays are the perfect days to explore Charleston for visitors with children. The free-flow visit experience of Sundays is designed to be best suited to the flexible needs of families. Timed entry tickets allow visitors to explore the house at their own pace, with volunteer stewards in each room to help bring objects, art and decorative schemes to life and answer your burning questions. Discover the hidden stories behind important objects and take as much or little time as you like in your favourite rooms.
Older children may enjoy our guided tours which take place Wednesday-Saturday, but please be advised that during guided tours the opportunities to talk or interact as a family are very limited. Feedback from families suggests the flexibility of Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday visits is often preferred.
For all visits, to ensure you can enter the house at your preferred time, we recommend booking your visit ahead online.
Please click here to book.
Free Family Art Activities – First Sunday of Every Month
Bringing the artistic tradition of Charleston alive today, we invite families to be inspired by the house and create their own art while visiting Charleston by participating in Family Art Activities.
Free activities are hosted by some of Charleston’s fantastic volunteers, who will be on hand to help and encourage you. From paper lampshades to clay models, activities are designed to be suitable for all ages and have been inspired by the art and lives of the Bloomsbury group. We require parents or carers to stay with their children, and encourage you to create artworks together as a family.
When: Drop-in Art Activities available 12:30 – 4pm, first Sunday of each month, April – October 2017
Where: The Pottery (accessed through the Café) or The Garden in good weather
No booking required.
We have two free Trails for children to enjoy while visiting Charleston. Children can follow one of our new free Childrens’ Trails in the House, looking out for patterns, objects and artworks and then designing their own. Our free Secret Garden Trail, available from the shop, inspires younger visitors to search for statues in the Charleston gardens.
Young Bohemians Workshops
Our ‘Young Bohemians’ workshops provide fantastic opportunities for young artists to work with professional artists and makers. Please click on the links below to find out more and book.
Food & Drink: The outer studio Cafe offers a delicious selection of lunches, homemade cakes and light bites. There is also a picnic field which visitors are welcome to use. Please note picnics must be enjoyed in the designated picnic area, and are not allowed in the Walled Garden.
Gardens: The Garden is an ideal space for families to relax, read, sketch or investigate the vegetable patch.
What else to do while in the area: You might also like to take a walk up onto the South Downs Way or take a bike ride along the Old Coach Road which runs along the back of Charleston.
Facilities: We have a baby change facility within the accessible bathroom.
Protecting our collection: Within the house, we ask that visitors help protect our collection by adhering to a few simple guidelines. Large bags and pushchairs are not permitted in the house. Please ask our shop staff to safely store these for you. Slings are very welcome, and we ask they are worn at the front.