About Charleston Festival


Charleston is a house, garden and art gallery situated in the spectacular South Downs National Park. From 1916 it was the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant who were key members of the Bloomsbury group. Charleston Festival takes place each May in the gardens of Charleston. It celebrates the creativity, intellectual curiosity, radicalism and openness of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and the artists, writers and thinkers of the Bloomsbury group who all gathered at Charleston and dared to imagine society differently.

Each year the festival attracts a star-studded lineup of artists, writers, thinkers and changemakers to discuss, debate and celebrate the best in art, literature, ideas and politics, past and present; just as the Bloomsbury group did around the Charleston dining room table 100 years ago. 

Now in its 31st year, Charleston Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious interdisciplinary festivals in the world with around 100 speakers and 40 events staged over 10 days. For the first time this year, we have introduced a new under-30s ticket, with 1,000 £10 tickets available across Charleston Festival events. 

Susannah Stevenson, Artistic Director: Charleston Festival, Small Wonder and Literary Programmes:

 This year’s Charleston Festival programme demonstrates that the Bloomsbury group’s spirit of creativity, questioning the norm and breaking new ground is not only alive and well, but kicking. The festival’s themes and content demonstrate that, like the Bloomsbury group, we are all connected to our social and intellectual context in a web of influences and intersections that cannot be ignored”.

Explore this year’s programme



What's on

A Life with Lucian Charleston Festival Event Image 16 May
A Life with Lucian

Celia Paul and William Feaver reflect on their memories of Lucian Freud and what it means to live an artist’s life.

Adjoa Andoh Charleston Festival Event Image 17 May
Anne Brontë: 200 Years

To mark the 200th anniversary of Anne Brontë’s birth, celebrate her work with conversation and live readings.

Maggi Hambling Charleston Festival Event Image 20 May

Maggi Hambling reflects on art across the generations in light of her late father Harry Hambling, a self-taught watercolour painter.

Bernardine Evaristo Charleston Festival Event Image 22 May
Breaking Ground

Bernardine Evaristo and Mike McCormack discuss experimental writing, breaking tradition and letting content dictate form.

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