‘…the garden here was not a gentleman’s garden or a gardener’s garden, it was always an artist’s garden’ – Angelica Garnett
Charleston’s beautiful walled garden reopened this summer as a place of creativity and wellbeing, with one booking available per session so that visitors could have the garden to themselves. The final sessions for September are now fully-booked.
The garden at Charleston was a canvas, a studio, a prop store, a stage, a sanctuary, and is absolutely central to the intense creativity of the place. Whether you’d like to put pen to paper; find a scene to paint; enjoy a picnic with friends; strike a chord (or two); or simply get away from it all, the garden is yours!
We’ve loved seeing Charleston come alive again this summer and can’t wait to welcome visitors back when we reopen next year.
Charleston is sign-posted off the A27 Brighton to Eastbourne road, 7 miles east of Lewes, between the villages of Firle and Selmeston.
The access road to Charleston from the A27 is a narrow rural road belonging to the Firle Estate. The road is uneven and has deep ditches on either sides; please take care and use the regular passing points if you encounter oncoming traffic.
All cars and coaches should follow the signs to the main car park which is approximately a 200 metre walk from the House entrance. There are dedicated accessible spaces in the top car park which is approximately a 50 metre walk from the House entrance.
There is a regular service from London Victoria to Lewes which is 7 miles from Charleston.
Lewes is a major station where taxis are usually available on a rank. Advance booking is not normally necessary, unless arriving early in the morning or late at night. See here for National Rail onward travel information for Lewes station, including taxi numbers. Taxi journeys are usually calculated by meter, and you can expect a cost in the region of £20 one way.
The nearest station is Berwick, approximately 4 miles from Charleston. There is no taxi rank at this station. If walking from Berwick station, please be aware that some routes will lead you along the busy A27. It is advisable to carry an ordnance survey map of the area.
Travel by bus to Charleston is limited and we strongly recommend you plan your journey in advance.
Bus services calling at Charleston run from the bus station in Lewes to Eastbourne Monday-Saturday. Call 01323 870 920 or click here for more timetable details.
Please ask the driver to let you know where along the A27 to disembark for Charleston. It is a 15 minute walk up a single track lane to get to the site from the bus stop.
Charleston is situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB). If you are walking or cycling to Charleston, we recommend using an ordnance survey map. Find Charleston on Ordnance Survey Landranger maps 198 and 199, and on Ordnance Survey Explorer maps 122 and 123.
The landscape and grounds of Charleston are maintained to reflect its history. Charleston is a rural site and the grounds are uneven and can be slippery when wet.
In the garden, there are areas of deep open water without barriers. A lifebuoy is situated by the main pond for emergency use. Due to open water, there is a possibility of water borne infections.
We ask visitors take appropriate care during their time at Charleston with particular awareness to keep children and vulnerable people safe from these risks.
There is always a trained first aider on duty. First Aid kits are available for trained staff to use and a defibrillator is available.