The weekend of The Royal Wedding also marked the first day of The Charleston Festival. So up I went to England with my besties, Daan, Donata and Eline. Donata and I share a love for The Bloomsbury Group but Donata never got to set foot in Monk’s House, the home of Virginia Woolf, or walked a down or cliff before in her life.
I booked the attic of this gorgeous grade II listed Georgian country home for us for two nights. Holmbush House is in the hearth of Bloomsbury country, very close to Lewes, Rodmell and Firle.
We started on a Saturday morning at Sissinghurst Castle, home to Vita Sackville-West. Vita, an avid gardener, planted the most beautiful and versatile garden in a few different colour schemes.
We walked the gardens, climbed the stairs of the tower and had scones in the restaurants while we watched The Royal Wedding on Donata’s phone. It was a good start of our 3-day Bloomsbury trip.
On that same Saturday I got us tickets booked for a tour through Charleston Farmhouse. Early in the morning I bought a tuna sandwich and left half of it in the car. Against many protest of my fellowship, I ate the rest of the sandwich on our way to Charleston and you can already guess what happend next … I got horribly sick. I could kick my stubborn self as I missed out on a very exclusive private tour through Charleston as I was afraid I would trow up on Clive Bell’s carpet or in Duncan Grant’s studio. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the toilet outside Charleston Farmhouse … how glamorous.
But these three were really happy with their very first and very exclusive private tour and I lost a stone of body fluids in the same hour.
The next stop was Berwick Church. Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell painted this church and it was a first time visit for me too. I was so in awe with the murals but also by the setting of the church and the views. Even the graveyard was so peaceful and the path towards the church was filled with pink hollyhocks and rambling roses.
The graveyard looked over on to the downs and we sat down and did a reading and all felt so quiet and peaceful. It made me rethink that I want to buried instead of cremated, but it should be somewhere as peaceful and beautiful as at Berwick graveyard.
Close to Charleston is the gorgeous village of Lewes where you can shop, eat and explore. We’ve discovered an amazing antique centre (Lewes Antique Centre, 20 Cliffe High Street) with 4 floors full of wonderful treasures. There were lots of shop windows dedicated to Bloomsbury with designs by Vanessa and Duncan.
We had a lovely lunch at Bill’s which is loud and busy but serves genuine British food and yummy teas. We obviously each bought a tin of granola, just because of the tin.
We spent the rest of the day at Monk’s House in the town of Rodmell. It’s the home where Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived until Virginia drowned herself and Leonard passed of old age. They both designed the gardens that are overlooking the downs.
Daan and I walked all the way to the back of the vegetable garden where we enjoyed this view and even joined the clapping and the excitement of the cricket match before we sat down at the pond and had a good natter. The weather was agreeing with us so very well. I can highly recommend to travel to the UK in May or June as the whole country is so lushes green.
We ended the day at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters where I got my new bright pink National Trust passport and stamp book We ate Bill’s biscuits and watched the evening set in, it was a good day.
We drove back via Rye as Rye is always a good idea. Mermaid Street, the antique shops down at the harbour, the cute tea rooms and the beautiful sights to see. And all is done so well by foot.
We even spotted a bit of Harry and Megs. The last photo of Eline, myself and Daan was taken by Donata. All the other photo’s were taken with my iPhone 7 as I forgot to pack my camera.
- If you plan to visit the houses and gardens consider a National Trust membership as it will work out cheaper and you get to support so many other beautiful places all over the UK.
- Download the National Trust App
- If you find the Eurotunnel to expensive try booking two returns. I booked a return on the 19th of May and a return for the 21th of May instead of booking a single for the 19th and a single for the 21th. It saved me about €95. I don’t really understand how it works but they haven’t deported me yet and I have been buying tickets like this for the past 10 years.