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“Beyond Fabulous”
Review of Charleston

Charleston
Ranked #2 of 39 things to do in Lewes
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Charleston was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group. The interior was painted by the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and together with their collection forms a unique example of their decorative style.Charleston is open in 2014 from Wednesday 26 March - Sunday 2 November. During the winter months, the house museum is closed for its annual programme of conservation work.The house museum is open to the public Wednesdays - Sundays at these times:Wednesday - Saturday: 1pm - 6pm, last entry 5pm (12 noon - 6pm July - September). Entry is by timed guided tour in small groups.Sunday & Bank Holiday Mondays: 1pm - 5.30pm, last entry 4.30pm. Entry is timed but free-flow; visit the house at your own pace. (N.B. during the Charleston Festival, entry to the house on these days will be by guided tour only.)Charleston welcomes group bookings outside of its public opening hours, Wednesday - Saturday. Please see our website for more details.
Chicago Suburbs
Level Contributor
34 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Beyond Fabulous”
Reviewed 18 April 2014

Touring this important Bloomsbury home was a highpoint of our trip. We went a week after they had opened for the season and it was not overly crowded. The docents really know their stories and the hour long tour let us in most of the rooms in the house. It is not like a museum--but more like Vanness Bell and Duncan Grant have just stepped out for a moment and you are in their home. Original furnishings and of course all those lovely painted pieces. We had a delicious lunch in the cafe--welsh rarebit was divine and the crumpet with honey was bliss. The gift shop is well stocked--small gifts as well as more expensive. We had plenty of time to wander around the grounds and garden. A real treat.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank sellinglikecrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlestonTrust, Assistant Visitor Manager at Charleston, responded to this review, 24 April 2014
Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a review about your recent visit to Charleston. I am really pleased to see you enjoyed your time and felt it was a highlight of your trip.

The house really does feel like the occupants have just popped out for a moment and our guides do enhance this with their excellent knowledge of Charleston and the Bloomsbury group.

If you do visit us again, it may be worth coming on a Sunday when there is a free-flow system in place, allowing you to spend as much time in each room as you would like.

I will be sure to pass on your lovely comments to the Visitor Manager, guides, café and shop staff.

Katharine Majer, Assistant Visitor Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
East Sussex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
139 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Bloomsbury in Sussex”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

if you are a fan of the 'set' then worth a visit, or if you want to see a Sussex farmhouse with a rambling garden in glorious countryside in the South Downs, then ditto. The paintings could be a disappointment.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank JB02-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlestonTrust, Assistant Visitor Manager at Charleston, responded to this review, 18 April 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent visit to Charleston. I am pleased you enjoyed your visit to Charleston and think it is a good place for those interested in the Bloomsbury group or who would like to explore the garden and surrounding countryside to visit - we find a lot of our visitors come specifically for these aspects and very much enjoy their time here.

I am sorry to read you felt the paintings were a disappointment (are you referring to the paintings hung on the walls or the painted walls themselves?) Although the art in Charleston is not to everyone’s taste, we aim to reflect the artistic tastes and sentiments of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Many of our visitors are delighted with the artwork on display and I am sorry this wasn’t the case this time. We do change a number of the paintings on display each year, either to show others from our collection or because paintings which usually hang in the house have been loaned to other museums and galleries for exhibitions (for example, the Virginia Woolf exhibition at National Portrait Gallery). You may find that if you visit again in the future (and I hope you do) that the display is different and more appealing to you.

Katharine Majer, Assistant Visitor Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed 10 April 2014

I visited the house and gardens on Mothering Sunday with my Mother and adult daughters. Unfortunately it was a very mixed experience. Whilst some allowance could be made for the fact that it was the beginning of the season and volunteers were perhaps not fully trained, the overall impression was one of disorganisation and, dare I say, that we were an inconvenience and nuisance to the staff. This was particularly the case in the cafe where the chap behind the counter was downright rude. We were also left waiting for some time when due to go into the house because of being mis-instructed, and even though we went on a Sunday when touring the house was 'unguided' were ticked off, in no uncertain terms, for not looking round the rooms in the 'correct' order. The house and garden itself was interesting and some of the guides were very helpful and informative but because of the general atmosphere of unwelcome we would not visit again nor recommend the house to others.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank cakestandcrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlestonTrust, Assistant Visitor Manager at Charleston, responded to this review, 18 April 2014
Thank you for your review. I am sorry to hear that you had a less than enjoyable experience at Charleston.

The day you visited was indeed our very first Sunday of the season and it was also a particularly busy day due to it being Mother's Day. This may go some way in helping to explain the confusion you encountered, but this is not something we want our visitors to experience.

I am sorry to hear you felt a nuisance to the staff - our guides and stewards are usually singled out for praise by visitors and so it is disappointing that you did not have the same experience. Sunday is a free-flow day and visitors should be able to explore the house at their own pace. Our guides and stewards can direct visitors to the best route to follow when in the house but this should not be prescriptive. I have taken you comments on board and will be sure to pass them on to the Visitor Manager as well as the guides and stewards so that we can make sure this does not happen again.

I will also pass your feedback onto the café manager with regards to your experience there; once again, I am very sorry you had a less than positive experience.

I am glad that overall you enjoyed the house and gardens, and I do hope that you will reconsider your decision about visiting Charleston again.

Katharine Majer, Assistant Visitor Manager
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Polegate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
“Delightful”
Reviewed 26 March 2014

Beautiful house and gorgeous grounds which are well mentained. It really was an absolute pleaser visting. Will be back for the festival!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank betty r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlestonTrust, Visitor Manager at Charleston, responded to this review, 28 March 2014
Thank you very much for your review of your visit to Charleston - I am really pleased to see you enjoyed your time here. I will be sure to pass on your feedback about the gardens to our Gardener. I hope you're looking forward to the May Festival too? I know we all are - it promises to be a fantastic programme. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Clare Gauntlett, Visitor Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
190 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 293 helpful votes
“In an English country garden”
Reviewed 7 February 2014

An idyllic location nestling in the South Downs with a wonderful garden to enjoy afternoon tea. See how Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant turned their home into a meeting place for artists, writers and intellectuals, who became known as the Bloomsbury Set. A wonderful glimpse of what must have been truly ecletic days of summer.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Michael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlestonTrust, Visitor Manager at Charleston, responded to this review, 28 March 2014
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review of your visit to Charleston. I'm really pleased to hear you enjoyed your time here - there truly is a wonderful sense here of what it might have been like when Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were here. Please be sure to visit us again soon; hopefully then you can enjoy more time in the beautiful gardens and visit the house again. Sundays are a great day to visit if you've already enjoyed a guided tour, as you can wander the house at your leisure.
Clare Gauntlett, Visitor Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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