The Lewes area is rich in cultural heritage having once been the home of Virginia Woolf and a favourite countryside retreat for The Bloomsbury Set. It is also home to numerous traditional crafts people and contemporary artists whose work is regularly shown in Galleries & Museums across the district.
Glyndebourne Opera House
Glyndebourne is recognised internationally as one of the great opera houses, with a reputation that stems from a passion for artistic excellence. Glyndebourne Festival runs May to August with a programme of six operas in a 1,200-seat indoor opera house. The company’s mission to reach new audiences is delivered via an annual tour from October to December, a programme of cinema and free online streamings and reduced price tickets made available for the under-30s. For more information visit glyndebourne.com.
If you are a fan of art & literature you are in for a real treat when visiting the Lewes area. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to our museums and galleries. One of our most popular attractions is Charleston House, the former home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The house also became a meeting place for writers and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury set including Virginia Woolf and E.M Forster. The house and beautiful gardens are now open to the public and you can still see the interior designs on the doors and furniture created by Vanessa and Duncan as well as works of art by Picasso and Renoir. It’s well worth booking into a guided tour of the house for an insight into the colourful lives of its former residents.
Once the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Monk’s House is a 17th-century cottage located in the beautiful country lanes of Rodmell. This house is full of many of their favourite things and the garden is still blooming with a mix of flowers, vegetables, orchards and lawns.
The church is most well known for the extensive 20th Century murals which cover the nave walls, chancel arch, screen and pulpit. These were painted during the Second World War by the Bloomsbury artists, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell.
Galleries & Museums
The Lewes district is full of artists and makers with a vibrant heritage of traditional crafts. There are some great galleries & museums in the Lewes area, here are a few who regularly show some of the best of the district’s local artists.
To print the Lewes Gallery Map simply download here LewesGalleryGuideforweb
Image © Alex Grey
Martyrs’ Gallery and Project Space is an exciting new visual arts venue located in Lewes’s historic Star Brewery building, surrounded by the studios of local artists and craftspeople. The gallery shows contemporary art in a wide variety of media, as well as rediscovering the work of under-explored twentieth century artists.
Chalk Gallery is an artist run gallery in Lewes town. It is a gallery devoted to promoting artists and their work. A featured artist is showcased every three weeks with a re-hanging of approximately 80 works every six weeks. A friendly gallery run by the artists themselves, so there’s always someone on site to give you a warm welcome.
St Anne’s Galleries showcases some of the most exciting and accomplished artists working in the South and attract national and international collectors. Whether you are looking for your first artwork, are an experienced collector, or simply want to look around the gallery, St Anne’s is open to all.
Image © Kate Johnson
An unexpected find in a rural location, the Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts houses a collection of international importance and has won several architectural prizes for its innovative design. The museum holds a important collection of work by the artists and craftspeople who were drawn to the village, including the sculptor, wood engraver, type-designer and letter-cutter Eric Gill
For a child friendly review of Ditchling Museum take at look at Kate’s top five things to with Kids in our Locals Love for Kids section.