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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 292 > The Downs will lift you up

The Downs will lift you up

PLANNING ON PARTYING AT BRIGHTON PRIDE? TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECHARGE AFTERWARDS AND EXPLORE THE SURROUNDING SUSSEX COUNTRYSIDE. SALLY SHALAM CONTINUES HER TRAVELS AROUND THE UK BY CAR, WITH THE HELP OF LEADING CAR HIRE COMPANY HERTZ, TO FIND GREAT SUMMER SPOTS FOR YOU TO DISCOVER AND UNWIND
JUST SO GOOD: The garden at Bateman’s, once the home of Rudyard Kipling
© NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES. ANDREW BUTLER

Driving around the South Downs is a wonderful thing. Villages of brick and Sussex flint dot the landscape of undulating, verdant chalk hills which stretch for almost 100 miles, from Winchester to Eastbourne. They form a dreamy backdrop of hazy greenish blue, on a summer day, to the coastline.

The A27 traces much of the South Downs National Park, and is easily picked up by anyone heading north out of Brighton (or south, from central London or Gatwick Airport, to the coast). Yet even the briefest foray, just a day, using part of this road as a rough guide, will uncover surprises. Take Middle Farm, just east of Lewes. Here you can scoop up picnic treats (freshly pressed apple juice, local cheeses and diet-busting scones) for a day walking the South Downs Way, accessed from the pretty town of Alfriston, but also buy plants and even hens for your smallholding. The farmshop zings with colourful produce, a fitting hors d’oeuvre to Charleston House, two minutes’ drive away.

Nowhere will have you reassessing your home decor and reaching for a paint chart quite as fast as Charleston House. This is the former home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Bell was married to art critic Clive Bell, but moved here with Grant in 1916. Rooms became artists’ studios or simply vehicles for decoration in day-to-day living. From door panels to fireplaces, tables to bedheads, there is barely a surface untouched by creativity equalled only, perhaps, by the unconventionality of Charleston’s various occupants.

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About Attitude

Actors Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz discuss Star Trek’s first gay kiss, Dancing on Ice star Matt Evers comes out as gay, and we speak to Love Island’s Kem Cetinay and pop star Paloma Faith. Plus an expanded travel section featuring Thailand, Hawaii, Tel Aviv, Venice and Florida.