Rodmell Near Lewes East Sussex BN7 3HF 01273 474 760
‘That will be our address for ever and ever’, declared Virginia Woolf in 1919 when she and her husband Leonard bought Monk’s House, a pretty, weatherboarded cottage in the peaceful village of Rodmell, just outside Lewes. Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell had already settled nearby at Charleston Farmhouse, and the Woolfs’ holiday home soon became another gathering place for the artists, writers and intellectuals of the Bloomsbury Group. Step into Virginia's writing room in the garden and you'll see a wonderful display of black-and-white photos showing various visitors – amongst them E.M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Vita Sackville-West and John Maynard Keynes – lounging in deckchairs or playing bowls on the lawn; Virginia's sometimes less-than-kind comments on her guests run alongside the photos. Inside the house, the four simple rooms that you can visit bear the unmistakable Bloomsbury stamp, with furniture, ceramics and fireplaces exuberantly decorated by Vanessa and her partner Duncan Grant, though the embellishment is on nowhere near the same scale as at Vanessa’s own home at Charleston. The Woolfs moved permanently to Monk’s House in 1940 when their London home was bombed, but Virginia’s ‘ever and ever’ house unfortunately remained her home for only one more year. On April 28, 1941, she walked to the nearby River Ouse, where she weighed her pockets down with stones and drowned herself.
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There's limited parking just down the lane from Monk's House. Coming by public transport, the nearest mainline train station is Lewes; from here bus 123 runs to Newhaven via Rodmell roughly hourly during the week and every two hours on Saturday (no service on Sun or bank hols); alternatively, take a connecting train from Lewes to Southease, from where it's a one-hour walk along the river and through the water meadows to Monk's House.