Tuesday, 28 April 2009

On the Bloomsbury trail


Whenever we visit my parents, we drive past an enticing sign advertising 'An Artist's Home and Garden'. This is the markerpost for Charleston, home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and an absolute gem for anyone who enjoys unusual decor and exuberant gardens. We visited on Easter Sunday - terrifically busy but since Sundays are the only days you can take small people around without a guided tour, we had little option.


The house is quite startling - every available surface is painted or decorated, and the whole place is filled with colour and painting and fabric and sculpture. Hugely inspirational - but no photography allowed inside.



The gardens have borders overflowing with cottage garden-y plants, sculptures and lots of places to sit and play hide and seek, and a mean cup of tea served in the little cafe. This leads me nicely on to the Bloomsbury link we're lucky to have far closer to home: the Orchard in Grantchester, where many literary types allegedly took tea and lounged around in deckchairs.


We did the same last week, obviously pretending to have deep thoughts in the sunshine but in reality wondering whether we ought to skip supper after such a generous afternoon tea.


For fascinating literary details of the Bloomsbury group, I direct you to MrsM. All I can do is show you pictures of Vanessa Bell's flowers and reassure you that the enormous scones at the Orchard are definitely worth the extraordinary prices they command.

This post is for Alice, who would really enjoy a visit to Charleston.

23 comments:

  1. Is it an NT place? I have been to several where the scones where as big as the side dishes they were served on!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks gorgeous Val and I'm not surprised you couldn't manage the deep thoughts after such a mahoosive, yummy cream tea!

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. How I would love to photograph those places.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How very, very kind of you to think of me. I would love to go to either or both of those lovely places. And not just for the scones!

    ReplyDelete
  5. yummmm cream teas!! my favorite. what a lovely place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How wonderful!
    And thank you for recommending Mrs.M. It was very exciting to find someone writing about stuff I've studied over the last three years - definately one to watch, so THANK YOU MUCHLY

    xxx
    ps. word v mird sounds a little too close to the french for my liking... :P

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's time like this that you need a spy camera! Beautiful gardens and oh, I'd sure love to have a big yummy scone like that!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It all looks gorgeous - especially the scone!

    Locket xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been pestering G about visiting Charleston for ages now. I do hope we'll get to go this summer. And Grantchester looks like a great stop on our next drive north. K x

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's a shame you can't take photographs inside...I'd visit for the scones alone!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. How inspiring! I love all the Omega colours and patterns.

    The Orchard in Granchester is a great place to start a walk into Cambridge - you can get right to the centre through meadows and quiet lanes and return for a well earned scone and pot of tea.

    Celia
    x

    ReplyDelete
  12. two top tips there. Ahh, Granchester, nothing better to do on a summers day than to hang out in the meadows picnicing and swimming.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have wanted to go and see Charleston for so long, I will have to make the effort this spring.

    ReplyDelete
  14. but I wanna see inside! Boo to the photo ban.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would love to visit Charleston... it's on my list! The Orchard could be a good place for a bloggy afternoon tea!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It looks lovely! but I say Boo to the indoor photo ban too .. sounds fascinating! I wonder if there are any future famous litarary sets around today lounging about in their gardens discussing literary things? It seems such a thing of bygone days ...

    ReplyDelete
  17. oooh I'm very jealous - I did a project on Charleston style and Duncan Grant at art college. I've always wanted to see it for real. It looks like you had a fab time!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh I would so love to have been around at that time and been a part of the Bloomsbury set. Imagine the conversations and the inspiration - oh well back to the hoovering!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Beautiful...thanks for taking us along with you cookies! :o) I've always wanted to see Charleston...hopefully one day! Wishing you all a great weekend ahead. ((HUGS))

    ReplyDelete
  20. Well I really do wish I had known of The Orchard when I lived in the vicinity! I do so love a literate scone. I shall add it to my rather long list of places I want to visit, Charleston has been on the list a long time but I know I will get there one day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a great place. great pictures as well. Thanks and have a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Have you read that new(ish) Jill Dawson novel The Great Lover, about Rupert Brooke. I wouldn't whole-heartedly recommend it as a novel but I'm sure you'd love the setting of the Old Vicarage and the Orchard tearooms. I'd love to go there but I've never had time

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving me some feedback! I love reading your comments and I do my best to reply to them. If Blogger gives me your email address, or if I can find one on your blog I'll try to reply by email; otherwise I'll reply in the comments here.