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Must visit stately homes in Sussex

The most notable houses and gardens to visit in Sussex for stunning antiques and fine art.

Petworth House

Located in  Petworth, West Sussex, Petworth House is a late 17th-century Grade I listed country house. Now in the care of the National trust, it houses their finest art collection.

Today's state rooms house an important collection of paintings and sculptures, including 19 oil paintings by J. M. W. Turner (some owned by the family, some by Tate Britain), who was a regular visitor to Petworth. There are also paintings by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Titian and Blake, together with carvings by Grinling Gibbons and Ben Harms, classical and neoclassical sculptures (including ones by John Flaxman and John Edward Carew), and wall and ceiling paintings by Louis Laguerre.

Read more on the art collection at Petworth House and plan your trip with eight paintings not to miss at Petworth. You can also view the full collection of art and antiques online.

Image: The Deer in Petworth Park, J. M. W. Turner, 1827


Goodwood House

Goodwood House is a country house and estate covering 4,900 hectares (12,000 acres) in Westhampnett, Chichester, West Sussex, built around 1600.

The highlight of any visit is the Royal State Apartments, with a display of fine art. The origins of the collection lay in the possessions of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, and Duchess of Aubigny in France, to whom some of the paintings originally belonged

You can enjoy taking in works by Canaletto, Stubbs, Romney, brothers John and George Smith, among other master artists.

There are also a wide range of works from the Stuart period, with court paintings by Van Dyck, a particularly fine painting by Lely of the King's favourite sister, Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans and works by interesting French artists, patronised by Louise.

Read more on the painting collection at Goodwood

Image: The River Thames from Richmond House: Canaletto's classic veduta exhibited at Goodwood House.


Monks house

An 18th-century weatherboarded cottage in the village of Rodmell, three miles south of Lewes, East Sussex, Monks House was the home of writer Virginia Woolf and her husband - the political activist, journalist and editor, Leonard Woolf, from 1919 to 1969.

Now in the care of the National Trust, the house and writing lodge are filled with an impressive collection previously owned by the Woolf’s. Full of interesting items, the house carries the spirit not just of Leonard and Virginia, but also the many artists, writers and thinkers who visited, including T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry and Lytton Strachey.

View the collection and plan your visit.


Charleston Farmhouse

Dating from the late 16th Century, Charleston Farmhouse is located in Firle, East Sussex and was the country meeting place for the Bloomsbury Group.

It was the country home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and is wonderful example of their decorative style within over a 60 year period during which they accumulated paintings, furnishings and objects.

In 1916, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their children, along with Grant’s friend and lover, David Garnett, moved to Charleston, an ordinary farmhouse in East Sussex on the recommendation of Virginia Woolf.

The three chief painters of Bloomsbury - Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry - now occupy a significant place among the new movements in British art of the early 20th Century.  In addition to the house and artists' garden, there is an exhibition gallery showing a mix of contemporary and historical shows of fine and decorative art.

Read more on Charleston.


Image: The Studio at Charleston used by Duncan Grant. Source

Firle Place

Firle Place is a privately owned country house in Firle, East Sussex that dates from the time of Henry VIII, but was remodelled in the 18th Century. The house and  gardens are notable for the display of old master paintings, furniture and porcelain - one of the most significant and historic private collections in Southern England. It is also the only place in the country where a section of the celebrated Cowper collection may be viewed.

The house has an extensive fine art collection including works by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyck, Raphael, Puligo, Zoffany and Teniers.

Firle houses many treasures of national significance, such as the exemplary group portrait of Count John of Nassau and his family, by van Dyck (pictured below), hanging in the Great Hall.

As well as its fine art , Firle contains a fine collection of antique furniture and porcelain, with the Upstairs Drawing Room home to the ‘Panshanger Cabinets’, ranking among the few named pieces of Chippendale furniture and the rare Sèvres ‘Firle Vases’ with Chinoiserie panel.

Read more on Firle Place and plan your visit


Image: Jan VIII 'the Younger', count of Nassau-Siegen with his family


Bateman's is a 17th Century house located in Burwash, East Sussex. Built in 1634, The Jacobean manor served as the home of writer Rudyard Kipling from 1902-1936.

Now in the care of the National Trust, the house contains a significant collection relating to Kipling, amounting to nearly 5,000 individual pieces, including his Nobel Prize, his Rolls-Royce Phantom I, many oriental items purchased while living in India or touring in the East, and paintings he collected by Edward Poynter, Edward Burne-Jones and James Whistler.

Browse the Bateman’s collection and plan your visit


Image: Bateman’s House



Glynde Place

Glynde Place is an Elizabethan Manor House at Glynde in East Sussex. built in 1569, only open open to the public for a short season in the spring and early summer.

The house is home to a panelled gallery including a collection of Old Master painting, in addition to period china, silverware and furniture.

Following the £5million sale of a painting by Rubens to the Tate Britain Gallery, the house was refurbished in 2008 and also boasts parkland gardens and a sculpture garden leading to a wooded copse containing beautiful wildflowers.


Image: Glynde Place in Sussex from Morris's ''Country Seats'' (1880)