I visited Charleston, the beautiful South Downs countryside home and retreat of the Bloomsbury Group, a few weeks ago on a glorious early summer day. The house and gardens are open for around seven months a year and feature designs and art work by the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The house is a museum piece with the rooms presented to look as it did when it was lived in and entrance on most days is by guided tour only. A visit to Charleston is a must for anyone with an interest in the Bloomsbury Group or early 20th century English art.
Refreshments were required after my guided tour and where better to stop than than the on-site café, The Outer Studio Café? The cafe is open from midday and is housed in Charleston’s out-buildings which once functioned as the family laundry, apple store and garage. Continue reading →
I love artisan coffee shops and in the age of Starbucks, Costa and Nero, it is heartening to see independent shops opening. Southsea Coffee Co opened just over two years ago in Southsea in Portsmouth and serves coffee roasted by hasbean. There are espresso based drinks (latte, cappuccino etc) and hand poured coffee (this changes regularly). They can serve you a long black, a coffee I got to love in Australia and one I have rarely seen on offer in the UK. They also serve a selection of special blend teas and herbal teas, hot chocolate and smoothies. In the Summer, there are iced coffees and teas. There is a beverage for everyone!