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Find out a hidden gem in the countryside


Last weekend our little gang - two adults and two kids - one ten and one five year-old, decided to go on a late afternoon walk and embrace the fresh January air, try to climb Firle Beacon and see the beautiful sunset across the Downs.

We left the car at Charleston House but didn’t have the time to go inside the gardens and headed straight towards the hills. We walked thirty minutes before we reached, as the kids said, the foot of the great mountain. Standing at 217m above sea level, the children were more than excited to conquer it heads on. Running through mud and high winds, falling but standing up, we made it to the top with big smiles on our faces.  The spectacular views right across the Downs were breathtaking!  The sun was starting to set, dusk was slowly creeping in and we celebrated this beautiful day by just standing and taking it all in.

The way down was much quicker, sliding down on our bottoms and running like mad down the hill we walked back towards Charleston farmhouse as the sun was getting lower and the light was gentle and magical.

By the time we reached the house, it was almost dark, our hands feeling numb from the cold January winds, it was Sunday, and we weren’t hoping for much but to find our car snug in the carpark. As we walked by the farmhouse buildings the world was suddenly transformed into a magical garden of fairy lights and incredible architecture -  the newly build modern courtyard, café and gallery buildings and its stark contrast with the old, stunning Charleston House – the artistic sanctuary of the Bloomsbury Group, which included painter Vanessa Bell and author Virginia Wolf. The modern café and gallery are housed in a beautiful barn conversion and the interior follows the Bloomsbury aesthetic, mixed with rustic décor and contemporary British design. Our favourite was the large, black, circle table, decorated with bright green and red geometrical figures and adorned by an explosion of different colours of neon light coming from the futuristic chandelier hanging above it.  

We had hot tea, sweet cakes, warmed up and felt so special and somehow transformed. Walking through the muddy paths, with faces blown and scratched from the wind, lungs filled with winter and life, the end of our walk was a present of beauty. One of those things that add to the sense of wonder and inspire the lust for colours, smells and adventure.

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