Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

13 Aug 2015

Coastal Art and Colours - Lewes to Rye

I thought I'd just do a little round up of my  latest trip to the coast with some recommendations of lovely grownup things to do if you are interested in art and interiors particularly.

We drove to Lewes as our first stop, which unfortunately didn't give us a very pleasant hotel experience, having left it a bit late to book we chose what seemed to be ok location wise but was a very run down and overpriced place. In fact the worst hotel on our trip and the most expensive, I won't name it but its a pub/inn on the high street.

The best part about this location was its proximity to three things we went to, firstly the Vintage Fair in Firle, then Monks House the former home of Virginia Woolf and then Charleston House, the home of Virginia's sister Vanessa Bell, an artist. Have you been watching the tv series about them "Life In Squares" - love in triangles. Its worth catching on iplayer to get the general feel of the stories behind this set of bohemians and is also filmed at these locations.

Monks House

The best part about Monks House for me is that you can take photos inside and their welcome to visitors is very warm. The green colour in the lounge was mixed for them by Farrow and Ball and is truly stunning. 

Monks House is not as decorative as Charleston but the garden is just as stunning and the collections inside are also lovely. 

Firle House vintage fair was glorious, mostly because we had a really sunny hot day.  I knew the traders would have great stock as lots of the vintage sellers from the south coast go across to France buying. Disaster number two came when my other half got stung by a wasp on the lip! we are calling it wasp gate. The traders there were so kind, they found him some medicine and remedies. Naturally I picked up a few cute things as souvenirs and then we headed down to the coast to Eastbourne. 

This stretch of the coast is classic British and really quite smart and clean. We booked a comfortable hotel on the beach front, one of the old Victorian buildings. Laying in bed listening to the sea and seagulls was so lovely. What else should you do there? well buy some fish and chips and eat them on the pier of course.

We didn't do so much in Eastbourne, just sat on the beach and collected shells, soaking up the sun and fresh air.

From there we tried to stick to a coast road and in my search for a nice cappuccino we stumbled across the De La Warr Pavillion which is showing an exhibition of Bridget Riley paintings. I have wanted to see her work up close for so many years, I couldn't believe it! The exhibition runs to the 6th September with information here http://www.dlwp.com/event/bridget-riley-the-curve-paintings the cafe was also very nice so that was a totally unexpected bonus. 

Style guru Jeska at Lobster and Swan gave me some recommendations for shops she thought I would like in Hastings and thank goodness she did as I don't think we would have found them. Theres an amazing selection of vintage shops in lovely old buildings in the old town near George Street. The High Street and Post Office Passage will keep you amused all day exploring if you like a rummage. Butlers Emporium was recommended to me and it is really beautifully curated. I bought a few lovely things which will be featuring in my photos soon. We ate in Nazar a Turkish restaurant with very good food, its on Robertson Passage. We love lots of 'picky bits' so a Meze is perfect for us, me who grazes and the other half who eats like a horse. 

It was quite sad to say goodbye to Hastings, I could have done with another day there but Dungeness was calling. Since I worked at Mute Records with musicians who put music to Derek Jarman's films, I have wanted to visit his cottage and garden. It is so lucky for us that it is still possible to just drive up to the cottage and wander round, but please respect the occupiers. The cottage is called Prospect Cottage and you can see its location on google maps.

I read that Derek Jarman chose the yellow of the windows to reflect the yellow in the plants which grow there. Please do some research before you go so that you can better understand about the planting and how the garden grew into an art work organically.

We lost the good weather but somehow grey and dreary does really suit the area of Dungeness, a truly strange place.  Theres a toy train which the school children still catch, but we didn't actually ride on it ourselves. 

Our hotel in Rye was such a joy after a windy drizzly day. Perfectly located and with lovely decoration, the Hope Anchor was great value for money with very good breakfasts. Just round the corner from great shops and beautiful old winding cobbled streets. Mermaid Street has been used in so many films, transporting you back with buildings from the 1400's.  The Mermaid Inn is on my bucket list of places to stay, maybe next time, its one of Englands oldest Inns having been rebuilt in 1420.  

The George and The Standard are great places to eat, but you need to book. A lovely combination of interior design shops and antiques. It is good for mens clothes which is unusual. Rye is definitely another place to go back to and quite magical.

Tomorrow I pop over to Amsterdam to visit an old friend. Rosey is a very stylish girl and Im sure I will have some lovely photos of her cool house to share.  Have a lovely weekend everyone, and please don't forget to vote for me in the Amara Awards the link is here :

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