Fab Food: London to Lewes

Ebury Cocktail

Travel always presents adventures in dining, and hopefully locating a restaurant that satisfies on every level, from the ambiance of the decor to the satisfaction of an excellently prepared meal. After dealing with the crowds on opening day at the Chelsea Flower Show, I chose a nearby restaurant… The Ebury – on chic Pimlico Road where I met T. for lunch and a carafe of Rosé, ready to relax and unwind. My favorite selection appeared on the A La Carte menu: Duck Confit, succulent and tasty. Tom sampled the three-course lunch Set Menu: the soup of the day followed by a delicious fish main dish, and chocolate confection for dessert that I would have photographed had I not been fully occupied with my meal. Traveling from London to Sussex for a countryside idyll in the area of the South Downs, the town of Lewes offered informal, tasty meals at Bill’s Cafe, Restaurant and Store.

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Bloomsbury Gardens, Sussex

Charleston Mosaic Piazza Patio Photo © Alice Joyce

Rodmell, Lewes, East Sussex – The fortunate residents of National Trust properties experience an aspect of history that I imagine to be rarified and wondrous. As an ardent fan of the Bloomsbury Group – writers, painters, creative forces, free spirits – I envy the tenants living in Monk’s House, the cottage once occupied by the writer Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard. Last year when I toured the property, I encountered a lush landscape with verdant plantings and an altogether inviting layout that we garden lovers on this side of the pond long to experience. Charleston House is associated with Virginia’s sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, with the painter Duncan Grant, and Clive Bell, and with many well-known Bloomsbury figures who gathered here to nurture friendships, love affairs, and creative urges. When I toured the house, it did not disappoint, as the iconography of the Bloomsbury aesthetic appears in every aspect of the house’s decor, from fabric to ceramics to fabulous patterning on walls and furnishings. And the mesmerizing gardenscape: Look for statuary such as a levitating damsel to form perfect focal points.

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Brighton, England .. Brilliant Counterpoints

Chelsea Physic Tamarisk tree Photo © Alice Joyce

Much to do in Brighton! The ornate presence of the Royal Pavilion – constructed at the turn of the 19th century – stands at the very center of the city. Foodie havens, great shopping, and inviting hotels await your visit. Best of all for garden travelers, you’ll want to explore the South Downs, and iconic destinations such as Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s house & garden, and the Bloomsbury Group’s ‘salon’ .. Charleston House. The town of Lewes is a bustling yet charming spot in East Sussex that merits exploring.

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