The Modernist movement (rebelling against Victorian era tradition) artists, writers, and designers of the early 20th Century have left a pretty legacy of art and architecture in Sussex and the South Downs National Park.
If visiting more than a few, consider joining the National Art Fund, which gives free entry to most of the below
If travelling by train:
- the galleries in Ditchling (2km walk from Hassocks), Brighton, Eastbourne, Bexhill-on-Sea and Hastings can all be visited on same "London Victoria to Hastings via Haywards Heath and Eastbourne" ticket. You can break the journey, but you have to return by the same slightly circuitous route.
- Similarly, Ditchling (2km walk), Brighton and Chichester can all be visited on the same "London Victoria to Chichester via Three Bridges" ticket
The Galleries and Buildings
Pallant House Gallery
PO19 1TJ (Chichester town centre)
Art gallery in a Queen Anne town house (and a new extension) in Chichester historic centre. 20th Century British Art. Cafe.
Nearby: pedestrianised historic centre and cathedral.
Travel: Walkable from Chichester Station.
Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft
BN6 8SP (Inland from Brighton)
Eclectic museum in a pretty village.
Nearby: The village church, St Margaret of Antioch, is also worth a visit. Ditchling Beacon, on the South Downs Ridge, would make a great short walk.
Travel: Walkable (30 mins) from Hassocks station (on the main rail line from Victoria).
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
BN1 1EE (Brighton town centre)
Large, eclectic town centre museum.
Nearby: Next to the Brighton Pavilion, and near the Lanes (narrow streets with small, eclectic, independent shops).
Travel: Brighton Station. Best parking is the Churchill Square Shopping Centre.
BN8 6LL (Between Lewes and Eastbourne)
Farmhouse of the Charleston set with a cafe, and a small but very pretty garden, in a picturesque location at the foot of the Downs.
Nearby: Firle Beacon, on the Downs ridge, would make a great short walk. Highly recommended is nearby Middle Farm (farm shop and petting zoo, on the A27) with hundreds of ciders to taste.
Travel: Walkable from Berwick station (you'll need a OS map).
Farley's House and Gallery
BN8 6HW (Inland from Eastbourne)
The Penrose family farmhouse became a meeting place for some of the leading figures from the world of 20th century modern art. Now run by a trust. Guided tours on Summer Sundays only.
Travel: Not easy to get to by public transport.
Towner Art Gallery
BN21 4JJ (Eastbourne town centre)
Town centre art gallery with an modern extension. Free. Closed Monday.
Nearby: Close to the seafront promenade, pier (free), Wish Tower (Martello Tower #73, cafe, entry free but Sundays only)
Travel: Eastbourne station.
De La Warr Pavillion
TN40 1TP (Bexhill-on-Sea)
Stunning art-deco seafront building. Cafe open during the day time only. Free entry to this amazing but under used building.
Nearby: Sea front promenade.
Travel: Close to Bexhill station
TN34 3DW (Hastings town centre)
Relaunched art gallery (£9, Art Fund £4.50, opens 11am). Rebranded from the Jerwood Gallery after a falling out with the Jerwood foundation. Has a cafe with a view, but for visitors only.
Nearby: In a great location on Hasting's "working" beach, amongst the beach launched fishing boats, close to East Hill (Hasting Country Park, views, cliff walks), old town, seafront promenade and pier.
Travel: Hastings station is a 10 min walk.
West Dean College
PO18 0QZ (Inland from Chichester)
A private college in a former stately home, with short courses and diplomas in conservation and the creative arts. The buildings are only open for special events. The restored gardens are open to the public daily.
Nearby: Goodwood, and the Weald and Downland Museum open air museum
Travel: Car only.