English Country House Interiors to See in the South of England this Summer

Grand Sitting Room Interior Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Grand Sitting Room Interior Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Read ‘The Colourful Past, Edward Bulmer and the English Country House’

Edward Bulmer is a British architectural historian and interior designer. Edward’s first book ‘The Colourful Past, Edward Bulmer and the English Country House’ showcases Bulmer’s portfolio of classic interiors with his confident style and creativity.

Working with owners of some of the most prestigious historic houses in Britain Edward Bulmer has sensitively custom designed each home he has completed individually. Featuring the finest possessions to be found within these special country estates, Edward Bulmer then organises any restoration that is needed and hand selects any new pieces that are required to orchestrate schemes that are harmonious, beautiful and also practical for modern living.  (1)

At a recent talk at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex, Bulmer spoke of his carefully considered approach to decorating these grand villas. Bulmer’s client’s abodes are often originally from several century’s old English architectural periods such as Georgian and Victorian. Edward Bulmer knowledgably combines traditional art, furniture and artifacts with a coordinating palette of eco-friendly soft hues. The sustainably produced Edward Bulmer Paint range has been developed ‘in house’. This process is followed in order to achieve high quality elegant and balanced interiors, that are fit for royalty. (1)

See Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris’ at Pallant House, Sussex

Edward Bulmer paints have provided the perfect backdrop to ‘Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris’ an exhibition which is currently at Pallant House in Chichester, West Sussex until 8 October 2023. The subtle natural tones of the Edward Bulmer paint range have been used as a painted wall background throughout the several rooms of John’s wonderful paintings, drawing and sculptures on display in the contemporary wing of this Georgian house museum and gallery.

Gwen John was born in Haverfordwest in Wales and studied at Slade School of Fine Art. John was a post-impressionist artist who produced some of the most striking and accomplished portraits and interior artworks during a culturally important era of British artists.

“She chose to make her life and work within the heady art worlds of London and Paris amid a rich cultural circle that included James McNeill Whistler and her lover, Auguste Rodin.” the Pallant House Gallery website describes.

The excellent show, which explains her work through a series of detailed and original oils, watercolours and hand drawn pieces, highlights the sophisticated and tonally masterful spectrum that reflects her authentic self and the life and times that Gwen John was living in. (2)

The exhibition is curated by Alicia Foster and is highly recommended. The visitor can marvel at the inspiring and expertly framed English and French interior oil paintings from the beginning of the last century. The artworks convey a timeless appeal that is fit to grace any stylish home.

Gwen John’s younger brother Augustus John was also a notable artist breaking ground in modern art in the early 20th century. There is a portrait of Gwen John created by her brother John in this Pallant House collection. (2)

The Festival of Chichester combines art, music and theatre and more than one hundred events, so there is lots to discover if visiting Pallant House this month. (3)

Arundel Castle

The Duke of Norfolk (also the Earl Marshal of England) and his household and ancestors have lived at Arundel Castle for more than five hundred years. As Arundel Castle still has a family living at the medieval property and often welcome their favourite guests, the wonderfully historic but practical interiors are delightful to see, if you are visiting Sussex this summer. (4)

Chartwell House

The Chartwell Literature Festival showcases “the top names in historical non-fiction and celebrates the 70th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s Nobel Prize in Literature.” The event is on between the 8th to the 10th of September 2023 and is the ideal opportunity to visit Sir Winston Churchill’s home in Westerham in Kent where he lived for over forty years.

Chartwell is now owned by the National Trust and displays throughout the conservatively decorated rooms the many gifts that were given to Churchill and his family by international friends and colleagues. This makes for a fascinating tour which gives an insight into how the Churchill’s lived in the traditional country home of Chartwell House. (5)

Green Room , Osterley House, West London
Green Room , Osterley House, West London

Osterley House

Osterley House is a Georgian country estate in west London and a great place to see Regency style interiors.  Presented by the National Trust as it would appear in the 1780’s, Osterley House is an opportunity to be inspired by the colours, patterns and designs of architect and interior designer Robert Adam and this important time in English architecture.

The Osterley House website explains how the estate was originally built before 1576 for the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham. Osterley Park was (then) bought by the banker Francis Child in 1713 and was remodelled for his grandson Robert in 1763-80 by Robert Adam.

The Tapestry Room is well worth a visit and the nature themed tapestries took four years of work by craftspeople to complete. (6)

Charleston Farmhouse

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to paint every surface in your home with your favourite colours and motifs look no further than Charleston Farmhouse, near the upmarket town of Lewes in Sussex.

From the 1920’s and beyond Charleston was a gathering place for the Bloomsbury Group who are some of the 20th century’s most influential modern painters, writers and artists, who challenged the conventions of the times.

An eclectic and joyful mix of vintage and modern art, furniture and ceramics as well as hand decorated walls creates a charming home that reflects the bohemian lifestyles and progressive attitudes of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their contemporaries. (7)

Garden View Farleys Farmhouse, Muddles Green, near Lewes, East Sussex
Garden View Farleys Farmhouse, Muddles Green, near Lewes, East Sussex

Farley’s Farmhouse

Lee Miller and Roland Penrose set up home at Farley’s farmhouse in the Sussex countryside a few miles north of Eastbourne and Lewes in 1949. Their circle of friends, family and creatives included Man Ray and Picasso. The old country cottage and gardens is the ‘Home of the Surrealists’ and includes modernist art and artifacts that were created by Miller and Penrose and also gifts from some of the most prominent artists of the 20th century.

Lee Miller was an extraordinary American lady who was known for her fashion and war photography and modelling for Vogue. Lee Miller’s talents included organising adventurous travel tours, photography, making art and surrealist cookery. Miller’s husband Roland Penrose was known in his own right as one of the most accomplished painters of this important period in English contemporary art.

Miller and Penrose’s family still oversee the running of the estate and enjoy spending their lives sharing the wonders of this special place, in this particularly gorgeous part of Sussex. If you fancy donning your best costume to celebrate summer The 6th Annual Surrealist Picnic will be held on Sunday 27th August. (8)

Russell-Cotes House

The building of East Cliff Hall began in 1897 and was completed initially in 1901 for Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes. The home “encapsulates the grandeur of the late-Victorian era” and showcases the Russell-Cotes’ decorative art collection. There is a Japanese room and a Moorish Alcove and the house is united by a grand staircase surrounded by splendid artworks.

On the 10th of September there is a special ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ tour taking visitors on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour at East Cliff Hall. (9)

Join the club to see the most interiors

Visiting a selection of the UK’s country houses and palaces can be an educational, fun and healthy way of enjoying ‘me time’ or quality time with loved ones. Spending time understanding grand house visitor attractions can help us to appreciate our modern way of life and also bring us ideas for living a more creative and fulfilling life.

Purchasing an annual membership to an organisation like the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses is a fantastic way of supporting listed and culturally important architectural buildings, interiors and art and craft collections for the joy of people of all ages throughout the next decade and also for future generations to enjoy. A club membership can give you and your family and friends access to hundreds of historic places at a reduced price. There can be promotions on these club memberships for example English Heritage are offering 25% off an online annual membership with code YORE25 today. (11)

If you are able to travel around the country visiting stately homes on days off and on holiday time it can make financial sense to purchase a different annual membership every year of two. This will enable you to gain free tickets and reduced entry to as many venues and events as possible which will definitely brighten up your diary and keep life stimulating and creative.



(1) ‘Colour is King: Edward Bulmer’s first interior design book’ Edward Bulmer and the English Country House published by Rizzoli, EdwardBulmerPaint.co.uk website, 19 August 2023 ‘Colour is King: Edward Bulmer’s first interior design book’ Edward Bulmer and the English Country House

(2) ‘Uncover the life, loves and influences of Gwen John, a groundbreaking modern artist.’ Pallant House gallery website, 19 August 2023 Gwen John, groundbreaking modern artist, Pallant House Gallery

(3) ‘Festival of Chichester’ Festival of Chichester website, 19 August 2023 ‘Festival of Chichester’

(4) ‘Arundel Castle, Castle HistoprHistory’ 19 August 2023 Arundel Castle, Castle History’

(5) ‘Chartwell, Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill’ National Trust website, 19 August 2023 ‘Chartwell, Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill’ National Trust

(6) ‘The House at Osterley Park’ National Trust website, 19 August 2023 ‘The House at Osterley Park’ National Trust website

(7) ‘House Visit’ Charleston website, 19 August 2023 ‘House Visit’ Charleston website

(8) ‘Farley’s Farmhouse, Home of the Surrealists’, 19 August 2023 Farley’s Farmhouse, Home of the Surrealists

(9) ‘Russell-Cotes, House, Gallery, Garden’ 19 August 2023 ‘Russell-Cotes, House, Gallery, Garden’

(10) National Trust website, 19 August 2023 National Trust website

(11) English Heritage website, 19 August 2023 English Heritage website

(12) Historic Houses organisation, ‘Historic Houses Pass’ 19 August 2023 Historic Houses Pass