Sussex occupies a unique position in the recent history of British thought, art and literature. It has helped shape our modern world. One hundred years ago writers, artists and designers recognised Sussex and its landscape as a place of inspiration and an escape from the city. It suited their radical ideas, alternative lifestyles and independent spirits.
Today Sussex is studded with galleries, museums, artists’ houses and performance venues: thirteen extraordinary spaces that explore historic and contemporary stories of ‘making’ while reflecting the essence of modern creativity. From the writings of Virginia Woolf to the paintings of Eric Ravilious, the photographs of Lee Miller and the type design of Eric Gill, Sussex Modern represents a rich assembly of artistic endeavour and talent. A changing programme of exhibitions, events and performances spotlights the best and most exciting of contemporary work.
In this century Sussex has also inspired a new generation of creative pioneers. Working with the soil and climate, a modern winemaking industry has grown from the landscape and rapidly built an international reputation. With its high latitude, warm and dry maritime climate, and range of soil types Sussex has the right characteristics and long seasons for grapes to mature to full ripeness. Widely awarded for their excellence nine thriving wineries now welcome visitors for wine tours and experiences. There are opportunities to see how the wine is made and to enjoy both still and sparkling varieties.
With the creation of the South Downs National Park in 2010 the county has opened up new ways to experience, enjoy and learn about its landscape, nature and history. The high chalk downs, cliffs and pebbled coastline are a distinctive feature of this quintessentially English countryside. Much of the county’s hinterland is part of the High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its own distinctive landscape of woodlands, rolling hills and hidden pathways was once the site of medieval iron forges and today offers plenty to explore, especially on foot or by bike.
Together the art, landscape and wine of Sussex make for a fascinating and refreshingly modern experience – one that stimulates the senses and rewards the curious. All just an hour or so from the capital.
Sussex Modern is a celebration of the county’s contribution to modern culture. We invite you to curate your own visit… map your own route…pick your own trail.