The ‘hidden gem’ in East Sussex which hosted Picasso

Farleys House, Sussex, England’ by Tony Tree. (c) Courtesy Lee Miller Archives, England 2018. All rights reserved. HISTORIC East Sussex farmhouse which once hosted some of the most famous names in the world of art has been named a ‘hidden gem’ by a national tourist body.

The Visit England accolade was awarded to Farleys House and Gallery in Chiddingly, near Lewes, which reopened its doors for the summer season on Sunday April 1 2018.

The house was home to influential American photographer Lee Miller and her husband Sir Roland Penrose, a leading figure in the surrealist art movement of the mid-20th century knighted in recognition of his services to the art world.

Their pictures are hung in the house alongside works by some of the famous artists they entertained there, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Eileen Agar, Bridget Riley and Man Ray.

The house, which has been left mostly as it was when occupied by the couple, is owned and managed by their son, Antony Penrose, and granddaughter, Ami Bouhassane.

Ms Bouhassane said: “We are delighted to receive this award and are particularly proud of being recognised for our high quality experience across Farleys, from the house tours and exhibitions to our sculpture garden and welcoming staff. We may be ‘hidden’ but are worth discovering!”

The accolade is a further boost to East Sussex’s tourism economy – a sector which grew by 38 per cent in 10 years according to the most recent figures, and now accounts for an annual turnover of £1.42 billion and supports 30,000 jobs.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “Tourism is vital to our economy and continues to go from strength to strength, bringing in visitors and supporting jobs.

“Our cultural attractions are important to our appeal as a location and this acknowledgement of one of many excellent attractions in the county is warmly welcomed.
“Farleys is one of the county’s lesser known, but most fascinating attractions, and this accolade is a richly deserved reward for the high standards set by its owners and the knowledgeable and professional staff who work there.”

The house welcomes visitors every Sunday between April and October for 50-minute guided tours which run at half past the hour from 10.30am to 3.30pm, with no advance booking.

Group visits during the week and special guided tours conducted over the course of a morning or afternoon led by members of the Penrose family are also offered, but must be pre-booked.

More information is available online at or by calling 01825 872856.