Sissinghurst Castle and Garden
Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville West’s house and garden, is home to the first hand press used by Virginia Woolf in the early days of the Hogarth Press. Virginia gave it as a gift to Vita in 1930.
Virginia and Vita were occasional lovers. Orlando (1928) is VW's fantastic biographical study inspired by Vita, which traces the history of the youthful and aristocratic Orlando through four centuries in both male and female manifestations.
Vita Sackville West created the garden with her husband, Harold Nicolson, between 1930 and 1938. It is now open to the public and one of the great gardens of the country.
Freshwater, Isle of Wight
In 1923 Virginia Woolf wrote her only play, Freshwater, a comedy in three acts, concerning her great aunt, the pioneering photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79)
The play is set amidst the Victorian bohemia of Dimbola Lodge, where Virginia Woolf’s parents first met.
Amongst the local poets, novelists and artists at that time were Alfred, Lord Tennyson, G.F. Watts, Ellen Terry, Lady Annie (Thackeray) Ritchie, and William Allingham.
In January 1935, Virginia rewrote the play and it was performed in Vanessa’s studio at 8 Fitzroy Street by and for members of the Bloomsbury Group.
Nearby Farringford House, Tennyson’s former home, is now a hotel.
Dimbola Lodge is a museum with a permanent exhibition celebrating the life and work of Julia Margaret Cameron. In addition there are touring photographic exhibitions, tea rooms, and regular literary and artistic events.