Explore the house at Monk’s House
Explore the country retreat of the novelist Virginia Woolf, where she wrote many of her most celebrated novels. The house is steeped in Leonard and Virginia's personalities, as if they have just stepped out for a walk. You can explore the house at your own speed and there are always room guides on hand to help you to bring the house alive.
Art and the Bloomsbury Group
Monk's House is filled with the Woolfs' impressive art collection as well as personal items from their time here. The unique character of the house is filled with the spirit, not only of the Woolfs, but of the Bloomsbury Group and the many artists, writers and thinkers who visited. The walls and furnishings are covered in artwork by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. These were added to later by artist Trekkie Ritchie.
In the sitting room, you can see the matching table and chairs Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant painted for Virginia with her initials painted into the design. Political letters sit on Leonard's desk and sculptor Stephen Tomlin's bust of Virginia Woolf sits on the windowsill. It took over six years to create and was never finished.
The dining room
Transformed from a spare bedroom, the dining room displays the best-known portrait of Virginia Woolf, painted by her sister Vanessa, as well as Trekkie Ritchie's sympathetic portrait of Leonard. The Woolfs' set of bowls can also be found here. Leonard was an extensive record keeper and, in 1940, had won 259 of their 335 games.
Though the Woolfs did not generally cook for themselves, Virginia did make jams and bread frequently. See if you can find the strange Glazebrook portraits and the cabinet Trekkie Richie painted whilst waiting for her potatoes to boil.
Looking out over the garden, the conservatory runs the length of the cottage. In here there are succulents, houseplants, cacti and other exotic plants evoking Leonard’s travels in Asia.
Virginia Woolf's writing lodge
Virginia Woolf wrote some of her major works in the writing lodge in the garden of Monk's House. Nestled against a flint wall which separates the churchyard from the rest of the garden, the writing lodge was relocated in 1934 to offer views towards Mount Caburn.
Today it is somewhat tidier than when Virginia was writing here. She was known to be untidy in her writing practices, leading writer and critic Lytton Strachey to observe that every surface was littered with 'filth packets; of pen nibs, cigarette ends and scraps of writing’.
Tucked behind the house, the cottage garden is packed full of perennial borders with brick paths weaving throughout, a productive orchard, and climbers trailing across flint walls.
Find out about this 16th-century house and its journey from farmstead to mill-owner’s residence and finally the home and retreat of well-known writers Virginia and Leonard Woolf.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.