Things to see and do in Lewes

Published: Saturday 20th Dec 2014

Written by: Abi Radford

The last few blogs I have written have mainly focussed on what is happening in the City of Brighton – which of course there is a lot! This week I will be writing about the historic market town of Lewes which lies at the heart of rural Sussex. Less than ten miles away from Brighton, and with its own train station, Lewes is a great place to stay or visit and here are some reasons why.

Set beside the River Ouse there is plenty to see and do in Lewes. Lewes is a bohemian town and is a haven for historians, booklovers, walkers and beer enthusiasts. It has a unique shopping scene with medieval cobbled lanes leading to interesting little bookshops, boutiques and antique centres alongside some well-known Highstreet brands. You could spend all day exploring the winding twittens and streets throughout the town, window shopping and admiring the interesting buildings as you go.

Additionally, on the first Saturday of every month from 9am – 1pm there is the Lewes Farmers Market located at the Cliffe Precinct. It is a local producer market with over 35 stalls selling fresh produce from a 30 mile radius of the town.

Boasting a number of fantastic restaurants you will not fail to find somewhere great to eat in Lewes. Lewes is the place where the first of the famous Bill’s restaurants opened in 2001. With a quirky atmosphere and plenty of jars of homemade delights filling the shelves this restaurant is unique and well worth a visit. Whether you are heading there for breakfast, lunch or dinner you will find an interesting menu that caters to all tastes. All of the food is presented beautifully and tastes great. I would definitely recommend the homemade blueberry and buttermilk pancakes – they are absolutely delicious!

If you are a beer lover then there are a number of welcoming pubs around the town and the aromas coming from the famous Harvey’s Brewery will definitely draw you in for a pint!

Lewes is steeped in history – you will feel like you have gone back in time just being there – and it is home to a thousand year old Norman Castle. The adjoining Barbican House is home to the fascinating Museum of Sussex Archaeology and a mini-cinema which tells the story of Lewes from prehistoric to medieval times. Additionally, you can visit the house of one of Henry the Eight’s wives- Anne of Cleaves. You can explore how the Tudors and Elizabethans lives, worked and relaxed at home when you visit the Anne of Cleves House Museum. Lewes Castle and Anne of Cleaves House are open for all ages to explore throughout the year with an Admission fee. See the website for opening times and fees. 

I know it is nearly Christmas and we have just had bonfire night but I can’t write about Lewes without mentioning Lewes Bonfire Night! The biggest (and loudest) event to happen in the town is Lewes Bonfire Night – which is the only proper bonfire night celebration of its kind left in the UK. Welcoming thousands of people into the town each year this event is definitely one to visit if you are near Lewes. With a fire lit procession from each of Lewes’s Bonfire societies, fantastic firework displays and bonfires around the town there is always a spectacular atmosphere and a lot to see!

Lewes is such an interesting and unique town, with plenty to keep you occupied that it is definitely a place to visit if you are ever nearby in Brighton.

Abi Radford



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