The medieval town of Lewes lies on a tributary of the River Ouse which meanders through the scenic South Downs to Newhaven. The town dates back to the 11th century and earlier. The Normans built a fine flint castle and the ruins still dominate the town today. The steep cobbled streets are known as “twittens” and 15th century cottages appear unchanged. They are a favourite setting for historic dramas and films. A vacation home in Lewes is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding countryside, the coastal resort of Brighton and the many historic castles in this lovely area.
Lewes and the small towns in the area of East Sussex are perfect for shopping. In particular the town has a fine selection of speciality shops along with many art galleries and craft shops.
Lewes is one of the major centres in Britain for antiques. It has three auction houses and many charming shops to browse for treasure. The Old Needlemakers in the 19th century candle and needle factory now houses a collection of antique shops and a café.
The area around Lewes is rich in historic sites. The 1066 Battle of Hastings site is particularly interesting and there is now an Abbey marking the site of Harold’s death. The battlefield has an award-winning exhibition depicting the Norman conquest of England and the changes it brought about.
One of the most interesting attractions is the Anne of Cleves House, given to Anne as part of her divorce settlement from Henry VIII. It now houses a collection of exhibits from the Elizabethan era along with the Wealdon Ironwork Gallery.
Charleston was the former home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and now contains a wonderful collection of their artwork along with paintings by Picasso, Derain and Renoir.
This 15th century moated castle is one of the most impressive castles in England. Set in beautiful landscaped parkland it has superb Elizabethan walled gardens with a lily pond and folly. The castle was built on the site of Roman remains as a country home for the Fiennes family rather than as a defensive fortress.
The East Sussex coast enjoys mild winters with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. The summers are pleasantly warm, reaching 72°F (22°C). The area has moderate rainfall, heaviest in the winter months.
Your Lewes vacation rental is just 21 miles from London Gatwick Airport. London City Airport is 44 miles away and London Heathrow is 46 miles from Lewes. The area is very easy to drive to, lying just south of the M25 along the M23/A23.