"LEWES - 'IT'S NICER THAN BRIGHTON!'" Top 5 Page for this destination Lewes by themajor

Lewes Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 124 photos


Lewes is one of my favourite towns in the United Kingdom. Although I don't happen to live here I do visit every week pursuing my long-held love of antiques and auctions. I often pause by estate agents windows and go through my customary daydream - which has lasted almost 40 years now - of pretending which expensive flint built townhouse i will be moving into next week. I never quite realise these lofty ambtions as the small matter of money always gets in the way. I am working on it.

The town is a delight. A curious mix of conservative tweedy respectibility (for Lewes was the county town of East Sussex before administrative governmental meddling started juggling with our delightfully ancient traditions) and green eco-warriordom (WWOOF, Willing Workers On Organic Farms is based here together with the worlds' supply of dried lentils...well, more than the odd bagful anyway.) in recent years a new brand of resident has been thrown into the mix - the DFL!

DFL's or Down From London's seem have attracted a rather 'mixed' response from some born and bred locals. Basically they are Londoners who have either sold up in the capital city and relocated with their juicily inflated capital reserves or they are well-heeled second home owners who seem to be able to afford what many grown-up offspring of locals can't - a home in Lewes. One wonders whether the image they painted of the DFL is gross caricature but to be honest, I've seen it myself. Stroll along the High Street on a Saturday and peep into the cafes and artisan bakers. Look for Yummy Mummies bearing mobiles and errant children with slightly unusual names - Boris, Tarquin, Esmerelda, Violet. Watch the children run rampage whilst their parents studiously ignore the ensuing tumult whilst sipping their decaf lattes and pouring over the Arts section of The Guardian. Feel their lofty indignation as a local asks their children to 'be careful' or 'pick up their rubbish'. Priceless!

Such is the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the place that you get wonderfully earnest ventures selling organic nuclear-free hemp sitting decorously alongside shops that purvey Philippe Stark lemon squeezers. Add a real life mediaeval castle, Anne of Cleves' Tudor hideaway, twee cottages, art galleries and a splendid smattering of characterful shops and you can't go wrong. And I haven't even mentioned the UK's most extraordinary Bonfire Night celebrations.


  • Last visit to Lewes: Mar 2014
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (16)

  • Apr 16, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    I do hope to one day be lewd in lewes! they wouldn't know what hit them!

    • themajor's Profile Photo
      May 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Wonks dear, I'm sure that butter wouldn't melt in your mouth. Let us leave any further investigation to one side...

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Hello, Nick! Wow, what a story! It makes me wonder how much I still have to learn about the UK... Take care! ~

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    I am suitably impressed to learn that you held Virginia Woolf's last walking stick in your very hands -- and even more impressed that you did not feel inclined to bid...

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2008 at 8:49 AM

    Very interesting and informative page!

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2007 at 2:54 AM

    More wonderful English treasures presented by the Major with the monocle! I have passed through Lewes many times on the train en-route to Eastbourne in my mischievous youth to visit my Granny, but njust never got off the train .Tim

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2007 at 12:27 PM

    Excellent stuff, you're right, there are more than a few hidden gems in Lewes.

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    Hilariously written tips! Well done!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2006 at 4:06 PM

    I think that your pages should serve as the best examples of how to write narratives on VT...superior. Great pages about Lewes with great tidbits and fun insights. Grand photos as always.

  • Nov 18, 2005 at 6:53 AM

    Lewes House Graden is a sculpture park for the duration of the annual Artwave Festival of open houses only. This is generally the month of September. Wouldn't want disappointed sculpture lovers during the rest of the year.

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2005 at 9:32 AM

    Dashed fine overview... Can't imagine why life has never taken me to Lewes... 'bout time i did something about that. Loved your texts as much as the photos.

themajor Visits Here Frequently!


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