Located in the heart of East Sussex, England, Lewes is a historic town with a rich history and plenty of things to do and see.
From ancient castles to modern pubs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this quaint English town.
In this article, I’ll take you through 15 of the best things to do in Lewes.
From exploring the Lewes Castle to enjoying a meal at the Bull Inn Pub, this guide will ensure you have an unforgettable experience in Lewes.
So read on and start planning your trip to the charming town of Lewes.
Visit Lewes Castle
Standing proud for nearly 900 years, Lewes Castle is a must-see when visiting Lewes; it’s the perfect place to take in the stunning views and take a step back in time.
Nature lovers will be delighted by the lush gardens and aviary, while history buffs will appreciate the castle’s rich heritage.
The castle’s iconic keep, built in the 11th century, is a sight to behold and offers visitors a great opportunity to explore its many rooms. Inside, you’ll find stunning artifacts such as the 12th-century murals depicting the Battle of Lewes and the impressive 15th-century Great Hall.
The castle also boasts a fascinating museum, full of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the castle’s long and storied past.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a great place to take in the view, Lewes Castle is an unmissable attraction when visiting England.
Explore Anne of Cleves House
Visiting Anne of Cleves House is a great way to explore Lewes’ history and culture! This well-preserved 16th-century house is located close to the town’s High Street and is filled with fascinating artifacts to explore.
Inside, you can explore the rooms of the house and learn about the life of Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII. The house contains many beautiful original features including wall paintings, paneled walls, and a magnificent fireplace.
The house also has a delightful garden with a unique knot garden and some of the original walls still standing. There’s even a café on-site where you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a snack while taking in the views of the garden.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique way to explore the culture and history of Lewes, Anne of Cleves House is the perfect place to visit.
Take a Stroll Around Southover Grange Gardens
Take a stroll around Southover Grange Gardens and enjoy its picturesque scenery and peaceful atmosphere. Located in Lewes, East Sussex, the gardens have been around since the 16th century and are a great spot to find some tranquility and natural beauty.
From the terraced lawns to the abundance of flowers, trees, and shrubs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The gardens are also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, bats, and butterflies.
The ponds are a great place to spot dragonflies and frogs, while the wildflower meadows provide a great view of the South Downs National Park. A guided tour of the gardens is available, so you can learn about the history of the area and the various plants and wildlife.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax or a spot to explore, Southover Grange Gardens is the perfect spot.
Visit the Lewes Town Hall
Situated in the heart of Lewes, the Town Hall is an iconic landmark of the town. Built in the 17th century, this grand building is a great place to visit for a unique experience.
It was once the seat of local government, and today it is a vibrant cultural center, hosting art exhibitions and other events.
The Town Hall is an impressive building, with a beautiful classical façade and a grand interior. Inside, you can explore the old council chambers, the former courtroom, and the old jail cells.
There is also a café and a museum, which tells the story of the town’s past.
The Town Hall is a great place to visit to soak up some of the history and culture of Lewes.
Check Out the Lewes War Memorial
Pay your respects at the Lewes War Memorial, a lasting tribute to the town’s fallen soldiers. Located in the heart of town, this memorial serves as a reminder of the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our country.
A somber granite wall stands tall, engraved with the names of those who perished in World War I and II. A semi-circular stone wall bears a plaque with a poem written especially for this memorial by the mayor of Lewes in 1961.
The memorial also features a flagpole and a stone statue of a soldier, standing guard forever as a reminder of the town’s sacrifice. Each year, the town of Lewes holds a memorial service in honor of the fallen, and the memorial is also visited by school groups and tourists.
Whether you’re paying your respects or simply appreciating its beauty, the Lewes War Memorial is sure to stir your emotions.
Enjoy a Picnic at The Paddock
Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at The Paddock, surrounded by nature as you picnic in the lush green grass. The Paddock is a great place to relax and take in the beauty of Lewes, England.
It is a large open area with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a picnic, or just take a leisurely stroll. You’ll find a variety of wildlife in the area, including rabbits, deer, and birds.
The Paddock is a great place to take photos for a special memory or simply admire the scenery. There are plenty of trees and bushes to provide shade during the hot summer months. Additionally, there are benches around the area to relax and take in the views of the surroundings.
Bring a blanket and a picnic basket and soak up the tranquility of The Paddock.
Wander Through the Lewes Farmers’ Market
Head to the Lewes Farmers’ Market for a unique shopping experience. The Lewes Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning in the heart of Lewes.
Here you can find locally grown produce, homemade breads, artisan cheeses, and locally made crafts. It’s a great way to get to know the local businesses and gain an appreciation for the local culture.
You can sample products from the vendors, chat with farmers and artisans, and enjoy the lively atmosphere. The variety of goods available is vast, ranging from fresh flowers, to unique jewelry, to local honey.
It’s easy to find something that catches your eye and makes a perfect souvenir or gift for a loved one. The Lewes Farmers’ Market is much more than just a place to shop. It’s a place to connect with the community and the local culture of Lewes.
Explore the Cliffe Castle Nature Reserve
For a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Lewes, visit the Cliffe Castle Nature Reserve. Located between the Cliffe and Malling areas of Lewes, the Nature Reserve offers a tranquil spot for a stroll or a picnic.
The Reserve is full of wildlife and peaceful beauty, and is home to a variety of plants and trees. It even has a small lake, which makes it a great spot for bird-watching. The Cliffe Castle Nature Reserve is a great place to take some time to appreciate nature and the natural beauty of the area.
The Nature Reserve also offers a range of activities, from guided walks to educational activities. It’s a great place to explore, with plenty of paths to follow and areas to explore. There are also plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in the Nature Reserve, with a wide variety of birds, mammals, and other creatures living in the area.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to relax, or a place to explore and learn, the Cliffe Castle Nature Reserve is an ideal destination.
Visit The Priory Ruins
Venture to the centuries-old Priory Ruins, where history and mystery come alive. Situated in the heart of Lewes, the ruins date back to the 12th century when a group of Augustinian canons established a religious house.
Here you can explore the remains of a chapel, cloister, and chapter house, and also the area around it. The ruins are a great spot to learn about the history of the area, and it’s a great place to take photos and capture the beauty of the site.
There’s something magical about the Priory Ruins that can’t be put into words. The atmosphere is serene and tranquil, and it’s a great place to clear your mind and just enjoy being in the present moment.
Take a Boat Trip on the River Ouse
Take a peaceful boat trip down the River Ouse and get ready to experience the stunning beauty of Lewes, England.
As you meander down the river, you’ll get to see Lewes’ iconic landmarks like Anne of Cleves House and Lewes Castle. You’ll also get to view the town’s historic buildings and churches, as well as the stunning South Downs National Park.
The boat trip is a great way to get a taste of the local culture, while being able to take in the incredible views of the countryside. You can also take a picnic with you and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the river.
It’s a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of Lewes.
Go Shopping at Harveys of Lewes
Head on over to Harveys of Lewes for a unique shopping experience. Founded in 1790, Harveys of Lewes is an iconic store that’s renowned for its quality products. It’s one of the oldest department stores in England and it’s still owned and operated by the Harvey family.
The store offers a wide selection of items, from clothing and gifts to food and drinks. The stock is constantly updated, so you can expect to find something new each time you visit. On top of that, the store offers a personal shopping service to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
The atmosphere at Harveys of Lewes is also something to be experienced. The store is full of character and charm, with its wooden floors, ornate ceilings, and antique fixtures. It’s like stepping back in time to another era, and it’s sure to leave you feeling inspired.
With friendly staff to help you find what you need, you can be sure that your shopping experience at Harveys of Lewes will be nothing short of unique.
Hike Up to the Long Man of Wilmington
Experience the timeless charm of the Long Man of Wilmington by taking a hike up to this iconic figure.
Located in the hills near Wilmington, East Sussex, the Long Man of Wilmington stands tall at an impressive 230 feet high. This ancient chalk figure is believed to have been created by an unknown artist sometime in the Iron Age or Late Bronze Age. It’s thought to be a depiction of a human figure, but its purpose remains unknown.
The Long Man of Wilmington is a great destination for a day out. The hike to the figure is a moderate-to-strenuous climb, and it’s suitable for most ages and abilities. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, and the views of the surrounding hills are spectacular.
Once at the top, the Long Man of Wilmington stands impressively against the skyline. Take some time to admire this ancient figure and take in the beautiful scenery.
Relax and Unwind at the Deans Place Hotel
Nestled in the countryside of Lewes, East Sussex, Deans Place Hotel offers a truly relaxing and peaceful getaway. It has been welcoming discerning guests since the 1840s and is the perfect place to kick back and unwind.
Set in five acres of stunning gardens, the hotel offers a choice of stylish and comfortable rooms – each equipped with modern amenities to ensure you have a pleasant stay.
The hotel also boasts a fantastic restaurant, serving sumptuous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The chefs prepare delicious dishes using locally sourced ingredients, offering something to suit all tastes.
After a delicious meal, why not relax with a glass of wine or a cup of tea in the hotel’s charming bar and lounge? The staff are friendly and attentive, making sure you enjoy a memorable stay.
Discover the History of Lewes at the Museum of Sussex Archaeology
Immersing yourself in the rich history of Lewes is easy to do by visiting the Museum of Sussex Archaeology. The museum offers a comprehensive collection of artifacts that tell the story of Lewes and the surrounding area for over 800,000 years.
Visitors can explore exhibits that include the Iron Age Sussex Hillfort, the Romans in Lewes, the Norman Conquest and the Medieval Castle. There are also galleries dedicated to the history of local ales, the Lewes Bonfire Night, and the area’s maritime heritage.
The museum also houses a library and study center, giving visitors the chance to research the history of the area in greater depth.
With interactive displays, educational programs, and regular events, the Museum of Sussex Archaeology is a great way to experience the history of Lewes.
Enjoy a Meal at The Bull Inn Pub
For a memorable meal in Lewes, make sure to visit The Bull Inn Pub. Established in 1312, The Bull is one of the oldest pubs in Sussex and boasts a unique atmosphere. Located in the heart of Lewes, it is an ideal place to relax and refuel after a long day of sightseeing.
The pub’s rustic decor and old-world charm create a cozy and inviting ambiance. The menu features classic English dishes like Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, and Cottage Pie, as well as a variety of craft beers and ales.
The staff are friendly and attentive, and the prices are reasonable. Whether you’re in the mood for a pint and a snack or a full meal, The Bull Inn Pub will not disappoint.
Wrapping up, Lewes, England is a charming destination with plenty to see and do. I’ve had a wonderful time visiting the local attractions and gaining insight into the area’s rich history.
From exploring the Lewes Castle and Anne of Cleves House, to taking a stroll around Southover Grange Gardens and admiring the Lewes War Memorial, I’ve had a great time.
I’d highly recommend visiting the Museum of Sussex Archaeology to learn more about the area and The Bull Inn Pub for a delicious meal.
With so much to offer, Lewes is the perfect destination for a getaway.