town of Lewes nestles on a spur beside the river Ouse as it meanders through
the South Downs to Newhaven. With a rich and proud heritage, Lewes conveys
an air of traditional elegance and sophistication as you wander through
its medieval town centre. As one of the first towns settled by the Normans
after 1066 it soon boasted a fine flint castle, the ruins of which still
dominate the town today.
The narrow streets and twisting lanes, or "twittens", appear unchanged by
the centuries, "Keere Street", a steep cobbled street flanked by picturesque
cottages and with a fifteenth-century bookshop, is well worth a look. This
exquisite street is a favourite film location for many television and film
companies. Close by is "Anne of Cleves House Museum". This sixteenth-century
timber-framed house was given to Anne as part of her divorce settlement
with Henry VIII and now houses a fascinating collection of Elizabethan and
later exhibits. Along with Lewes Priory, Bull House and Southover Grange
an insight is given to the town's long and colourful heritage.
For shoppers Lewes offers an impressive range of speciality shops, galleries
and craft centres. As one of Britain's major centres for antiques it boasts
three auction houses and a wide selection of antique shops in which to browse.
Amongst the craft centres is the impressive building of the Old Needlemakers
in West Street. Steeped in history this nineteenth-century candle and needle
factory now houses twenty small, craft-based shops and a café.