Considering a move to Lewes? Here at Cubitt & West, as the most successful independent estate agents in the South East, we are the perfect source for all the information you need to know about the homes, schools and transportation links in the area.
In addition to the local services, our Living in Lewes guide will give you a sense of what life is like in the area – its history, its culture and the kind of entertainment and leisure activities it offers.
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What Is Life Like In Lewes?
Located in the rural haven of East Sussex, Lewes is a small market town 8 miles north-east of Brighton. Once named among the UK’s best places to live, Lewes is a fantastic location for families and buyers looking to establish a home in the Sussex countryside.
As well as several excellent schools, Lewes is also home to convenient local amenities and shopping opportunities. On the high street and nestled among the cobbled streets, you will find independent boutiques mixed with chain retailers. The most desirable residential areas in Lewes are Southover and Wallands. These contain grand historical properties, and are located close to Lewes Railway Station as well as shops, bars and restaurants.
History Of Lewes
Lewes’ history began with the Romans in 55 BC, who settled in the area for several centuries. In the 1066 Domesday Book, which itemised settlements across England and Wales, 127 households were recorded in Lewes.
The 1550s brought turmoil and violence to Sussex as Queen Mary relentlessly persecuted Protestants during her reign. Between 1555 and 1557, 17 Sussex residents were burned at the stake for defying Bloody Mary – inspiring the Lewes Cliffe Hill Memorial to the Martyrs which now stands in the town atop Cliffe Hill. Residents shouldn’t be alarmed by the sight of crowds carrying burning crosses during the November Lewes Bonfire Celebrations; this is just a part of the remembrance parade for those burnt in Lewes.
The railway reached Lewes in 1846, spelling the end of the town’s status as a port, with goods instead transported by rail. By 1901 Lewes had become a prosperous market town, a status it still holds today with its population of 16,000.
Days Out In Lewes
Built shortly after the 1066 Norman invasion, Lewes Castle and the attached Barbican House Museum overlook the town’s High Street and are open to the public for a small fee. Combined with a trip to the ruins of the Lewes Priory, a near millennia-aged construction, Lewes makes for a great location for history buffs.
You can enjoy days out in the South Downs, walking through the hills and valleys that form the beautiful landscape. The Lewes Beacon is a brazier on Mount Harry that was erected in 2002. It was built to imitate the historic beacon that once stood in the same spot during the 16th century. The original beacon was created as a way of communicating to surrounding beacon keepers and settlements of danger or invading French.
With Brighton just 8 miles away, days out in the city are within easy reach. With lots of arts venues and restaurants, Brighton makes for a terrific day trip for families as well as young people looking for bars and high energy club nights. Harvey’s Brewery is a popular local venue for tours and locally produced beer, boasting the title of the oldest independent brewery in Sussex.
Things To Do In Lewes
With a selection of local sports clubs and societies, Lewes has a lot to offer those looking to join a local team or simply get fit. You will find the usual mixture of rugby, football, cricket and golf clubs in the area as well as fun opportunities to spend time outdoors. With the many surrounding green spaces including the South Downs, Lewes is a great location for ramblers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. Exercise classes run at the local leisure centre. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, which is great for entertaining children at the weekend and during the summer holidays.
With a wonderful selection of cafes and restaurants, the town has much to offer in terms of fine dining and evenings out. Bill’s is a quaint café and a favourite among locals, known for its great breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Visit one of the Prezzo, ASK Italian, or Pizza Express restaurants in the town’s bustling centre for a meal at a well-known chain.
You can visit Glyndebourne, an English country home and world-renowned 1,200 seat opera house, which stages the annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera. It’s a local gem that mixes history and music in an idyllic country setting. For more history, visit one of the many other historic locations or museums in the area.
Schools In Lewes
Lewes and the neighbouring areas of Brighton offer first-rate educational facilities.
Nurseries and Pre-schools include:
- Jigsaw YMCA Day Nursery
- Early Years Childcare
- Lewes Nursery School Ltd
- The Old School House Nursery Ltd
- Clock Tower Nursery
Primary schools include:
- Western Road Community Primary School
- Southover Cofe Primary School
- St Pancras Catholic Primary School
- Pells Church of England Primary School
- South Malling Cofe Primary School
- Wallands Community Primary School
Secondary schools include:
- Priory School
Transport In Lewes
Lewes is well-connected via an efficient range of transport links.
Lewes Railway Station is located in the centre of town, with services running to London taking approximately 90 minutes. Train services operated by Southern Railway depart from the five platforms and links between Lewes and Brighton take less than 20 minutes.
Buses and coaches
The Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company operates between Brighton and Lewes. Services also run between Brighton and surrounding towns and villages.
The closest international airport is London Gatwick, only 33 miles away. London Heathrow Airport and Southampton Airport are both roughly 70 miles away.
Lewes has direct access to the A26 and A27 for travel along the south coast. It is also within reach of the A23 which separates Lewes’ residents from London by only 58 miles.