Last week, I took a trip south to return to the charming East Sussex town of Lewes.
I was there to watch my team, Dulwich Hamlet lose (once again) to the local football club, but that didn’t prevent me enjoying my time in the town.
My first stop – and my favourite pub in Lewes – is the Lansdown Arms on Lansdown Place, which was sporting a Ziggy Stardust tribute.
I reviewed the pub during my last visit, and this time I learnt that locals refer to it as ‘Platform 6’, on account of its proximity to Lewes station (which has five platforms).
It’s a lovely old boozer.
There was some offbeat stickers to be found around town.
I love the Craven A cigarette advert, with its wildly improbable boast that it “Will not affect your throat.”
The Friar on 7 Fisher Street is a great little chip shop with delicious traditional chips and friendly staff.
Getting in the chips before the game.
Lewes is an ancient town, with lots of narrow alleyways and nooks and crannies to explore.
There’s some great architecture around the town.
The Pells Pool off Brook Street can claim to be the oldest outdoor freshwater public pool in the country.
Grade II listed, the pool has been open every summer for the last 150 years. Read more here.
Willey’s Bridge, opened in Feb 1965 by the ‘Mayor Councillor A C Barber’, crosses the River Ouse on the outskirts of town.
“You can see Lewes lying like a box of toys under a great amphitheatre of chalk hills … on the whole it is set down better than any town I have seen in England.”
William Morris (1834-1896)
Lewes was once connected to the Wealdon Line, a double track railway that ran to Tunbridge Wells, some 25 miles away.
The southern part of the line, running from Lewes to Uckfield, closed on 4 May 1969.
The northern section of the line has partly re-opened under the auspices of the Spa Valley Railway, whilst the Lavender Line has revived Isfield Station on the southern section with about one mile of track.
With growing congestion on the railways, there has been a concerted campaign since 1986 led by the Wealden Line Campaign to re-open the entire line to passengers, with detailed plans and proposals being drawn up.
Impressive brickwork on this viaduct.
The viaduct carries a minor road.
Walking back into the town centre.
Claiming to carry the “largest range of bottled & canned craft beers in Lewes,” the Elephant & Castle pub in White Hill hosts regular open mic, folk and debating nights.
The Lamb in Fisher Street hosts regular gigs.
The Lewes Arms found itself embroiled in a high profile dispute in 2006, when its owners, the Greene King Brewery, banned the sale of the locally produced – and delicious – Harveys Sussex Best Bitter.
The Harveys brewery is approximately half a mile from the pub and is a major local employer. The 220-year-old pub in the centre of the town had been acquired by Greene King in 1998. The seasonal Harveys ales were withdrawn in 2004 but the Best Bitter remained on sale because of its popularity – outselling Greene King’s cask ales by a factor of 4 to 1. The decision to finally withdraw the Best Bitter turned into a public-relations disaster
In what The Independent described as a ‘humiliating climbdown,’ the beer was eventually reinstated. The pub is now owned by Fuller, Smith and Turner.
The striking clock tower of St. Michael-in-Lewes Church, High Street.
Evening view along the High Street.
Charming cobbled street.
The timber-framed building Fifteenth Century Bookshop on the on the corner of High Street and Keere Street.
Former home of English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary, Thomas Paine.
Approach to Lewes castle.
Waiting for the train home.
More photos: Sussex photo galleries