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About Lewes, Sussex

Living Here

Lewes is where I live, teach and run most courses. It is an ancient county town of Sussex and was a market town. It nestles in the South Downs National Park and is the place of the Battle of Lewes in 1264. We have a Norman castle and the barebones of an enormous Priory. My cellar, and other people’s too, is built with stones from the priory after it was decimated by Henry VIII. Anne of Cleves had a house gifted to her here. Bull House is where the radical Tom Paine lived before, he emigrated to America. He wrote the Rights of Man in 1791 and is a local hero. Southover Grange was the childhood home of John Evelyn, the diarist and its expansive gardens are a wonderful place to go and retreat to.

Lewes is close to Glyndebourne opera house and is also where Nicholas Younge lived. He played a pivotal role in publishing Italian madrigals in this country, kicking off a Golden Age of musical writing. It was and is the home of many writers, creators and artists of all kinds. It has the feel of a creative hub. Recently, the town was gifted a wonderful cinema – the Depot. It’s a real treat with lovely menus. You'll want to drop in for a coffee or glass of wine.

We are close to Brighton, Hastings, Rodmell – the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Eastbourne is home of the Towner art gallery, which holds the main collection of the local artist, Eric Ravilious. It is easy to get the train up to London. In the opposite direction, you may want to go to Chichester – a place I love.

You can go for lovely walks on the Downs by going up Chapel Hill (it’s steep!) in the Cliffe area. There is also the flatter Railway Land where you can walk alongside the river and there are walks up and down the river too. Lewes is upriver of the sea where there are lovely walks to enjoy at Cuckmere Haven and Hope Gap. Alfriston is a lovely, quirky village with some lovely pubs and a superb, prize-winning, independent bookshop called Much Ado Books.

We are easy to get to from London terminals and people also fly into Gatwick from where you can get a direct train to Lewes. It takes about 40 minutes. It is easy to get around on foot and is very friendly.

Staying Here

There are several hotels, but it's the new Premier Inn that students like to use. It’s central and close to All Saints Centre and St Thomas’s Church Hall in the Cliffe. Alternatively, search over 50 B&Bs in Lewes and the surrounding countryside or I can also recommend one, so please ask.

Eating Out

There are a variety of restaurants in Lewes including the mother ship restaurant of Bill’s, just over Cliffe Bridge. There is Pizza Express, Cote, Ask, Palin Thai, Spice Merchant, Lemon Grass, Chaula’s and the new Depot cinema restaurant alongside many, varied small individual restaurants.

Cafes I like going to include Carafe Coffee Roasters, Trading Post, Irmas, Café du Jardin and Lewes Depot.

Several pubs too, offer good food including The Swan, The Snowdrop and The Lewes Arms. We have a fabulous cinema called Lewes Depot by the station which does fantastic food all day.

All our courses have delicious meals provided at lunchtime by Foodworks4you. In the evenings we often meet up at pubs, cafes or restaurants to talk and discuss. On the penultimate night of courses, we like to eat together in the evening.