Things to do in Lewes

About Lewes

Lewes Castle stands out as a must-see with its panoramic views and historic significance, while Anne of Cleves House offers a rich Tudor heritage experience. The Lewes Priory remains offer a contemplative look at ancient monastic life.
Families with kids will find joy in the Lewes Castle's interactive storytelling, while the Railway Land Wildlife Trust offers educational and engaging outdoor activities, and the Lewes Depot cinema screens family-friendly films.
Walking trails along the South Downs provide an excellent outdoor experience, with the opportunity to spot local wildlife. Boating on the River Ouse is another popular activity for nature lovers.
The Lewes Depot offers cinema, workshops, and events, while art enthusiasts can explore galleries like the Hop Gallery. Historical insights can be gained at the Barbican House museum.
The best Lewes tours include the self-guided audio tours of Lewes Castle, the historical Lewes Priory, and the enlightening brewery tour at Harvey's Brewery.
The Anne of Cleves House museum is highly popular for its Tudor history, as is Barbican House for local archaeological findings and the Lewes History Group's museum.
For rainy days, consider the Barbican House Museum tour which offers shelter and educational exhibits, or the indoor self-guided tour at the Lewes Town Hall, showcasing civic history.
For a quick but enriching experience, the self-guided audio tours of Lewes Castle or the stroll through the historical streets highlighted by the Lewes War Memorial can be completed in under an hour.

Best Things to Do In Lewes

Embark on a journey through time with our self-guided audio tours, discovering historical and cultural delights that Lewes offers.

Lewes: The Lewes Arms

What is it?
A historic and characterful pub renowned for its local ales and community atmosphere.
Why you should go?
Nestled in the heart of Lewes, The Lewes Arms is a must-visit for those looking to experience the authentic British pub culture. This beloved local institution maintains a charm with its quirky decor and regular live music sessions. With a menu featuring local produce and an excellent selection of ales, it’s a hub of warmth and tradition, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring Lewes activities.

Lewes: Bull House

What is it?
The historic home of revolutionary thinker Thomas Paine, a hub of political history.
Why you should go?
Bull House stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Thomas Paine, author of 'The Rights of Man'. It's a pilgrimage site for those interested in the radical movements that have shaped democratic thinking. A visit provides insight into the life and times of one of Lewes's most famous former residents, adding a thought-provoking element to what to see in Lewes.

Lewes: Lewes Flea Market

What is it?
An eclectic market offering vintage goods, antiques, and unique finds.
Why you should go?
For treasure hunters and collectors, Lewes Flea Market is an Aladdin’s cave of curiosities and antiques. This vibrant market attracts those looking for unique items, from retro fashion to rare collectibles. The friendly vendors and the chance to uncover hidden gems make this market a fun thing to do in Lewes, sure to add a unique memory to your visit.

Lewes: Lewes Town Hall

What is it?
The architecturally splendid centerpiece of Lewes, hosting community events and local government.
Why you should go?
Lewes Town Hall, with its striking Victorian facade and rich civic history, stands as a pillar of the community. Visitors can explore the intricate interiors and may even catch a local event or exhibition. Its central presence in community life makes it a significant place to visit in Lewes, embodying the town's spirit and governance across centuries.

Lewes: Harvey's Brewery

What is it?
An iconic and independent brewery, Harvey's has been crafting ales since 1790.
Why you should go?
Harvey's Brewery represents the heart of the local Lewes community, known for its traditional brewing methods and award-winning beers. The brewery tour not only offers an insight into the art of brewing but also a taste of the unique flavors that have been perfected over generations. A visit here is considered one of the best Lewes excursions for those eager to indulge in Sussex's liquid heritage.

Lewes: Lewes Castle

What is it?
An imposing 11th-century Norman castle with rich historical significance.
Why you should go?
Ascending the heights of Lewes Castle provides a journey back to the Norman conquest, with interactive exhibits and preserved artifacts awaiting your discovery. Its battlements offer unparalleled vistas of the Sussex countryside, making it a top draw for history buffs and sightseers alike. Engage with the stories of medieval skirmishes and daily life, ensuring Lewes Castle earns its place among the best things to do in Lewes.

Lewes: Monk's House

What is it?
The charming country retreat of writer Virginia Woolf.
Why you should go?
For a literary pilgrimage, visit Monk's House, the serene dwelling and garden that provided inspiration for Virginia Woolf's masterpieces. Immerse in the Bloomsbury Group's essence, exploring the rooms and artifacts preserved as they were in Woolf's time. This tranquil spot offers a unique window into the past, making it a significant addition to the places to visit in Lewes for literature enthusiasts and history lovers.

Lewes: Glynde Place

What is it?
A beautiful Elizabethan manor showcasing England's opulent heritage.
Why you should go?
Glynde Place emerges from the lush Sussex landscape as a stunning testament to Elizabethan architecture. This majestic manor house, still inhabited by descendants of the original family, provides an exclusive glimpse of stately living. With its art treasures, grandiose rooms, and richly landscaped grounds, the opulent atmosphere of Glynde Place is a not-to-be-missed Lewes activity for those who appreciate England's aristocratic history.

Lewes: Lewes Priory

What is it?
The evocative ruins of a medieval Cluniac priory steeped in tranquility.
Why you should go?
Once one of England's wealthiest religious houses, Lewes Priory stands as a poignant relic of monastic life. Visitors can wander through the ruins, envisioning the grandeur of the past amidst the peaceful gardens. It is a place for quiet contemplation and historical exploration, revered as one of the pivotal things to see in Lewes and especially alluring for those seeking insights into the ecclesiastical narratives that shaped England.

Lewes: Southover Grange Gardens

What is it?
A breathtaking public garden within the grounds of a 16th-century Grange.
Why you should go?
Southover Grange Gardens presents a lush oasis in the heart of Lewes. With its intricately landscaped gardens, seasonal blooms, and historic elements preserved from the Tudor era, it's a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and a splendid example of English gardening. Visitors seeking fun things to do in Lewes will find joy in the garden's peaceful ambience and the opportunity for leisurely strolls amid its diverse flora.

TOP-5 tours in Lewes for first-time visitors

  • Explore Lewes Castle and delve into the history of this Norman fortress, offering panoramic views and tales that shaped Lewes's past.
  • Wander through the picturesque Pells Pool and adjacent Spring Gardens, providing a serene and nature-infused escape amidst the town's heart.
  • Discover Anne of Cleves House, a tour that brings to life the story of Henry VIII's fourth wife and showcases Tudor lifestyle and local history.
  • Stroll along the South Downs Way; this audio tour guides you through breathtaking landscapes and explores the area’s natural beauty and biodiversity.
  • Visit the renowned Lewes Farmers Market, an audio tour highlighting local produce and artisanal crafts, with insights into the community's sustainable ethos.

Fun things to do in Lewes with kids

For families visiting Lewes, a wealth of engaging attractions awaits. Immerse your little adventurers in history at Lewes Castle, where they can climb to the top of the keep and let their imaginations run wild with tales of knights and battles. The audio tour enriches the experience with captivating stories, making it a lively educational outing. The Railway Land Wildlife Trust provides an excellent opportunity for the young and the young-at-heart to connect with nature. The reserve features interactive trails and plenty of local wildlife to learn about, including a sensory garden perfect for curious explorers. Another family favorite is Drusillas Park, just a short drive from Lewes. Though not directly within Lewes, it's considered a top attraction when visiting the area. This small zoo and amusement park boast a splendid array of animals and play areas that promise an unforgettable day out for the children, packed with entertainment and discovery.

Things to do in Lewes with family

Lewes, with its rich blend of heritage and natural beauty, presents families with an array of memorable experiences. Step into the storybook scene of Lewes Castle, where the whole family can absorb the town's history while enjoying interactive exhibits and climbing ancient towers to see breathtaking views. It's an educational yet thrilling outing for children and adults alike. For a dose of outdoor adventure, the South Downs National Park beckons. It's the perfect setting for a family picnic or an exhilarating walk along the scenic trails, offering activities that highlight the area's wildlife and geology. The kids will relish the hands-on learning and freedom to roam. Additionally, Lewes excursions wouldn't be complete without visiting the beloved Anne of Cleves House. Here, families can explore the historical home gifted to Henry VIII's ex-wife, brimming with fascinating artifacts and period costumes. It's a unique chance to step back in time and gain a tangible understanding of Tudor life in Lewes.

Free things to do in Lewes

Delight in the pleasures of Lewes without spending a penny, thanks to a bounty of free attractions that offer cultural enrichment and natural beauty. Embark on a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Ouse, where the serene riverside paths create a tranquil retreat from the bustling town center and provide a perfect setting for an afternoon jaunt or a relaxing family picnic. Art enthusiasts and history seekers will appreciate the historic character displayed at Lewes's antique shops and art galleries, which welcome visitors to peruse without the obligation of purchase, offering a glimpse into the local talent and craftsmanship. For a lesson in peace and remembrance, the Lewes War Memorial in the High Street stands as a poignant landmark. The memorial is a humble yet emotional tribute to the heroes of past conflicts, offering a moment of reflection amidst the town's lively ambiance. These experiences not only highlight what to do in Lewes for free but also capture the town's essence, making them invaluable to any itinerary.

Cheap things to do in Lewes

Experiencing the charm of Lewes on a budget is easy, with a variety of inexpensive attractions to enjoy. Immerse in the town’s heritage with a visit to Lewes Priory, the ruins of one of the most important medieval monastic sites, where a modest entry fee affords a glimpse into Lewes's ecclesiastical past amidst peaceful surrounds. For those interested in local history and culture, the Lewes History Group frequently conducts talks and small exhibitions, often for a nominal contribution that supports their preservation efforts. Nature lovers can indulge in the affordable Lewes activities offered at Lewes Railway Land Local Nature Reserve. Here, a walk amidst diverse habitats, bird-watching from the hide, or engaging with the interactive elements of the sensory garden can create hours of entertainment. These attractions represent the best things to do in Lewes for visitors conscious of their spending, encapsulating the town’s cultural and natural offerings without the high cost.

Things to do in Lewes for couples

Couples seeking romance and shared experiences in Lewes will find plenty to fill their itinerary. Begin with a serene walk through the Southover Grange Gardens, where beautifully landscaped grounds provide an idyllic backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic. The vibrant blooms and the tranquility of the space make for a perfect setting to enjoy each other's company. Indulge in the town's rich culture with visits to its art galleries, where intimate exhibitions offer conversation starters and the chance to appreciate contemporary and traditional art together. For a unique Lewes experience, attend one of the many events at the Lewes Depot, a community-led cinema that screens an eclectic mix of films and hosts live broadcasts, often followed by discussions welcoming all. It’s an ideal attraction for stimulating the mind and sharing perspectives, all within the cozy ambiance of the historic venue.

Things to do in Lewes at night

As the sun sets, Lewes reveals a different side of its character, offering a variety of nocturnal activities for night owls. Couples and friends can revel in an evening of live entertainment at the Lewes Con Club, a members-owned social club that frequently hosts live music, offering a vibrant local scene. History buffs might enjoy the eerie thrill of a ghost walk around Lewes's ancient streets, where guided tours share spine-tingling tales of the town’s haunted past — a unique way to see the historic sites under the cloak of darkness. Alternatively, The Royal Oak pub provides a quintessentially British experience with its cozy atmosphere and selection of fine ales. Regular quiz nights, tastings, and performances give visitors a taste of traditional pub culture and local camaraderie. These attractions make exploring Lewes at night an adventure in itself, ensuring memories that shine as brightly as the stars above this historic town.