After driving through Lewes a couple of times and not really seeing what the ‘big fuss’ was all about, I decided it was time to throw caution to the wind and get out with Green Ranger to have an adventure there.
After walking around for only twenty minutes, it was clear this delightful town in the middle of the South Downs had much more to offer than we’d both previously thought. Lewes High Street, old and new, is based on a hill, so we thought we’d start at the bottom and work our way up to the top.
At the bottom of the hill, we walked in and out of quirky antique shops housing everything from old postcard photography of the area to collections of odd currency and a lot of upholstered farmer’s items. Walking around, I picked up a Penny Farthing. I love older trinkets that I know have been in multiple people’s possession – I know it’s slightly dirty but I guess it’s all part of my addiction to history. Afterwards, we popped into a couple more quaint emporiums and I picked up a very much used copy of Graham Greene’s ‘The End of the Affair.’ I’d always wanted to read at least one of his books and this time seemed better than any to buy one. To my surprise, each of the shops were well priced too; not even a price hike for being labelled ‘vintage’.
We even managed to find a lane called ‘Bear Yard’, across from the famed Harveys Brewery, where we took a little picture or two (me and Green Ranger refer to ourselves as bears!). I was delighted to find some interesting street art too, dotted here, there and everywhere – a really pleasant surprise! I especially loved this cheeky version of Mary Poppins, one of my favourite characters of all time.
After we’d wandered up the hill a little and over the river, we spotted a charming looking cafe named the Flint Owl Bakery. Serving all home-made sandwiches, flatbreads, paninis, soup – you name it – it was a little cafe made in heaven. The kind of place me and Green Ranger would love to own and run. I opted for the mozzarella, pesto and sun dried tomato flatbread and it was one of the most delicious lunches I’ve had in a while! I’d highly recommend it. I also enjoyed a flat white very much, despite my previous opinions on this blog… I’ve grown to like them slightly, consider previous statements retracted. They also sell cakes, buns, loaves and loose leaf teas, if I wasn’t so full and wanting to savour the flavour, then I would have got a sweet treat… you know me, always love a bit of sugar.
With bellies full and thoroughly relaxed after reading a few newspapers and giving our feet a rest, we carried on with our hilly jaunt. As we walked around Lewes, it became apparent to me that this was a place with entrenched history from many eras. The Castle at the top provided stunning views of the surrounding sunny Sussex countryside and the dated signage is apparent on most buildings as you’re walking around. I took far too many photos in one afternoon but these kinds of things are my bread and butter.
On the way back to the car, after we’d done enough exploring for our first visit, we visited The Needlemakers. Chocked full of vintage clothes, books, magazines, local artisans and a hidden cafe, this was by far one of my highlights of Lewes and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for one-off gifts or a souvenir for yourself! I noticed a little advert for a sewing workshop from The Seamstress on one of the walls, so I’ll be trying that our sooner rather than later, especially as I have my new sewing machine.
Then, after walking past some curious circus mirrors, we struck upon Mary’s. A designer and sweet shop owner, Mary has produced some wonderful prints that are on sale in her little but cute shop. Not only that, she has lots of old fashioned sweets, the kind you get in jars; we nabbed some Milk Bottles and Bon Bons for the drive home. I also spotted her collection of nail varnishes too, it was only when I turned them upside down, that I realised each lady-shaped bottle had a name. I bought a bright green shade named ‘Olive’, she hasn’t failed me yet and looks wonderful on.
All in all, Lewes was a lovely day out in the sunshine – full of historic finds, hidden gems and scrummy cafes. We’ll definitely be going again soon!
Have you ever been to Lewes or know anywhere like it?