Lewes audio tour: Historical Lewes: The Priory and the River Ouse

Historical Lewes: The Priory and the River Ouse

Walking Tour

90 mins

About the Tour

Lewes is a great town for walking, up on the Downs, along the River Ouse, and within the town too where the pubs are plentiful and good. This walking tour takes you to the medieval Cluniac priory, where monastic life after the Norman conquest started. It’s a site that’s at least as important as Lewes Castle, and you’ll hear about the priory’s destruction during Henry VIII’s and Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries.

We’ll journey through the old medieval town, some of Lewes’ open spaces, and along a short stretch of the Sussex Ouse which once flooded with disastrous consequences. Along the way, I’ll answer important questions like:

• Where did the worst avalanche in Britain occur?
• Why was Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Kiss, covered up?
• How did King Henry III manage to lose the battle of Lewes despite having twice as many men as the barons led by Simon de Montfort?
• What happened to the original White Lion Inn sign?

Allow 90-minutes for this walk. It ends near where my other walk exploring Lewes’ walls and architectural cover-ups begins. There are quite a few steps and some steep slopes so please wear sensible shoes. Public toilets are available in Grange Gardens.

Please note: You can find the presentation on the lavatorium here: https://www.lewespriory.org.uk/?location_id=744

Tour Producer


Ian Runcie

I'm retired and living in Lewes, which is a great place to retire to. I'm a volunteer ranger in the South Downs Park and a hobby hedgelayer. Along with my VoiceMap audio tours around the town, I've created a website where I share walks in the hills around Lewes. https://denmans3.wixsite.com/lewes-walker.

Major Landmarks

  • Lewes Priory

  • Grange Gardens

  • Sussex Ouse

  • Pells Pool

  • Railway Land

Directions to Starting Point

The tour starts at the main entrance to Lewes railway station.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Any of the pubs mentioned. Most do meals.
Anne of Cleves museum.
Maybe take a walk along the Ouse.
Afterwards continue on to the Railway Land nature reserve.

Best time of day

Any time. You will cross a few main roads but traffic is not too much of a problem on this walk. Grange Gardens are closed during the hours of darkness.


Just enjoy.


Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Historical Lewes: The Priory and the River Ouse