Lewes audio tour: The History of Eccentric Lewes: From the High Street to the Castle

The History of Eccentric Lewes: From the High Street to the Castle

Walking Tour

40 mins

About the Tour

Lewes is an unusual market town in the heart of Sussex. Most visitors don’t see beyond the medieval streets, small alleyways we call ‘twittens’, and the old English churches, so they leave without realising how peculiar it is. On this walking tour, I’ll shed light on the history of the town through its oldest and most interesting buildings.

As you walk, I’ll share stories of the river, railway, and the Lewes Bonfire, as you take in some of the area’s little-understood architecture. At times, because of the large number of interesting sites, we may do a little more stopping than walking. Along the way, you’ll also learn what “Lewesians won’t be druv” means, and why there are dark undercurrents to this apparently quiet, middle-class market town.

This 40-minute walk goes along Cliffe and Lewes High Street and ends near Lewes Castle. There are plenty of places along the way where you can stop for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink, including the new Depot cinema.

Please note: the High Street is on a hill with some steep sections. There are no steps on this walk and public toilets are available near the first part of the High Street.

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

  • Cliffe

  • Town Hall

  • Lewes Castle

Directions to Starting Point

Begin at the Jireh Chapel opposite the Dorset Arms at the junction of Malling Street BN7 2RA and Harveys Way BN7 2JW, ///skyrocket.scarcely.await. There is a car park in front of the Dorset. You get to that by turning the opposite way from Tesco as you come out of or go towards the Cuilfail tunnel. The location is a 10 minute walk from the railway station and close to the Phoenix Causeway bus stop.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

The castle and museum may be entered at the end. Pubs and cafes abound along the High Street.

Best time of day

Any time, depends whether you prefer the bustle of shop open times or a quieter walk in the evening. The tour suggests a visit to the Town Hall which would need to be done during office hours.


If you are doing this walk within a few days before November the 5th, loud explosions are likely to disturb your audio tour. These will be farmers' Rook scarers rather than the quiet bangers you may be used to.


I regret paying for this app which bears no resemblance to its description. There is nothing about the "dark history" of the town or any social history at all really - just pure pedantry about the detail of brickwork, tiles and stonemasonry. Very boring.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 3 months ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
The History of Eccentric Lewes: From the High Street to the Castle