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Vintage guide to Lewes

Vintage guide to Lewes

| Julia Gibbs

On a crisp autumnal day, Darrell and I took a trip down the road to one of our favourite places – Lewes in East Sussex. This is the perfect location for those who love browsing and rummaging through antique shops, but its also jam packed with small independent shops, café’s & restaurants and there’s even a castle to visit! If you don’t live too far away you could make a day of it, but for those further afield there would be enough to fill a weekend break.

So, I have put together a list of our favourite places and things to do in Lewes and hope this inspires you to visit one day!


The easiest way to arrive in Lewes is by train, and the station is in the centre of town. It is well connected with direct trains from London Victoria (1hr) and Brighton (17mins).

Parking in Lewes can be difficult and expensive, plus there’s the one way system to navigate.  So, if you do drive, we find the best place for all day parking is the station car park at £7.50 per day or under £10 for the weekend. You can find cheaper places (for 2hr parking etc) but the all day parking at the station means you don’t have to limit your time, and there are always tonnes of spaces.


Just next to the station is ‘The Depot’, our favourite independent/ arthouse cinema, and community space. There’s also a great café/restaurant here, and accessible toilets. Taking its name from its origins as Harveys Brewery depot (and previous royal mail sorting office), the building was also winner of a Sussex Heritage Trust award.

The Depot: Pinwell Road, Lewes BN7 2JS

Continue straight up the hill (be warned, Lewes is very hilly!) and head towards “The Needlemakers”. This historic building, built in 1820, was originally a candlemakers and now houses a range of independent shops.  But our favourite is the treasure trove of vintage finds found on the lower ground floor (next to the well!). I guarantee you will find something here, there is everything from tins, to books, to clothing, to fabrics and much more.

On the ground floor you will also find a café and several independent shops.

The Old Needlemakers, West Street, Lewes, BN7 2NZ

Hand Spun Botanics

Radical Living

Vintage on the lower level

Opposite the Needlemakers, straight on to the Lewes Flea Market – a bright airy space, two floors of everything from furniture, to records, clothing, jewellery and garden ornaments.

Lewes Flea Market, 14a Market Street, Lewes, BN7 2NB

Coming out of the Lewes Flea Market, turn left up to the high street.  You then have a choice – take a right and head towards Lewes castle. Wander around the hilly twittens and take in the historic buildings and cobbled streets, make sure you walk further up the high street to the Fifteenth Century Bookshop which includes rare and collectable books, specialising in (but not limited to) childrens books.

The Fifteenth Century Bookshop, 99-100 High Street Lewes, BN7 1XH

Or, head straight back down to the other end of the high street, go past the war memorial, right the way down past Boots and over the river Ouse. On your left you have the Victorian Harvey Brewery (tours available) and the original ‘Bills’ restaurant on the right. But keep going! This section of the road is packed full of antique shops, some on different levels, some high end designer antiques, others with a mix of general vintage items including pottery and clothing. You will be spoiled for choice, but our favourite is Lewes Antiques Centre, which has 5 floors of browsing paradise!

Lewes Antiques Centre: 20 Cliffe High Street, Lewes

So I hope this has given you a little taster of what Lewes has to offer. There are many other places of interest in this part of East Sussex and I plan to put together a few guides in my blog in the future.  Until then, I hope you feel inspired to give Lewes a visit – happy browsing!

More Information!

Lewes Bonfire - Beware of travelling to Lewes at this time!

This is the biggest bonfire celebration in the country and advisable not to travel here during this time - unless of course you want to take part in the celebrations, which are spectacular! 

Saturday 5th November 2022


Our favourite independent shops

Wickle: 24 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2LU

Closet and Botts: 37 High Street, Lewes BN7 2LU

From Victoria: 51 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XE

Kings Framers: 57 High Street, Lewes BN7 1XE

Leadbetter and Good: 33 Cliffe High Street, Lewes, BN7 2AN

Nørd: 11 Cliffe High Street, Lewes, BN7 2AH

Dolly Clothing: 3 North Court, Lewes, BN7 2AR

The Old Needlemakers, West Street, Lewes, BN7 2NZ

Hand Spun Botanics

Radical Living

Vintage on the lower level


Friday indoor food market: Market Street (Opposite Lewes Flea Market)

Saturday Farmers Street Market: Friars Walk Car Park

Flint Owl Bakery: 209 High Street, Lewes BN7 2DL

Original Bills restaurant: 56 Cliffe High Street, Lewes BN7 2AN

The Snowdrop Inn & Harveys Brewery: 119 South Street, Lewes, BN7 2BU

Places of historical interest

Anne of Cleves House

Lewes Castle

Lewes Priory 


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