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An Englishman’s Castle

An Englishman’s Castle

Historic Lewes Circular Trail

Begin your tour of historic Lewes at Lewes Castle, one of the earliest Norman strongholds in England. Built after the battle of Hastings in 1066 by William de Warenne, a follower of William the Conquerer, the castle was fortified over generations until it began to fall into ruin in the mid 1300’s.

Climb the South Tower to view the site of the Battle of Lewes in 1264. Pack a camera to capture panoramic views of the South Downs past the chimneys and gables that pepper the ancient rooftops of Lewes, then pop into the adjoining Barbican House Museum and watch a short film about the tumultuous history of the area.

After a relaxing lunch washed down with Harvey’s locally brewed ale, wander over to Anne of Cleves House Museum. This late-medieval timber-framed building was granted to Anne, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, as part of her annulment settlement.

Afterwards, appreciate a tranquil moment at the haunting ruins of England’s first Cluniac Priory in nearby Priory Park. Imagine how the monks worked and prayed as you drink in the scents of the serene herb garden with its fragrant physic, household and culinary beds.

Relax in the evening over a pint of local Harvey’s ale or celebrate with a glass of award-winning Ridgeview wine.

Getting around
Distance 1.3 miles circular stroll or cycle from Lewes railway station
Duration All day, can be done in stages
Grade FAIR
Directions – Walk or Cycle
  1. From Lewes railway station, head right along Station Street and turn left at the second junction where you will find Lewes Castle along the High Street.
  2. On leaving Lewes Castle, turn right past St Michael’s Church.
  3. Head down Keere Street, next to the Fifteenth Century Bookshop.
  4. At the bottom of Keere Street cross straight over onto Southover High Street with Southover Gardens on your right, which you can visit.
  5. At the roundabout, take the second exit and continue along Southover High Street to Anne of Cleves House.
  6. Leaving Anne of Cleves House, head left along Southover High Street, then turn right into Cockshut Road by St John the Baptist Church. Walk or wheel your bike from the signposted entrance and the Priory ruins will soon be in view.
  7. Follow the pathway through Priory Park, past the Bowling Green then left along the pathway to Mountview Road.
  8. Turn left on Mountview Road and right at the roundabout onto Station Road and Lewes Station.

Useful info

Pop into the Visitor Information Centre at the junction of Station Street and High Street for more information on things to do in Lewes.

You may also like

Exploring the twittens or browsing the independent shops and cafes, antiques markets and vintage emporiums, in and around the ancient street of Lewes.


Spend another day in Lewes and walk the Lewes Art Gallery Trail, browsing classic and contemporary art galleries, antique shops and vintage emporiums or see how many pieces you find walking around the numbered Lewes Public Art Trail.

Take a look at some of the other itineraries in Go South Downs. Enjoy a car free visit to the stunning countryside around Lewes where you can enjoy the best of the special landscapes and attractions of the eastern South Downs.



"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."