Travel

Lewes and the Sussex Coast

Last weekend I headed down to visit my friend Bec in Lewes, East Sussex. Usually when I go to that part of the country it’s for a day trip or a gig trip to Brighton so it was nice to another corner of Sussex that I didn’t know that much about. Waking up on Saturday morning to grey skies and rain meant that we decided to stick with exploring Lewes rather than battling the winds nearer to the coast!

We spent the day wandering around the little independent shops, mostly in the Needlemakers  originally the building was a candle factory then became a needle factory during World War 1. The charming brickwork building now houses a whole host of unique shops selling some beautiful gifts as well as antique and vintage goods and the Needlemakers cafe. Even though it was only the first day of October my mind was already wandering off into Christmas gift territory! One of my favourite shops in the Needlemakers was Popsicle , an explosion of colourful and kitsch gifts, home-wares and clothing. I loved the pleated style lightshades and the quirky greeting card designs!

A few other shops that caught my eye were Mary Fellows another shop full of bright, colourful and fun gifts where you could also buy personalised items such as mugs, eggcups and prints. From Victoria – a locally based ceramics artist who had a  pretty  little studio/shop that caught my eye. Located downstairs was The Seamstress , providing the people of Lewes with not only an alterations service but also the opportunity to go in and try their hand at making their own clothes – aspiring seamstresses check out their site for more details about workshops.

After perusing the Needlemakers we headed off towards the river, stopping for some lunch in the aptly named Riverside brasserie, serving all day breakfast, lunches and afternoon tea it was a good place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon lunch! The Riverside building itself hosts a farmers style market and cafe downstairs and some great little fabric and art shops upstairs. Some more strolling in town turned into stumbling upon a beer festival. Taking place at the Snowdrop Inn, with beers from all over the UK it was organised by local brewery Burning Sky and proved a great way to chat to a few locals about the area.

Waking up to sunshine on Sunday morning meant we could stick to our plan of heading to the coast, first we drove towards Birling Gap, a national trust site near to Eastbourne; an unspoiled pebbly beach at the bottom of the famous white cliffs known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ can be accessed via a stair tower from the cliff and the rocky areas when the tide is out is a great place for rock pooling. We sat on the top of the cliffs for a little picnic in the sun, a really peaceful and lovely spot with amazing views!

Once we’d finished exploring Birling Gap we hopped back into the car and drove the short distance towards the town of Seaford for the view of the Seven Sisters, on the way down the Cuckmere river winding down towards the sea is an impressive site (I wasn’t skilled enough to capture on camera!). We parked a short walk from the famous coastguard cottages, the views were stunning and probably some of the best I had seen in Britain, the chalky cliffs looked so striking, especially with the pink sky as the sun set. Considering how easy it is to get to Lewes/Seaford/Eastbourne from London on the train (Southern rail strike dependent of course!) I would definitely recommend a day trip or a weekend break to the area!

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