Just a 20 minute railway journey from Brighton (there are trains roughly every fifteen minutes), no more than 30 minutes by car and almost the same by bus, Lewes is the county town of East Sussex and a bit of an historical gem.
The town is a delight. A curious mix of conservative tweedy respectibility (for Lewes was the county town of East Sussex before administrative governmental meddling started juggling with our delightfully ancient traditions) and green eco-warriordom (WWOOF, Willing Workers On Organic Farms is based here together with the worlds' supply of dried lentils...well, more than the odd bagful anyway.) Such is the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the place that you get wonderfully earnest ventures selling organic nuclear-free hemp* sitting decorously alongside shops that purvey elegantly coiled lengths of rope for you to display upon your mantlepiece next to your Philippe Stark lemon squeezer.
Add a real life mediaeval castle, Anne of Cleves' Tudor hideaway, twee cottages, art galleries and a splendid smattering of characterful shops and you can't go wrong. Brighton may be bright and breezy but you'll love Lewes. And I haven't even mentioned the UK's most extraordinary Bonfire Night celebrations...
If you are interested in ships you can take a day trip by train to Portsmouth and Southsea.
The trip takes less than 1,5 hours from Brighton. The harbour town of Portsmouth is one of Britain's maritime bases. It has an exhibition of historic ships and a few ship museums.
The residental suburb of Southsea offers a long pebble beach and many seaside amusements.
After departing from Brighton, our next stop was to be Arundel Castle.
I'm afraid, this didn't happen, as even though it was only 20km's from Brighton, the heavy traffic put an end to it as it took forever to do the 20kms, and on arrival, we were too close to closing time to go inside.
So, and outside view it was, and this is one impressive looking English Castle!
I wasn't that disappointed, as it was another Castle where
NO PHOTO'S ARE ALLOWED INSIDE
OPEN....Open Tuesday to Sundays inclusive, and August Mondays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Chapel, Gardens & Grounds 10:00am to 5:00pm
Restaurant 10:30am to 4:30pm
Gift Shop 10:30am to 5:00pm
Castle Keep 11:00am to 4:30pm
Castle Rooms 12:00noon to 5:00pm
Last admission 4:00pm
ADMISSION IN 2013..............Adults....17gbp
The website is very good, and if you wish to go, will give you all the information you need.
If the weather is nice and you have transport, it is well worth attempting to burn off some of a large British Sunday roast with a walk in the woods.
This autumn just gone, found myself, 'Aunty & Uncle Wife', 'The Little Rock Chick & my 2nd daughter', 'Princess Fairy' and 'Rocky dog', doing just that after a huge lunch at the aformentioned Cock Pub.
The nearby town of Lewis is a county town, on a hill next to the River Ouse, with a 1000 years of history in its streets and buildings , there is a network of pathways through the woods. I think it is called 'Monks walk', ask a local and they are bound to know. This is a nice easy, gentle walk and suitable for people who have eaten too many roast potatoes, very small people and teenage 'grumpies' ; ) You can go round in a circle, so there is not a great distance to get back to the car, (easy to park here too). - ideal for little legs and tired older legs too!
There are much longer walks and organised trips, click the website link below for further details. Lewes has a castle and various hisotrical buildngs and little quaint shops to explore too; not forgetting they have a branch of the fantastic Bills Produce store and cafe in the town center. You can also easily catch a train or bus there from Brighton.
A really good place to go if you have transport for a decent Sunday roast is The Cock pub at Ringmere. Run by the Ridley family, The Cock is housed in a 16th century coaching inn and offers a really extensive menu to tempt all types of tastebuds. The decor is wonderful unspoilt, the bar with original oak beams, a flag-stone floor and an Inglenook fireplace, where a log fire can be found in cooler months.
Priding themselves "on keeping a range of cask conditioned real ales and you will always find Harvey's Best Bitter, Old and Mild (in season), together with regular guest beers.....If wine is your tipple, you will find a range of reasonably priced wines guaranteed to suit every palate".
See their website for menus.
In warmer weather, this traditional English pub has very pleasant gardens, with views of the South Downs where you can watch the sun go down.
The restaurant (non-smoking) seats up to 72 diners and can cater for groups of up to 30 people. Children welcome. Sunday roasts are served all day up until 9.30 pm, so you don't need to rush on your day of rest ; )
Refreshments available including
water bowl and chew on the house.
The Cock is situated on the A26 between Uckfield and Lewes just outside Ringmer and is just 15 minutes from Brighton, 5 minutes from the historic town of Lewes and just over 5 minutes from Uckfield.
We decided to go for a night out this night (12/7/03) to Brighton, but where it had been a scorching weekend so far, Brighton was absolutely full!
So, instead of looking for an elusive parking space along the sea front, we just continued driving eastwards along the Promenade. The new moon hanging over the sea looked beautiful and bright amongst the pale blue and pink evening sky. We then stopped in a place called 'Roedean Road' and I took a couple of photos of the scenery, and then I noticed this great big sandstone building to my left. It had a few lights spread around on it, but it looked like something from out of an old Bronte or Charles Dickens novel, it made me think straightaway of Bleak House. It looked foreboding and unhappy, just looking at it made me shiver. It could have been a Hotel, yes, it definitely looks like it could have been the haunted hotel in the film 'The shining.' But it was actually 'Roedean School.' The private school for girls, where Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of prince Andrew, went.... Scary!
The West Pier was a beautiful old Pier, built back in 1863. Unfortunately it was burnt down back in the early 1980's after a boat crashed into it one dark night. It has supposedly been going to be done back up for years? but nothing has changed unfortunately.
The Lottery should be paying out for this to put it back to it's former glory.
It was a sad day on 29/12/02, we had massive winds down the South of England and it made some more of the West Pier collapse onto the Sea.
People had been collecting driftwood and debris from it for old times sake, that's quite understandable, it's old history, but in the end the Police made them keep away.
This was still down to be rebuilt then.
On the 28th March 2003, it was a very sad day for people like me that were hoping to see West Pier rise out of the ashes like the Pheonix.
At 10.45 am that morning, a blaze destroyed whatever remnants that were left for the building of West Pier, hundreds of people stood by on the Beach and watched the old Pier burn as 60ft waves engulfed the Pier. Firemen couldn't tackel the blaze because the grade 1 listed building is structurally unsafe.
Arson is suspected as a speedboat was seen near the vicinity and something was seen being thrown onto the Pier minutes before it went up in flames.
The ok to rebuild it was only given a few weeks before this happened too......... This definitely sounds like an insurance job or something very shifty to me.
Devils Dyke is is the deepest dry valleys in the world and covers some 200 acres of downland, situated in a deep, dry valley. Created in the Iron Age, folklore says that Devil's Dyke was so named when the Devil got seriously annoyed at the conversion of Sussex from Paganism.
The views from the top are pretty awesome, you can see to the Isle of Wight in one direction and Guildford in the other (both 46 miles as the crow flies).
I took a ride out on a hot July day with the Motorcyclist on his fantasic Harley Davidson past fields of scarlet poppies and through tunnels of trees. You can also take the seasonal open top bus no. 77 there, which runs every Saturday & Sunday during the Summer and daily during the school holidays.
There are picnic areas, fantastic walks, a pub that serves food and plenty of space for all. Many people take kites up there and there is also a golf club. It's also worth taking a jacket even on a hot day, as the weather can change 'just like that' (said in a Tommy Cooper voice) ; )
Worth the trip.
If you have a few hours free on a sunny afternoon then it's worth visting Rottingdean for a few hours.
Rottingdean is a village west along the coast from Brighton. You can take a bus from old Steine or the seafront just west of Palace (aka Brighton) Pier.
It used to be a haven for smugglers but it's a sleepy place these days. You get a nice feel of old England if you want a break from cosmopolitan Brighton.
Rudyard Kipling (who wrote the Jungle Book and 'If') lived there and by his cottage there are some nice gardens you can visit. Treat yourself to tea and scones before heading back!
The west pier was always seen as the more upmarket and superior sister to the West or Palace pier. It's interiors were such that it was graded as a Listed category one building. Quite how this helped in practice is unclear - as the rump of rusting spindly ironwork some meters out to sea is all that is left.
It's clearly visible anywhere along the seafront, but how long this will continue is anybody guess. Apart from triggering memories in those who knew the pier in better days (long before my time) it could be best described now as no more than "a danger to shipping".
When I can find out the name of the street where I saw this amazing graffiti I will let you know :)
Ok... found it... Kensington Street, North Laine. Discovered it whilst Christmas shopping in the Laines. Its from the "Graf Jam 2006".
The South Downs go on for miles and miles, they are a really beautiful sight to see. You used to be able to see so much more of these when I was younger. Any coach trips would always meander through all of the little back roads and country lanes. But I guess that they are trying to preserve the beauty as much as they can now for future generations? let's hope they appreciate it too.
This is the view looking out of the front window from out of the car.
Go to the devils dyke. It's quite common for dog walkers to stroll up there but never the less is a peacefull place to go with some lovely scenery. Only a few miles from the bussle of the city, you can walk into the hills and valleys, stop off at a remote pub for lunch and enjoy the Sussex countryside, without feeling lost or well out of the city to get to it. Not for people with mobility problems though as some of the hills are so steep, although you can get to it by car and enjoy the pub lunch with some superb views across the dyke, without actually venturing down into it. The A27 is the bypass that runs all the way along from Lewes and Eastbourne, past Brighton, Hove and up to Worthing and so on. Get on that bypass and follow the signs as you near the turnings for Hove.
Near Brighton are some beautiful, charming villages such as the village of Rottingdean. Rottingdean is a very small village, with only a population of about 2000. It's a wonderful place for peaceful walks, looking through its bookstores which describes its history, and has some wonderful places where you can have a cuppa (cup of tea). Also near Brighton (4 km away, or 30 minutes by bus) is the village of Falmer with its gorgeous countryside (in the spring, you will see cows in the hillside!), ponds, and quaint houses. Falmer is also home to the University of Sussex. Don't be afraid to leave Brighton and explore the tiny adjoining villages! Both Rottingdean and Falmer are served by buslines from Brighton.