BONNE BOUCHE: SWEET DREAMS!
When surveying the small but perfectly formed Bonne Bouche chocolate shop, the word that immediately springs to mind is 'dinky'. For the shop is so small and sweet - no pun intended - that passing potential customers automatically feel drawn to stroke and adopt it. Although is it hardly big enough to 'swing a cat', one could get away with swinging a succession of chocolate mice. The shop has been in Lewes for a good many years now and chocolates, whether home made or intriguing nibbles from abroad, are the order of the day. Lots of interesting little items that ordinary confectioners just don't stock but best of all you can nip in during Summer and buy a home made ice cream. Quality rather than quantity on a stick is what were taking about here - fresh fruit purées combined with cream etc - absolutely superb! The strawberry ice is a particular favourite but frankly I haven't tasted an ice cream of theirs I haven't liked. The owners run the shop but they are not for sale. It's the lady who often 'mans' the counter and in spite of everything looking wonderfully British, rather intriguingly I do believe she's American! Thankfully she doesn't stock Hershey's chocolate...
What to buy: Buy chocolate. Buy ice creams. Buy diet book. Buy elasticated trousers.
What to pay: As much as your waistband can take!
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
MARSTON BARRETT LTD: A JEWEL OF A JEWELLERS!
Established by Mr Marston Barrett in 1938, this is a delightful old firm which has splendidly old fashioned premises stocked with jewellery, silverware, clocks, watches and some antique pieces too. You'll have to push a buzzer before being allowed to enter within but don't be put off. Service is friendly and oozing with assured professionalism. I've always found them to be both charming and helpful. Expensive? Well yes but a few years ago a regional tv jewellery valuation survey was carried out covering some Brighton and Lewes dealers. It found Barrett's to be the top of the lot when it came to honesty. One word of advice for those visiting Lewes from a base in Brighton - if you are in search of antique jewellery be a little cautious when shopping in the Lanes a this is a bit of a tourist trap and you'll often find prices that are stepped up accordingly.
What to buy: My wife is after an eternity ring...but she is not prepared to wait an eternity!
What to pay: How much do you cherish your wife, hug your husband or pamper your partner?
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Luxury Travel
THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY BOOKSHOP: TOMES AND TIMBERS!
Go on, have a go. Guess how old it is? Dash - you've got it! The Fifteenth Century Bookshop does what it says on the proverbial tin and has had the good grace to date from the 15th century. In truth it wasn't a bookshop in those days - there wouldn't have been much stock if it had. Nowadays it has two rooms full of stock and it leans heavily - and here I'm not just talking about the building - on childrens illustrated books and juvenile literature. There is also a corner with as good a selection of 'Shire books' as you're liable to find anywhere on the planet. Don't inadvertantly slam the door when you go in or the owner will glare at you. Do not be put off, she may not smile much but she hasn't bitten anyone - yet! If you don't feel strong enough then just cross the road and gaze back upon the wonderfully rickety architecture. To be honest this hasn't been helped by the number of buses and lorries that have bashed into the side of the old girl (that's the shop not the owner) on their way up through the town centre. In any case our USA chums will doubtless delight in stumbling across a shop which is older than their nation - although probably more musty.
What to buy: Rupert Annuals, Boys Own volumes, Shire Books and much else besides. Old and antiquarian children's book s a speciality.
What to pay: As much as you need to...
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
ADAMCZEWSKI: DONE AND DUSTED!
*** STOP PRESS. ADAMCZEWSKI IS NO MORE! ***
As of 2013, this repository of fancy brushes etc was finally swept under the carpet, leaving the DFLs of Lewes (that's the 'Down From London's' as the locals call 'em) nowhere -temporarily at least - to buy expensive balls of string. I shall miss them. I'm not precisely sure what they did but I'm glad they did it. As a tribute of sorts I shall leave this review in place. I have little doubt that the stringmakers of the UK are currently weeping into their hearths. As a tribute of sorts I shall leave this review in place for a while longer...
There are any number of lofts in Lewes which play host to crates stuffed full of old toys, unused dumbells and scented boxes enclosing tear stained love letters. But there are - as far as I know - no 'loft apartments'. Yet if there were, the tenants would be flinging themselves out of their Velux windows and beating their way to Adamczewski's. Luckily for this establishment the good citizens of Lewes have long learnt how to be cuttingly-edge trendy irrespective of their type of housing.
In September 2005 the shop has moved further down the High Street into bigger premises that gave it more space - and believe me, space is very important in this shop. I have a special place in my heart for one of their earliest window displays which consisted of a balls of string rtesting on a pale painted background. They were not jesting - these balls of string were for sale. That being said, I don't think they were ever intended for use. For quiet contemplation and artistic display most certainly. One ball would not be enough. But for wrapping and 'stringing' things up with - no! That wasn't the point.
Don't get me wrong. I love this shop and delight in the inconsequentiality therein. I am in awe that someone can make a living selling everyday items that are stocked principally for their aesthetic beauty. Believe me, you will not find a nicer dustpan and brush in the entire universe. It is a restful shop. Good for those soothed by white, off white, oatmeal etc. I am and I feel you should be too.
*** DON"T GO! IT"S NO LONGER THERE!! ***
What to buy: Be warned! Walk 'round Adamczewski and you will come away bearing ivory bars of soap, boxed teapots and....balls of string.
What to pay: How long is a pice of string? (..'er, but don't go unravelling one of the balls to find out!)
- Luxury Travel
- Arts and Culture
LANSDOWN HEALTH FOODS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Unsurprisingly, Landown Health Foods does what it says on the tin - it purveys all manner of wholesome foods to the good burghers of Lewes. To be honest, they are the only sort of burghers likely to be allowed in here. The Major can often be seen wandering amongst the pesticide free pineapple juice and eco friendly washing up liquid busily persuading his dear wife that a stick of organic liquorice just cannot be as evil and fattening as the ordinary sort. She is seldom convinced but kindly relents! For those of a more savoury peckish persuasion the shop also sells fresh bread, organic vegetables and a goodly selection of savoury pies, cakes etc. Vegans and veggies most certainly catered for...the organic meat eaters amongst us must hide both our shame and our pork chops.
What to buy: Anything wholly wholemeal and wholesome...
- Food and Dining
Covered market: Antiques/flea markets
Lewes has quite a few antiques shops and second-hand stuff shops. You can find anything, from cheap tacky things (see picture) to expensive antiques.
What to buy: You take your pick.
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