Lewes Castle, Barbican House Museum
Lewes, East Sussex
One of the oldest castles in England, built soon after the Norman Conquest, and one of only two in England to be built on two mounds. The unrivalled views over Lewes, the River Ouse and surrounding Sussex Downs National Park are worth the climb up the Keep. Barbican House Museum, opposite the Castle tells the story of Sussex from the Stone Age to the end of the medieval period, and displays include flint tools, pottery, weapons, jewellery and other archaeological discoveries, as well as a model of Lewes in about 1870. Special family sessions on archaeological and historical themes are run throughout the year. The museum is also home to the Battle of Lewes Tapestry which depicts the battle that opened the way for the eventual introduction of representative democracy.
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Discover East Sussex
East Sussex, along with its western counterpart, is packed with interest. This is a land of stately homes and castles, miles of breezy chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel, pretty rivers, picturesque villages and links to our glorious past. Mention Sussex to many people and images of the South Downs immediately spring to mind – ‘vast, smooth, shaven, serene,’ as the writer Virginia Woolf described them. She and her husband lived at Monk’s House in the village of Rodmell, near Lewes, and today, her modest home is managed by the National Trust and open to the public.
There are a great many historic landmarks within Sussex, but probably the most famous is the battlefield where William, Duke of Normandy defeated Harold and his Saxon army to become William the Conqueror of England. By visiting Battle, near Hastings, you can, with a little imagination, picture the bloody events that led to his defeat. East Sussex’s pretty towns such as Lewes, Rye and Uckfield have their charms, while the city of Brighton offers museums and fascinating landmarks, the best-known and grandest feature being the Royal Pavilion.
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