I was born in a small village in East Sussex just outside the town of Lewes, which is kinda near Brighton. Growing up Lewes had good stuff… an outdoor swimming pool for the super hot summers of childhood, a dentist who was actually nice. Clothkits where my mum worked and possibly where my love of fabric and making things stemmed from. My best friend Rhiannon and an annual passion for dressing up in crazy outfits and burning things.
Now Lewes has great stuff. Every time I get the train back home I have to spend longer and longer in the town as there’s so many little shops of goodness springing up. I can’t document them all in this post so those below are ones I visited in the hour I had spare waiting for my parents to come and pick me up. I walked from the train station up Station Street and down Cliffe High street (with just a couple of detours)
Lewes has many many antique shops and flea markets, my favourites are The Lewes Flea Market on Market Street, Church Hill Antique Centre on Station Street with the awesome Dancing Fox Vintage – a mix of upcycled goodies, vintage trinkets and the odd handmade gift – and right down the bottom of town is the Tardis like Lewes Antiques Centre on Cliffe High Street
Turn left at the top of Station street and if you’re not distracted by the charity shops (pretty much as good as the flea markets) then the brightly coloured (inside and out) Kings Framers has a slightly random mix of soft furnishings, stationery delights and a full on bespoke framers and interior design service. If I had more walls in my house I would buy more things from this shop.
To me The Needlemakers (or The Candlemakers depending on who you ask) is the place where the renaissance of Lewes began. An old factory (that made needles or maybe candles) restored in the 80’s is now filled with small individual shops selling antiques, books, jewellery and other eclectic goodies. When I was younger I spent ages in Tizzs (now in the highstreet) the bead shop choosing individual beads at 2p a pop and a real treat was having a hot chocolate in the cafe. Downstairs now is Revive-all a rabbit warren of a flea/junk/antique/jumble shop with a lot of fine wartime clothing, memorabilia and books. Many many books…
Working my way down Cliffe High Street I always have time for Wickle. This is the shop where I always end up buying ‘things for my new house which doesn’t actually exist yet’ and ‘props for photo shoots that haven’t happened yet’. Below is what I left the shop with this time.
Totally have a use for a tiny milk jug in the shape of an elephant!
A visit to Lewes isn’t complete without a trip to Bills. What once was a simple greengrocers opposite Argos is now a Lewes institution. Still part greengrocers now it’s also a cafe, restaurant, deli and general store of foodie heaven.
So that’s it, my hour in Lewes, I could have mentioned so many more places like the cute organic and fairtrade kids clothes at Gossypium, the cool calm interiors and clothes of Flint and the kitchen gadget heaven of The Steamer Trading Cook Shop but you’ll have to discover them for yourselves …
So go go go and tell them I sent you (It won’t mean anything and people will just look at you funny)