Ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK, there’s a lot to like about the Sussex town of Lewes. It’s a place famous for its bonfire celebrations that bring colour and vibrancy to the area. Lewes is also well known for its history of radicalism and creativity. Today, it’s filled with charming homes, a strong sense of community and plenty to do and see.
In this guide, we’re spending some time in Lewes to discover everything from its homes to the history of the town and everything in between.
A brief history of Lewes
Back in 1772, Lewes marked its name in history as a place of radicalism. Thomas Paine published The Chase Of The Officers Of Excise in an effort to get better working conditions and salaries. After his actions were rebuked, Paine headed off to America, inspiring the American and French revolutions. So you can probably thank Paine for hotdogs, yellow taxis and other bits and bobs of Americana.
Where is Lewes?
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, right in the middle of South Downs National Park. It’s located just under 10 miles from Brighton and 68 miles from London, with its proximity to the capital making it a popular commuter town for many.
Moving to Lewes
The old centre has a selection of grand homes, while Southover and Pells are recommended for their Georgian homes and properties from the 18th century. Wallands Park is located in the suburbs and features Victorian and Edwardian homes.
Buying in Lewes
The average house value in Lewes is £584,703, with paid prices actually lower at £534,200. Expect to pay around £777,371 for a detached home, £443,154 for a terraced house and £274,892 for an apartment.
Lewes property prices are considerably higher than the UK national average of £251,000. Over the last 12 months, house prices have increased by eight per cent and by 15 per cent in the last five years.
There’s a varied selection of estate and letting agents in Lewes, with chain and independent options available to help you find a home.
Renting in Lewes
One-bedroom homes rent for an average of £885 per month in Lewes, with two-bedroom properties fetching in the region of £1,050 per month. For larger homes, expect to pay an average of £1,200 per month.
Cost of living
If you’re moving to Lewes, you can expect to pay slightly higher UK national average prices when it comes to everyday living. A meal for one person is around £20, £8 more expensive than the UK average. A cappuccino is about £2.85, and one litre of milk is £1.00p.
Utility bills are also more expensive than the nationwide average: electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal cost an average of £175 (UK average £155). Broadband is about £27 per month.
Life in Lewes
Living in Lewes means you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere found day-to-day in this market town. Plus, you have local beaches and the sweeping surroundings of South Downs National Park right on your doorstep.
Visit South Downs, a range of chalk hills extending across the south-eastern coastal counties and wander the open spaces. Or head to the beach at Brighton and enjoy a day lazing away under the sun during the warmer months.
The architecturally impressive Lewes train station has six services to Brighton every hour, as well as direct journeys to Gatwick Airport and London Victoria. Motorists will enjoy convenient access to the A27 road.
As a market town, there is a range of regular markets in Lewes, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade items. There’s also a good mix of independent boutiques and high-street favourite shops.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to pubs in Lewes, with The Dorset and The Lewes Arms the pick of the bunch. There’s also international cuisine at restaurants like Thai spot Erawan and Rustico Neapolitan.
There are a few pubs and bars that stay open until late in Lewes. However, Brighton is your best bet if you’re after a night of partying with venues like Brighton Coalition and Shooshh, which puts on several themed nights throughout the year.
Art & culture
The Star Brewery Gallery hosts a range of exhibitions from local artists and people from further afield. There are also plenty of music venues in Lewes, so you can watch local talents perform at places like Elephant and Castle.
Things to do
The annual Lewes Bonfire Night is legendary, with the town turning into a place to party with a carnival atmosphere. If you’re looking for something slightly more low key, head to the medieval Lewes Castle to soak up some history.
What’s not to like?
Lewes isn’t cheap, with house prices considerably higher than the UK national average.
Who lives there?
Lewes has a population of just over 101,000 and a median age of 45.
Typical broadband speeds
The average broadband speed is 51mbps in Lewes, which is slower than the UK national average of 67mbps.
Crime rates in Lewes average 6,228 per year and are lower than the national average of 10,000.
Moving to Lewes?
Want even more information about moving to Lewes? Get a Move iQ property report, which provides in-depth information on any property in this town in Sussex. All you need is a postcode – and you can get to know the area before you move there.
Last Updated: October 8th, 2021