The south of England is full of historic sites and most of them are in impeccable condition. One of those sites is Lewes Castle and the old town in East Sussex. Lewes Castle is one of the old Norman fortifications and was defending the southern coast from invaders. William the Conqueror basically wanted to stop others do what he did: invade England. He ordered the construction of various stone castles, including Dover, Hastings, Pevensey and Arundel, among others. What he did was quite simple, he brought over his best pals from Normandy and gave them huge swaths of land but in return asked them to build fortifications.
How to Get to Lewes Castle in East Sussex
There are regular trains to Lewes from London Victoria Station, taking about 1.5 hours each way, direct. The cost of the ticket varies on a daily basis so just check online for your departure date at thetrainline.com website.
Driving here is also very convenient taking the M23 towards Brighton then the A27 direct to Lewes, both of which are dual-carriageway roads.
Visiting Lewes Castle for a Day Trip
Lewes Castle is a pretty good example of medieval architecture and a lot of the walls remain intact. The views from the castle walls are also quite stunning, covering much of the rolling east Sussex hills. If you are in London for a week, I would highly recommend a weekend visit to the south coast, starting in Battle and Hastings and then driving along to Arundel via Pevensey, Lewes and Bramber castles.
Doing this you will learn about the history of the Norman Invasion and why William the Conqueror built these fortifications. The entire trip would take you about a week, spending a day or two at each location.
History of Lewes Castle in East Sussex
William I divided Sussex into five administrative zones after he invaded the English south coast. He granted these divisions to his most trusted companions who were responsible for constructing castles to secure control of the area and to facilitate access to Normandy.
William the Conqueror gave the region of Lewes to his best pal William de Warenne, a Norman baron who had participated in the Battle of Hastings. Warenne owned substantial holdings in Normandy as well as Yorkshire, Surrey and Norfolk.
He started work on Lewes Castle around 1067 to control the Saxon settlement and port. The first castle was an earth and timber fortification. The owners of Lewes Castle rebuilt the structure in stone at around 1100.
This video below will help you check out the place before you visit: