SHORTSTAYLEWES - news from our Lewes bed and breakfast and self-catering accommodation 

Bright, modern and stylish self-contained ‘apartment’ No 11 is the perfect base for walking the South Downs as well as being just a stroll from the buzz of Lewes town.

This is the fourth year that owner Debra Winter has welcomed guests to her peaceful annexe. Arranged over two floors, there is a king-sized bedroom (which can be arranged as two singles) on the upper floor with an en-suite, while on the ground floor is a large living space – there’s a comfortable sitting area at one end and a small kitchen with dining area at the other end. With its own entrance, it offers privacy and there is plenty of free parking.

‘It’s so quiet and peaceful here – you can lay in bed and hear the birds,’ says Debra. ‘We are just a two-minute walk from the South Downs – there’s a footpath at the end of my road.’ So it’s a perfect location for ramblers and she recommends walks along the top of the Downs to Black Cap and Ditchling, as well as walking to the Blacksmith’s Arms at Offham. ‘They do a great lunch,’ she says.

However, No 11 is also only 15 to 20 minutes’ walk from the centre of Lewes (or there is a bus every half hour) where there is plenty to keep guests entertained. Debra suggests the ‘excellent’ Swan pub, the Pelham Arms, Lemongrass or Aqua for eating out, though with the well-equipped kitchen back at the apartment, guests may just decide to cater for themselves. Debra provides tea, coffee, orange juice and a range of cereals, so breakfast is sorted anyway.

Debra loves welcoming guests to her custom-built annexe. ‘I am on hand all the time as I’m here being a Mum and a hairdresser,’ she explains. ‘I do meet lovely people. Everyone that comes brings something different.’

And where else does she suggest visitors go while they are in the area? ‘Lewes Castle, Glyndebourne is a must and Brighton – that’s very accessible from here. A bus goes from just down the road every 10 minutes to Brighton.’

Short Stay Lewes B&B Accommodation

Kay Andrew has been running Aleberry, her bed and breakfast in the Cliffe area of Lewes, for 10 years. It’s peaceful here in spite of being right in town.

The house has two bedrooms on the first floor, which are called The Malt Room and The Barley Room – a nod to the fact that Aleberry is just a stone’s throw from Harveys Brewery.

‘I moved here because of the convenience,’ says Kay. ‘I’m very central in Lewes, which is great for guests as it means that they can get anywhere. There’s a good bus and train service – you can even get a train to Ashford International from Lewes and Gatwick is only about half an hour away. I also have a parking space in front of the house, which is rare in town.’

Kay’s place is family focussed. There is a king/twin room and a single room with a single hideaway bed and she also has a carry cot, so it’s a perfect fit for a couple with two children and a baby. A child gate and the offer of babysitting for a small charge add to the attraction for families. Equally, it’s a good set up for four rambling friends needing a stop-off, explains Kay. Also on the same floor, is a shared large light bathroom. For families who want to relax at the house in the evening, Kay offers a Family Package with use of her sitting room on the ground floor.

Breakfast is a ‘no frills’ affair, says Kay, which keeps the nightly room rate down. ‘Lots of people only have breakfast because it’s there, so guests can save a bit as I do just cereal and toast.’ However, she will happily do the full English for those who want to really set themselves up for the day, for which she charges £5.

There is plenty to do a short walk from Aleberry’s doorstop, including a visit to Lewes Castle or Anne of Cleves House. Charleston, Monk’s House and Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum are just a couple of the places to visit a short drive away.

Aleberry is one member of the Short Stay Lewes accommodation group. Other Lewes town and village accommodation to choose from includes: Beechwood B&B, Halland; Little Norlington Barn B&B, Ringmer;

White Lodge B&B, Cooksbridge; Amarisa B&B Berwick; The Corner House B&B, Lewes; Murrells B&B, Lewes; Berkeley House B&B, Lewes; no11 B&B, Lewes; Hill Road Studios, Lewes.

Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away so there’s still time to organise something special. A couple of nights away at one of Short Stay Lewes’ luxury bed and breakfasts or studios is a great place to start, whether you want to take time out to relax together, ramble or do a bit of local sightseeing.

If you are looking for something a bit different to celebrate 14 February while you are here, then

The Bluebell Railway is putting on a special Golden Arrow dinner for the most romantic night of the year. You’ll start the evening in the Bessemer Arms, Sheffield Park, with a glass of local Bluebell Vineyard’s rosé sparkling wine and canapes, then climb aboard the train for a three-course dinner followed by coffee and petit fours.

The Golden Arrow Pullman dining train recreates the fabulous Golden Arrow, which once linked London and Paris with the style and panache that made it one of the most glamorous and famous trains in the world. A perfect setting for this intimate evening, the cost of the dinner is £85 a person.

How about setting your hearts racing for Valentine’s Day . . . literally with a day at the races? Plumpton Racecourse has a Monday 13 February race meeting. Spoil your loved one and book the restaurant – a race ticket and three-course meal is £66 per person – or maybe just watch the horses while you cuddle up with a hot chocolate and a panini from one of the stalls.

If dinner at a cosy country pub sounds more like your way of wooing, then The Blacksmith’s Arms in Offham has a special Valentine’s Night dinner lined up. There’s a glass of fizz on arrival followed by shared dishes for the two of you from the menu to rev up the romantic atmosphere.