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

Lower Claverham Farm B&B, Berwick

If staying on a working dairy farm sounds like your idea of holiday pleasure, then

Lower Claverham Farm should be your destination. Owner Rachel Rossi, who has run the b and b for 18 years, says guests love waking to the sound of birds and the cows coming in for milking. ‘The cows even come past the house on some days,’ she adds.

This bed and breakfast in Berwick, near Polegate, began as it was an easy option to fit in with being on the farm and at home with two small children, explains Rachel. ‘The boys were three and five when we started,’ she says, adding that, ‘It has been an education for our children meeting so many interesting people from all over the world.’

Lower Claverham Farm offers two rooms in the 16th-century farmhouse, one a double and one a twin. ‘We have an informal approach to guests staying – we treat them as friends not paying guests,’ says Rachel, who finds running the bed and breakfast satisfying, ‘ because many of our guests are now our friends. In fact, last week we got invited to Glyndebourne by guests who have been staying with us for the past 10 years because their friends were unable to attend.’

The farm welcomes lots of visitors to Glyndebourne, which is a 15-minute drive away. ‘Guests can make picnics for Glyndebourne in our farmhouse kitchen.’ Visitors also come to walk in the South Downs National Park, which is just a five-minute drive away, but there are footpaths straight from the farmhouse. Arlington Bluebell Woods are only five minutes away too by car. ‘We are close to Charleston, Michelham Priory, Sheffield Park, Herstmonceux Castle, Arlington Speedway, The Clergy House and Anne of Cleves House,’ continues Rachel, all of which attract visitors to the area. Lewes, Eastbourne, Brighton, Seaford are also easily accessible, as are the picturesque villages of Alfriston, Chiddingly and Berwick.

A recent comment from guests staying at the farm is: ‘Love being here and watching the ducks on the pond.’ Sums up the peaceful place that is Lower Claverham Farm.

Brooklands B&B Lewes

Brooklands opened its doors as a bed and breakfast only last month but already it has had guests saying they will back. Owner Moya Burns says: ‘We have truly enjoyed getting to know our guests, who come to Lewes for many different reasons. Many come for Glyndebourne, of course. Some come to walk the South Downs, some to do the Bloomsbury trail, visiting Charleston Farmhouse and Monk’s House, and some come just for a bit of a relaxation and pampering weekend. It has been very rewarding to see our guests enjoy their time here, leaving refreshed and more knowledgeable about Lewes and the area.’

This Grade II listed Georgian house, set in its own garden, is in the historic Southover part of Lewes. Built in 1792, it was originally a wheelwright’s, but now offers two rooms with king-sized beds.

‘We recently renovated the Cleves room to a clean modern style, installing a panelled wall. It has a Victorian fireplace, plenty of storage and a smart TV. What surprises visitors is the very spacious light and airy luxury bathroom with walk-in shower and modern roll-top bath, the window looking on to the garden below.

‘The Rose room is spacious, more traditional in style, with the original broad wooden floorboards. We chose Designers Guild wallpaper and blinds to set it off. It has an adjacent shower room that has just been completed with modern features and walk-in shower but traditional-looking patterned Fired Earth floor tiles,’ explains Moya.

Guests have exclusive use of the comfortable sitting room at any time of day, in which breakfast is also served. ‘We serve full cooked breakfasts to order but also offer lighter alternatives, such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs served with toasted bagel. Another popular option has been French toast made with thick slices of brioche, served with banana and maple syrup.’

Though close to the train station (eight minutes’ walk) and the town centre, Brooklands is ideal for walkers. ‘From just across the road, you can join the ancient track, Jugs Road, which quickly takes you up into open countryside by Kingston windmill where you can see 360 degrees and on a clear day the sea!’ says Moya. ‘You can carry on up onto the South Downs Way and walk south towards the coast, enjoying spectacular views. As keen walkers ourselves, this was very important to us when moving to Lewes. On returning, walkers just need to stagger across the road for a good meal at the lovely and popular Swan Inn. Alternatively, they can walk into the town and select from the very many restaurants and pubs.’

There are plenty of places to visit close to Brooklands. A couple of minutes stroll further down Southover High Street is Anne of Cleves House, the 15th-century building open daily to visitors, with its own café and garden. ‘The house was given to Anne of Cleves by King Henry VIII as part of the divorce settlement,’ explains Moya. ‘She was a canny woman and did better that some of the other wives!’ The substantial ruins of an extensive Cluniac Priory nearby can be explored just off the Southover High Street and Southover Grange Gardens is also close by, with its beautiful grounds. The impressive house, which originally started life in 1572, now operates as a registry office.

Further afield, Moya says, ‘This area is just full of things to do and see. Apart from the stunning coastline, some suggestions are the Bloomsbury Trail (Charleston House, Monk’s House and St Michael’s Church in Berwick) and Alfriston Clergy House, the first National Trust property. The Longman of Wilmington, the strange huge hillside medieval drawing, is just outside Wilmington village near Alfriston.’

The Medieval Castle of Lewes, which was begun soon after 1066 by William de Warenne, is in the centre of Lewes and can be visited daily. Firle Place and Glynde Place, two Elizabethan Manors open to the public in season, are magnificent buildings with grounds. Farley Farm House in Chiddingly, which was the home of photographer Lee Miller and artist Roland Penrose, can be visited on Sundays.

‘As artists, we are keen to keep up with exhibitions and, as well as local Lewes galleries, we are delighted that we have three major art galleries within easy reach. We are regular visitors of The Towner in Eastbourne, with its well curated and unusual contemporary exhibitions, but also enjoy the De La Warr in Bexhill and the Jerwood in Hastings. Brighton, with its many independent galleries and shops, is just 12 minutes by train.’

Moya thinks also worth including in a visit are the local vineyards, such as the Rathfinny Estate near Alfriston, one of the newest English wine producers. This estate organises Winemakers’ Lunch tours and Afternoon Tea tours. Breaky Bottom is five minutes down the road from Brooklands and, here, visits must be organised by prior arrangement. RidgeView Wine Estate and Court Garden Vineyard and Winery are both in Ditchling and give tours.

Lewes Castle Open Air Cinema

A pop-up cinema will be showing films for three nights in June at Lewes Castle. From Friday 23 June until Sunday 25 June, you will be able to watch some great movies under the stars in the beautiful setting of the Gun Garden at the castle.

La La Land will be screened on Friday 23 June, The Grand Budapest Hotel on Saturday 24 June and The Princess Bride on Sunday 25 June. While you watch, you can enjoy a picnic on a blanket or just have a drink from the on-site bar.

There will be a limited number of deckchairs available on a first-come, first-served basis as well as cardboard ‘bumbox’ seating on sale.

Gates open at 7pm each evening. To find out more and to book, visit Tickets will also be available on the night.

What better way to spend a summer evening – worth the trip and a stay so that you can make a weekend of it. Check out Short Stay Lewes properties for your special place.