Lewes Castle & Barbican House Museum

East Sussex

Now little more than a set of ruins, this castle was built shortly after the 1066 Norman invasion. It never saw warfare, but there were riotous celebrations following the navy’s victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, when happy citizens blew great chunks out of the castle’s walls. They left enough standing for it to remain an impressive sight though, and its windy keep, visible for miles around, affords panoramic views across the town and beyond.

The attached Barbican House Museum has a good collection of Lewesiana, but the star attraction is the incredibly accurate town model, glued together by an army of volunteers in the mid-1980s and showing how the town looked a century earlier. Viewing is accompanied by a 12-minute film relating the homo-Sussexicus’ historical advancement from cavemen to Victorians.

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