LEWES, the county town of East Sussex, straddles the River Ouse as it carves a gap through the South Downs on its final stretch to the sea. Though there’s been some rebuilding, the core of Lewes remains remarkably good-looking: replete with crooked older dwellings, narrow lanes – or “twittens” – and Georgian houses. With numerous traces of its long history still visible, some of England’s most appealing chalkland on its doorstep and the Bloomsbury Group’s country home at Charleston close by, Lewes is a worthwhile stopover on any tour of the southeast – and an easy one, with good rail connections with London and along the coast.

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