Lewes Flea Market (c) John Stall
Picture it: a relaxed weekend trip, poking ’round a flea market for one-of-a-kind finds, plenty of scenery and locally sourced food. All of that can be found in the pretty town of Lewes in East Sussex. 
 
Since 1992, the Lewes Flea Market (14a Market Street, Lewes BN7 2NB, 01273 480328, http://flea-markets.co.uk) has attracted thousands of visitors thanks to its extensive collection of antique wares. Located in the town’s old Methodist chapel, the market specialises in everything from retro furniture and second-hand clothing to kitschy curios and vintage items. Open every day, the market’s 100+ dealers ensure there are always new bits and bobs to peruse.
 
If you’re journeying down to Lewes, though, don’t rush out of town once you’re done browsing. Instead, stash that perfect side-table or armful of clothing in the back of your Zipcar and see what this ancient town has to offer. From gourmet restaurants to its very own castle, Lewes is well worth exploring.
 
Limetree Kitchen
 
After you’ve spent an hour or two hunting through flea market finds, head to Limetree Kitchen (14 Station Street, Lewes BN7 2DA, 01273 478636, http://limetreekitchen.co.uk), just three minutes away, for a restorative midday meal. Consistently rated as one of the Lewes’ best restaurants, Limetree cooks contemporary, European-influenced food with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Dishes like venison carpaccio with hazelnuts, beetroot and blueberries, as well as local mushroom and white truffle risotto, offer hearty and satisfying cooking. 
 
The Jolly Sportsman (c) Flickr user Betty Snake
 
For a slightly more casual lunch, the Jolly Sportsman (Chapel Lane, East Chiltington BN7 3BA, 01273 890400, http://www.thejollysportsman.com) is a convivial and friendly pub favoured by locals. Just a 15-minute drive away, the Jolly Sportsman is nestled in Sussex’s gorgeous South Downs and helmed by celebrated chef Bruce Wass. While its verdant garden is ideal on sunny days, the pub is also perfect for winter visits, with creative and hearty takes on traditional British dishes, like slow-cooked crispy pork belly with damsons, cavolo nero, and mash.
 
Lewes Castle (c) Flickr user Klovovi
 
No trip to Lewes would be complete without a visit to the famous Lewes Castle (High Street, Lewes, 01273 486290, http://sussexpast.co.uk/properties-to-discover/lewes-castle), and a tour around the landmark is a great way to digest a large lunch. Poised on a hilltop, the castle overlooks the centre of town, and its striking Norman architecture is hard to miss. Over 1,000 years old, the castle was built by the brother-in-law of William the Conqueror, and was the site of a famous battle in the 13th century. Today, visitors can still ascend its tower for a panoramic view of the town and surrounding countryside.
 
Bentley Motor & Waterfowl Museum (c) Flickr user Gidzy
 
To round off your culture-packed day in Lewes, drive over to the Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum (Bentley Country Park, Halland BN8 5AF, 01825 840573, http://www.bentley.org.uk), a quick 13-minute journey up the A26. A diverse site that’s home to a petite motoring museum, a wildlife preserve, house, and garden, it’s an inspiring stop-off for both automotive and nature enthusiasts.  
 
From natural and historic landmarks to high-end restaurants and shopping destinations, Lewes is the ideal day trip destination. Located just an hour and a half outside of London, there’s no better way to get there than with Zipcar.
 
 
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