Lewes is a town in the Lewes district of East Sussex in South East England. It is the county town of East Sussex. Lewes is situated in a gap in the South Downs, through which runs the river Ouse. It is approximately 16 km. (10 miles) from the city of Brighton and Hove. To the east of the town the downs rise sharply forming a large chalk cliff that can be seen for many miles — the adjacent part of the town is known as Cliffe. The southern part of the town is known as Southover. The Greenwich Meridian runs through the western part of Lewes.
The name Lewes comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "Hlew", which means "Hill". The town is indeed largely built on a hill. The town was the site of the Battle of Lewes in 1264. It is the County Town of the historic county of Sussex. Lewes District covers an area of 292 km, much of which forms part of the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Around 14.5 km (9 miles) is coastline. Half the District, including the historic County town of Lewes, is proposed to be included in the South Downs National Park. The District comprises a large rural area and five main towns – Lewes, Peacehaven, Telscombe, Newhaven and Seaford most of which are located along the southern coastal strip. There are 28 parishes in the District.