Lewes: Ticking Filmmakers’ Boxes!

Only an hour’s drive from the M25 and less by train from London, Lewes and its surrounding areas provide the perfect places for filmmaking and photography. We offer a snapshot to whet your appetite… 

Sat on the River Ouse, the town plays host to stunning architecture. Lewes Castle & Museum occupies a commanding position guarding the gap in the South Downs cut by the River Ouse. It was featured in ‘My Dream Home International’ with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Channel 4’s ‘Four in a Bed’ and The Living Coast’s Heritage and Culture campaign in 2021, beautifully shot by the Progress Film Company.

Situated next to the castle, the Barbican House Museum dates to the mid-19th century, with remodelling in later centuries. It’s home to fine archaeological and art collections with authentic galleries and a library. Anne of Cleves House is a 16th century timber framed Wealden Hall House. It features authentically furnished rooms, wooden flooring, exposed timber beams, tile roof and a traditional planted Tudor Garden.

Castle Gate and The Barbican Gate Tower, just off Lewes high street, provide a fantastic backdrop for a production. Anonymous Content filmed off Castle Gate for McDonald’s advert that launched their 2022 Italian themed summer menu. Using the town as a double location for Tuscany, filming also took place at a local vineyard, in a car park and on nearby paths and roads.

Sidney Street TV filmed at Lewes Farmers Market for BBC’s ‘Farmers Country Showdown’ series. Capturing areas of the historical town to supplement the story, the episode followed two families as they sell their produce.

Further buildings in and around Lewes’ traditional looking high street provide fantastic backdrops. Lewes has an 18th century brewery and the local Crown Court off the high street is a Grade II listed property. The classical style building was featured in BBC’s ‘Who Do you Think you Are?’ with Richard Osman when he learned one of his ancestors was caught up in one of Brighton’s most notorious murder trials… Wall to Wall Media filmed a short interview on the road outside the Court with scenes recorded inside too.

In contrast to the traditional features of Lewes, more modern residential areas play host to filming locations. RangaBee Productions filmed exterior shots of an apartment and road in Lewes for the BBC’s sitcom ‘Avoidance’ and Industry Art shot for The Face Magazine with a suburbia/local neighbourhood feel to support the editorial.

Lewes has many picturesque sites in and around its historic town making it a great location for a photo shoot – beautiful countryside with meadows, footbridges and gates. Backed by the Downland hills, the Railway Land Wildlife Trust is a 27-acre nature reserve nestled on the flood plain of the River Ouse. Punch Communications filmed John Lewis’ Wellness Campaign for the Apple Watch on the land by the river. The short film plus stills demonstrate the wearable technology and capture the stunning views as actors complete their hike.

Surrounding areas also offer coastal locations with chalk cliffs and magnificent views. Peacehaven’s under cliff provided the backdrop to Brighton-based rapper Arrdee’s music video for his single ‘War’ released in February 2022. With over 50 extras, horses and 4x4s the large-scale performance piece was captured in a single day shoot:

“It was great working with Sussex Film Office – Kelly and the team were great to work with and accommodate the shoot with short notice. Location was great with good production facilities around.” – Ersan Beskardes, Freelance Producer

Peacehaven featured as a background to The Independent’s interview with GB Kayaking champion Tommy Brady on the benefits of wild swimming. In collaboration with Vauxhall, and to support the editorial, a small crew took to Peacehaven (and nearby Beachy Head) to film Tommy in the water and overhead:

“It was great to work with Sussex Film Office, all the staff were very helpful and friendly. They were able to help us out with tricky locations and in a short time frame as well. The whole process from start to finish was super easy.” – Emily Vincent, Producer

After reviewing various locations across Lewes, SISTER Pictures filmed comedy horror series ‘The Baby’ nearby at Newhaven Beach (and on Beachy Head Road). With a crew of 15 and cast of two, prep and strike was done on the same day with a shoot time of approximately two hours up and along Fort Road.

Lewes and its neighbouring areas provide a range of versatile locations to suit all briefs and budgets – from historical filming to urban photoshoots with the coast, cliffs and countryside nearby. If you’re interested in arranging a recce or want a filming permit get in touch and speak to our team directly. It’s easy to arrange the shoot – booking is quick and easy from point of enquiry to confirmation.