Five Things to do with your Elderly Parents in Lewes, Sussex
If you’re visiting Lewes with your elderly parents, you’ll find plenty to do in the local area. Here are five suggestions of things to do while your there.
- Lewes Castle and Museum
- Southover Grange Gardens
- Anne of Cleves’ House
Lewes, the historic county town of East Sussex, is surrounded by picturesque countryside and a short drive from Brighton and the south coast. If you’re visiting Lewes with your elderly parents, you’ll find plenty to do in the local area, whether you’re just making a day trip of it or staying in town for the week.
With more and more older people opting for live-in care in Sussex, getting away on holiday with your loved ones has never been easier. Time to relax and catch up with your elderly parents and their companion care assistant is a rewarding experience for all, especially since those receiving elderly care can sometimes feel they don’t get much chance for a change of scene. If you’re visiting Lewes and don’t know where to start when planning some afternoons out, here are five great suggestions.
Lewes Castle and Museum
Wherever you are in the town of Lewes, you’ll be impressed by the presence of Lewes Castle. Built by the Normans more than 1000 years ago, the top of the tower has sweeping views over the surrounding countryside.
The Barbican Museum, which adjoins the castle, is home to an extensive collection of archaeological items from the Stone Age through to the Medieval era, and there is also a mini cinema show explaining the history of the town from prehistoric times to the Victorian period.
Like many historical buildings, Lewes Castle is unfortunately not entirely accessible to those with mobility problems. If your loved one is unable to climb the stairs to the top of the tower, there are panels of the panoramic views in the Gun Garden Pavilion. Parts of the museum are also difficult to access, but there are disabled toilets in the shop area.
Home to the world-famous summer concerts, the Glyndebourne Opera House was founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, and built next to their historic country home. Today, around 120 performances are staged here every year, and the opera house attracts around 150,000 people to its concerts and annual autumn tour.
If you’re here over the summer months and have the time it is well worth a visit. Music has been proven to be beneficial for those receiving dementia care, as they often find it has a powerful and emotionally rewarding effect on them.
There is disabled parking which can be booked in advance, and reserved wheelchair spaces in the auditorium for those attending performances. There are also wheelchairs to hire and easy access to all the restaurants and floors of the auditorium. It’s also worth noting that disabled opera-goers and their carer are both entitled to reduced-price tickets.
Charleston is known for being the home of the Bloomsbury Set and today hosts the popular Charleston Literary Festival. Now celebrating its centenary, the house - and its gardens - are displayed as they were when artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant lived here and entertained Virginia and Leonard Woolf and E.M. Forster, among others. The house is fascinating, and the grounds are the perfect place for a gentle stroll if the weather is on your side.
Although the ground floor is accessible to all except for those with larger wheelchairs, access to the first floor is via a flight of steep stairs and may not be suitable for those with mobility problems. You can buy ‘ground floor only’ tickets if you don’t think your loved one will be able to manage the steps to the first floor, and carers are admitted for free. The café and shop are both fully accessible, and the gardens have adapted paths which are suitable for those using wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
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Southover Grange Gardens
Southover Grange Gardens were created in the 16th century and are the perfect place to find peace and quiet during your stay in Lewes. Divided in two by the Winterbourne Stream, the park features impressive ancient trees and beautifully kept formal and wildflower beds, providing a riot of year-round colour.
There are plenty of benches to rest on if your elderly relatives cannot walk for lengthy periods of time, and the paved pathways mean the gardens are easily accessible for anyone in a wheelchair or who needs to use a walking frame or other mobility aid.
Anne of Cleves’ House
This magnificent late-Medieval timber-framed building was part of the annulment settlement that Henry VIII made on his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Henry and Anne were married in January 1540, after the king saw Hans Holbein’s painting of his future queen, but he was so disappointed with the real life Anne that he entered the union reluctantly, and the couple annulled the marriage just months later.
Today, Anne’s house is also the site of the Museum of Lewes History. Outside you’ll find beautiful gardens set out in traditional Tudor planting schemes, as well as a café and Tudor tea gardens.
Due to the age of the building, there is limited access for those in a wheelchair, although the ground floor is accessible and there are disabled toilets.
However long you and your loved ones spend in Lewes, you’ll find plenty of enjoyable ways to fill your time. A change of scene is always beneficial for those receiving live-in or residential care, and after some quality time spent together, your elderly parents will return home feeling refreshed by their stay in Lewes.
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