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New indie cinema in Lewes

More than a movie house, Depot combines films with food, drink and live music in a cool, contemporary space.

I’ve been lucky enough, despite several house moves over the last couple of decades, to live near a series of independent cinemas. I rarely visit a multiplex these days and love the choice of extra lesser-known films you get at independents, the cool design, the live theatre screenings, and less, face it, the bars that let you take your drink into the film. Very civilised.

So, I was excited to learn that Lewes too was gaining a new independent cinema, called Depot, the brainchild of Lewes residents Carmen Slijpen and Robert Senior and run as a charity, Lewes Community Screen. It’s been open just a few weeks, I’ve already been over for a nose (and cake, natch) and was pleased to find it has all the style credentials we’ve come to expect from good indies.

You enter through the lounge/restaurant/cafe area and see the bar almost before you see the box office.

Further in there are friezes on the walls.

Foodwise, they serve breaksfast, lunch and dinner – currently on a cut down launch menu. Breakfast is from pastries and porridge to poached egg and grilled halloumi or eggs benedict with smoked pulled ham hock. Lunch is soup, salads and sandwiches with Flint Owl Bakery bread. For dinner we’re promised the likes of Sussex Blue cheese and crab cake with samphire and lemon salsa or rare breeds meat dishes.

Both the food and drink has an emphasis on Sussex stars so you’ll get for instance Ridgeview and Bolney wines and of course Harveys beer from just up the road. In fact the Depot takes its name from having been an old depot for Harveys and before that the Royal Mail.

Harveys and some rather nice Polenta cake

Every Sunday from 11.00am to 1.00pm Depot puts on a Sunday brunch, with live music with an Americana, jazz, Latin or classical slant,  like the Terry Seabrook piano trio, lead by a member of a UK Latin Jazz band, coming up this Sun 6 Aug.

You could come here just for a drink or a meal but it’s not all about scoffing and quaffing of course. Film-wise, they have the usual latest releases plus extras, like a documentary about social housing with a director Q&A and a discussion of the role of humour in healing, with Dr Khalid Ali following the 13 Aug screening of The Big Sick. There are screenings of live and recorded events from the likes of nearby Glyndebourne and the National Theatre.

Relaxed outdoor terrace with plenty of cover from sun… or rain

It’s a good accessible space too, all on one level. For families, they’ve a weekly screening you can take a baby under 12 months into, plus half-hour shorts to introduce toddlers to the cinema. A weekly film for under-14s will be shown on Saturday mornings at 11.00am plus extra dates in the holidays. Baby change, booster seats and high chairs (for the restaurant not the cinema!) are available. Look out too for extra holidays activities and ask about birthday party packages.

There are up-coming courses too for all ages – get super organised for Oct half term and check 9 – 12 year olds into the animation workshop.

So there you go, plenty of reasons to check it out next time you’re in Lewes, or even to prompt a visit to town.

Depot, Pinwell Road, Lewes BN7 2JS, 01273 525354,


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8 comments on “New indie cinema in Lewes”

  • Mich lorec August 5, 2017

    We visited for the first time to watch Dunkirk. Totally impressed, long overdue and so grateful that someone had the money to invest in a project this size. Lovely building and fabulous atmosphere. Thank you! Mich and Dawn

    • debbieward August 5, 2017

      Exactly. Really looking forward to going back for a whole evening Mich.

  • John Orden September 25, 2017

    Also have to say what a really lovely venue.

    Very highly recommended.

    Great to be able to take a drink into the cinema in a real glass as well 🙂

  • Lerato Umah-Shaylor December 11, 2017

    I really need to visit soon. We go all the way to London for a nice cinema experience. I just remembered seeing this here. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • debbieward December 11, 2017

      You’re welcome Lerato! Good to hear you’ll have a shorter trek in future. It really is lovely x

  • Seagulleo January 29, 2018

    Fantastic addition for Lewes. Seems to be doing really well now it’s cinema ‘season’. 10/10.

  • Nik Millington January 30, 2018

    I rarely go to the cinema anymore the multiplex experience is a nightmare. However having such a lovely place independent too I’ve been there three times. Seating is very species and comfortable and the atmosphere is great. I couldn’t recommend it more. Well done you lot!

  • Lynn Wiseman January 30, 2018

    It’s truly magnificent. Superb piece of architecture, super comfortable cinemas, lovely staff and huge thanks to Robert Senior for having the vision to do it and Carmen Slipjen for really terrific programming.


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