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Rye is a town in East Sussex that in medieval times was one of the Cinque Ports responsible for England's maritime defence. It stood at the head of a bay, which silted up, leaving the town two miles from the sea. This meant that later industry and development passed it by, so its attractive old town centre has been preserved.

Rye on a rainy afternoon

Get in[edit]

"Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Dover strode, the rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road...." - GK Chesterton

By train[edit]

Trains run directly to 1 Rye station from Ashford International and Brighton with trains to London calling at both stations. Times for trains anywhere to Rye from anywhere in the UK can be found on the National Rail website.

By bus[edit]

There are buses from Hastings and Dover, the timetable can be found here [1].

Get around[edit]

Map of Rye (England)

Rye can be easily explored on foot. However, it may be worth taking the bus to Camber to see the local sandy beach or finding a bicycle to go down Harbour Road to explore the harbour mouth and local bird reserve.

See[edit]

Gibbet Mill

The docks by the river.

Rye also has a 12th-century church, overlooking the town.

The old town town centre is very picturesque with its extreme cobblestone roads (ensure you wear sensible shoes), its many timber-framed houses, and the occasional traditional—though now slightly touristy—tearooms where you can enjoy cream tea.

There are many places which overlook the local scenery, from Rye Castle you can see out to Dungeness. Wind turbines near Rye have changed the nature of the landscape.

1 Rye Castle. Rye Castle (with Ypres Tower). Rye Castle (Q7384956) on Wikidata Rye Castle on Wikipedia

2 Camber Castle (south of Rye along the A259), +44 1797 227784. Open by guided tour (a few days per year) only, see Sussex Wildlife Trust for dates. Adults £3.00, children free, concessions £1.50. Camber Castle (Q2968747) on Wikidata Camber Castle on Wikipedia

3 Lamb House, West St, TN31 7ES, +44 1580 762334, . Henry James, EF Benson and Rumer Godden have all lived in this charming 18th century house. The home is owned by the National Trust. Lamb House (Q6481033) on Wikidata Lamb House on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Ypres Tower
  • Walk around the docks mentioned above, visit the many shops.
  • Climb the church tower to get a magnificent view over Rye and its surroundings.
  • Walk across the meadows to the ruins of Camber Castle (open on summer weekends; check with its owner, the English Heritage).
  • Visit Ypres tower and have a chat with the elderly gentleman who has been keeping it open for visitors for the last 15 years. Get locked in in one of its small, dark cells!

Buy[edit]

Rye has a wide variety of shops, from wool to antiques and from art galleries to tea rooms there is something for most people. There are also several shops which sell local Sussex produce. Most of the shops can be found on the main High Street, although there are also several pleasant shops near the docks.

Rye has a lively market most Thursday mornings selling a variety of goods.

Eat[edit]

There is a wide range of eateries in and around Rye.

  • Food for thought, Wickham Manor Farm, Panel Lane, Winchelsea, +44 11797 225575.
  • The Gandhi Tandoori. Indian
  • Landgate Bistro. French
  • Simply Italian. Italian
  • Kettle O Fish. Fish & chips

Drink[edit]

Old Rye Grammar School, built in 1636

1 Bedford Arms, 91 Fishmarket Rd, TN31 7LR, +44 1797 224867. Bar and games area, as well as a garden overlooking a cricket pitch. Has a reputation as a locals' pub. Real ales available.

2 Cinque Ports Inn, Cinque Ports Street, TN31 7AN, +44 1797 222319. 11AM-11PM. The oldest pub in Rye. Traditional and friendly English pub where you can enjoy the best of Shepherd Neame's real ale, with good lagers and ciders, in a clean and comfortable setting. With restaurant and bed and breakfast accommodation.

3 George Inn, 98 High Street, TN31 7JT, +44 1797 222114. As the main coaching inn in Rye, The George Tap has long been the popular drinking venue in town. It serves real ales, draught cider and continental beers. There is also a good selection of wines by the glass and a healthy representation from local vineyards in East Sussex and Kent.

4 The Standard, 40 The Mint, TN31 7EN, +44 1797 223393. Quintessential English 15th-century inn with large fireplaces and ancient oak beams. The Standard Inn is a traditional pub serving a wide range of drinks including real ales. We also serve light lunches, evening meals and have guest rooms. Beers include Fullers London Pride and Marstons Pedigree.

5 The Union Inn, 8 East Street, TN31 7JY, +44 1797 222334. Traditional 15th century pub with wooden beams and a cosy relaxed atmosphere. Allegedly 'the most haunted inn in historic medieval Rye'

6 Ye Olde Bell Inn, 33 The Mint, TN31 7EN, +44 1797 223323.

7 The Ypres Castle Inn, Gun Gardens, TN31 7HH, +44 1797 223248. 17th-century weather-boarded pub with live music on Friday nights. Four real ales and a boules pitch. Views of the River Rother.

  • Globe Inn Freehouse pub and restaurant in Rye with music nights on Mondays. Harveys is one of the regular beers.
  • Mermaid Inn 15th-century, timbered, pub in the historic, cobbled street surroundings of Rye. Beers include Old Speckled Hen and Courage Best. Accommodation in wooden-beamed rooms with 4-poster beds.
  • The Ship Inn 16th-century inn situated amongst the old warehouses (now antique shops) alongside the river estuary in Rye. Cask beer served straight from the barrel. Provides accommodation.

Other pubs

Sleep[edit]

  • One Life Escapes Holiday Cottages, +44 7884 265348. Two beautifully finished luxury holiday cottages, each stylishly presented with modern and contemporary finishes.
    • 1 The Officer's House, Coastguards Square, Rye Harbour, TN31 7TS.
    • 2 Seakale, Tram Road, Rye Harbour, TN31 7TZ.
  • 3 The Hope Anchor, Watchbell St, +44 1797 222216. A mid 18th-century hotel built at the end of one of the most delightful streets in Rye.
  • 4 [dead link] Cliff Farm B&B, Iden Lock, Playden, TN31 7QD, +44 1797 280331. This is a lovely bed and breakfast just a few miles from Rye. Quite reasonable priced, excellent breakfast and a hilarious hostess that really makes you feel comfortable and at home!
  • 5 The Gallivant (formerly The Place at the Beach), New Lydd Road, Camber TN31 7RB, +44 1797 225057. Small hotel in Californian beach style, except the view is over Camber Sands not Monterey Bay. No children 18 months - 12 years. B&B double from £140.
  • 6 Flackley Ash Hotel, Peasmarsh, TN31 6YH, +44 1797 230651. This hotel offers luxury and comfort. £120.
  • 7 Jeake's House, Mermaid Street TN31 7ET, +44 1797 222828. Beautiful 11-roomed B&B in an ivy-clad 17th C storehouse. No children under 8. B&B double £110.
  • The George in Rye, 98 High St TN31 7JT, +44 1797 222114. Closed through 2020 for refurbishment. Stylish old coaching inn, mosly Georgian but some harking back to Tudorbethan, a stylish blend of antique and modern. Good dining.
  • 8 Hope Anchor, Watchbell St, Rye TN31 7HA, +44 1797 222216. Cosy hotel in 18th century inn with good restaurant. B&B double £100.

Winchelsea[edit]

Go next[edit]

Visit some of the other Cinque Ports, or the Hythe and Dymchurch Miniature Railway. To the west Hastings, Eastborne and Brighton are reachable by direct train.

Near Rye passes the National Cycle Network, and you can hire a pushbike from "Rye Hire" near the rail station (friendly service, bikes in good condition, and come with a lock). Sadly the designated cycle paths are not always well signposted, or consist of paths with quite large rubble; you will have to show some determination. But it's fairly flat ground around Rye (although town centre is on a small hill), so for the non-driver this is an alternative to buses.

Ten minutes drive or about a half hour bicycle ride to the south east of Rye is the beach hamlet of Camber Sands (see discovercambersands.com [dead link]) which has the longest sandy beaches on the south coast of England. It becomes very popular in the summer months when English people take to the beaches in search of sun.

Alternatively, a similar distance to the south west, you'll find the medieval planned town of Winchelsea, with its partly ruined church, ancient gates and walls, and picturesque houses and pub. If you take the tiny "Wickham Rock lane" leading to "Pett lane" going out of the village, you can wind your way through the beautiful local countryside, pass by Sir Paul McCartney's "Hog Hill" windmill studio and end up at Pett Level, a nice stretch of shingled beach overlooked by Jurassic Sandstone cliffs and rock formations of an ancient petrified forest amid the sand at low tide.

Routes through Rye
EastbourneHastings  W UK road A259.svg E  Romney MarshFolkestone


This city travel guide to Rye is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.