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Rye (East Sussex)

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Rye is a town in East Sussex.

At the 2011 census, Rye had a population of 4,773. Its historical association with the sea has included providing ships for the service of the King in time of war, and being involved in smuggling. The notorious Hawkhurst Gang used its ancient inns The Mermaid Inn and The Olde Bell Inn, which are said to be connected to each other by a secret passageway.

Get in[edit]

Rye on a rainy afternoon
A typical Rye street

By train[edit]

Trains run directly 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 [4].

Get around[edit]

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][add listing]

The docks by the river; Rye Castle (with Ypres Tower). 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- tearoom invites to cream tea.

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

Do[edit][add listing]

Visit the Rye Heritage Centre, [5], an ideal introduction to the town bringing together the story of Rye set within the famous Rye Town Model sound and light show. Also offer walking tours and gifts typical to the region. 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 visitors for the last 15 years. Get locked in in one of its small, dark cells!

Rye is a local commercial centre for the Romney Marsh and Walland Marsh areas, as well as being a tourist spot. Rye Farmers' Market takes place on Strand Quay every Thursday morning. Rye has a well-established reputation as a centre for shops trading antiques, collectors' books, and records, and has many art galleries selling works by local artists and potters with changing exhibitions throughout the year.

Rye's general weekly market takes place on the marketplace car park by the station every Thursday. Until the foot-and-mouth disease crisis in 2001 (which closed all livestock markets in England), livestock sales were held frequently at Rye.

Rye Castle Museum is located on two sites, on East Street and at the Ypres Castle. One of the tourist websites includes a picture tour of the town. Rye Art Gallery was established as a Trust in the early 1960s. Located at 107 High Street, it provides a focus for contemporary visual art, which it exhibits alongside heritage artworks from its permanent collection.

Rye also stands at the centre of a network of nature reserves, some of national importance. The Rye Harbour lies to the south and includes the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

The neighbouring Pett Levels and Pools, and the Pannel Valley nature reserve are accessible via Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach a few miles to the west, whilst Scotney Lake lies just off the Lydd road and the RSPB reserve at Dungeness lies a few miles further to the east with the Bird Observatory located in the old lighthouse.

The recent redevelopment of the Rye wharf for the RX fishing fleet has provided modern amenities for the landing and storage of fish. Most is sold wholesale through the regional market in Boulogne, though there is a trend for Rye to develop as a gastronomic centre in the style of Newquay or Padstow, featuring the use of fresh local produce from the sea. The annual "Rye Bay Scallops Festival" which takes place each year in February was first proposed by the then Chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Kate Roy, as a means of promoting the "Rye Bay Catch". Excellent scallops (and flatfish such as sole, plaice and dabs) are to be had in Rye Bay because of the shallow and relatively sheltered water.

Every year in September, Rye hosts its annual two-week "Arts Festival" which attracts a world-class series of performers in music, comedy, and literature.

On the second Saturday after 5 November, the "Bonfire Boys" stage their annual torch-lit parade through the streets of the town, supported by visiting Bonfire Societies from all over the Sussex Bonfire Societies Confederation. This is followed by a "gurt 'normous bonfire" where the chosen "effigy" of the year is ceremoniously blown up, and a spectacular firework display. This event typically attracts over 10,000 visitors to the town, and results in the town's roads, and the main roads to London, Hastings, and Ashford, being clogged up and closed to traffic from the early evening onwards.

Buy[edit][add listing]

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][add listing]

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

  • The Gandhi Tandoori (Indian)
  • Simply Italian (Italian)
  • Landgate Bistro (French)
  • The Standard Pub (English)
  • Kettle O Fish (Fish & Chips, English)

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Bedford Arms 91 Fishmarket Road, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7LR [+44 1797 224867]
  • The George Inn As the main coaching inn in Rye, The George Tap has long been the popular drinking venue in town. They serve 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. Address: 98 High Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7JT [+44 1797 222114]
  • The Standard 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. The Mint, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7EN [+44 1797 223393]
  • The Union Inn Traditional 15th century pub with wooden beams and a cosy relaxed atmosphere. Allegedly 'the most haunted inn in historic medieval Rye'. 8 East Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7JY [+44 1797 222334]
  • Ye Olde Bell Inn 33 The Mint, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7EN [+44 1797 223323]
  • The Ypres Castle Inn 17th century weather-boarded pub with live music on Friday nights. Four real ales and a boules pitch. Views of the River Rother. Address: Gun Gardens, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7HH [+44 1797 223248]
  • Cinque Ports Inn 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.
  • 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

  • Strand Quay
  • The Hare and Hounds Main Road, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7ST [+44 1797 230483]
  • The Queens Head 19, Landgate, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7LH [+44 1797 222181]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • The Hope Anchor Watchbell St Rye, East Sussex TN31 7HA United Kingdomm +44 1797 222216, [6]. The Hope Anchor is a mid 18th Century Hotel built at the end of one of the most delightful streets in Rye.
  • Pontins Camber Sands, New Lydd Road, Rye, [1]. Traditional seaside resort with facilities including play area, bar & restaurant and swimming pool. The resort offers a wide range of attractions and non-stop fun. Camber Sands can offer an unique combination of miles and miles of unspoilt sand dunes with loads to do in the day as well as the evening. From £59.  edit
  • The Place at the Beach New Lydd Road, Camber, TN31 7RB +44 1797 225057, Fax: +44 1797 227003, [7]. Overlooking the dunes, the Place at the Beach is uniquely located a hop and a skip from one of the most dramatic white sandy beaches on the South Coast – Camber Sands. Rooms from €75.
  • One Life Escapes Holiday Cottages, [2]. Two beautifully finished luxury holiday cottages on the South coast of England, each stylishly presented with modern and contemporary finishes.  edit
  • Cliff Farm B&B, [3]. , Iden Lock, near Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7QDA. 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!  edit
  • The Old Borough Arms, The Strand, 01797 222128. On The Strand at the foot of Mermaid St is The Old Borough Arms with 10 letting rooms,delicious breakfast included.  edit

Get out[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 bicycle from Rye is the beach town of Camber Sands [8] 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.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article [9], which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0