A weekend in Rye

Our rated picks for a getaway to this cobbled Sussex gem
Mermaid Street, Rye

Rye is undoubtedly one of England’s most attractive towns. Awash with cobblestone streets, its striking timber-framed buildings hint at its rich history, while also hosting a myriad of cosy pubs, modern restaurants and boutique shops.

With the sea just a stone’s throw away too, it has all the ingredients for a restorative weekend away. Here are our rated picks for your visit.

Things to do in Rye

The name ‘Rye’ means ‘at the island’ – as it says on the tin, the town once marked the first island upriver from the sea amid the marshes which, these days, are now drained and mostly pasture.

As you’d expect, the town’s winding streets are made for wandering round. Mermaid Street, with its eccentric house names and the handsome old Mermaid Inn, is the town’s most photographed spot, but Rye will charm you wherever you look. The cobbled area around Church Square is particularly picturesque.

If you’re looking for shopping, Rye won’t disappoint. The antiques and bric-à-brac shops concentrated around the old fishermen’s huts on Strand Quay are perfect for picking up quirky souvenirs, while the shops on the High Street combine traditional town shopping with some lovely independents.

Wander over to West Street where you’ll find Lamb House – American author Henry James lived and wrote here from 1898 until his death in 1916. The charming walled garden here is also well worth strolling around.

Lamb House, Rye

To discover more of the local history, spend an afternoon at the Rye Castle Museum on East Street. The 13th century Ypres tower here served as the town jail for over 400 years. Some of the cells are still open to look round – the public terrace below the Tower offers great views over Rye Harbour.

The harbour itself is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and wonderful to explore on foot. Follow the Lagoons at Rye Harbour route to experience the wide skies, seas and lagoons of this magnificent coastal plain – pack a pair of binoculars too, as the birdwatching here is superb. Keep an eye out for the unmistakable profile of Camber Castle in the distance.

Recommended things to do in Rye

Camber Castle

Lagoons at Rye Harbour (walk)

Lamb House

Rye and Henry James (walk)

Rye Castle Museum

Jeake’s House

Places to stay in Rye

Quirky self-catered stays, picturesque B&Bs, and boutique hotels are amongst the range of accommodation on offer for your weekend away.

Top-rated recommendations

Mermaid Inn

The Gallivant, Camber

Jeake's House

The Quarter House

16 The Boathouse

The Salty Dog & Rock Lobster, Camber

Mermaid Inn, Rye

Where to eat in Rye

From outstanding cooking in a historic smugglers’ inn to delicious seafood sourced from the local port, there’s no short supply of top-rated pubs and restaurants in and around Rye.

Discover top-rated restaurants in and around Rye

The Gallivant, Camber

Mermaid Inn, Rye

Webbe's at The Fish Café, Rye

The Swan Wine Kitchen, Tenterden

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