If you love half-timbered houses, steep, cobbled streets, ancient inns and rustic tea rooms then you’ll love the charming Cinque Ports town of Rye. This pretty medieval town sits in the beautiful East Sussex countryside just two miles away from the coast and is well worth a visit when exploring 1066 Country.

You’ll find heaps of history in Rye. Medieval buildings like the Landgate, Ypres Tower and the tiny castle all have fascinating tales to tell. Ancient inns serve up stories of secret tunnels, smuggler gangs and ghostly sightings alongside excellent wine from a clutch of nearby wineries and excellent local craft beers.

Restaurants, cafes and tea rooms serve a wide range of cuisines and locally produced food. The harbour’s nearby so you won’t get fresher than the day’s catch and Rye sits in the midst of Sussex farming country. Head to St Mary’s Church and climb the tower for views over the town, the countryside and out to the harbour. Or find it in miniatute at the Rye Heritage Centre, alongside vintage amusements.

For nature lovers Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is the place to be with countless bird spotting opportunities and maybe even a seal or two. The new Rye Harbour Discovery Centre is due to open soon. ‘If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air…..’ then the golden sands and dunes of Camber Sands are close by.

When it comes to shopping there are countless independent shops in Rye. From galleries, design, artisan and homeware shops to fashion stores, antique emporiums, bookshops and gift shops.

This is just a small taste of what Rye has to offer. Read more in the full article ‘The best things to see and do in Rye’.

Words and photographs © Suzanne Jones.


Rye Castle (The Ypres Tower)
Rye Castle (The Ypres Tower)

Many displays on smuggling, military, police, coastal and maritime history and with things for children to do! See how Women prisoners were treated in the 19th Century. Open all year round.

Rye Castle Museum (East Street)
Rye Castle Museum exterior in East Sussex

The East Street Museum was originally a bottling factory but it now houses exhibitions from Rye's history including its unique C18th fire engine.

St Mary's Church, Rye
Church / Chapel
St Mary's Church, Rye
The Mermaid Inn
Dr Syn's bedchamber at The Mermaid Inn, Rye

Welcome to the unique Mermaid Inn, rich in history and a reputation for being haunted, 600 years of history and there are so many stories. Cellars dating from 1156 and rebuilt in 1420 with 31 unique rooms to choose from.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Nature Reserve
a photograph of Rye Harbour visitor centre. Wooden and glass structure against a blue sky.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is an important wildlife site set in an exceptional coastal and wetland landscape. It is home to more than 4,355 species of plants and animals including 300 that are rare or endangered.

Rye Pottery Ltd
Rye Pottery

A small contemporary design-led studio and shop, with a big history.

Rye Chocolates
Speciality Shop
Chocolate,Rye, Handmade, 1066 Country, Shop Local, Rye Chocolates

Single-origin, artisan, handmade Chocolate from East Sussex... how did we get here? We first started our little chocolate business in 2016 with a small broken chocolate machine (fondly known as Lilly) from the Welsh valleys. We got to work, curating the best recipes and designs for our chocolate bars, sourcing only the best chocolate from around the world. All we needed was huge enthusiasm, truck loads of creativity and most importantly, a focus to bring quality handmade chocolate to the market.