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Rye

TN31 7JY
Mermaid Street in Rye town showing cobbles, pubs and timber-framed houses

About

A medieval citadel huddled against invaders and the sea, Rye reveals its history gently. Today it’s home to a myriad of art, curiosities and cosy pubs, as well as modern boutique hotels and contemporary restaurants serving the best Sussex has to offer, from land and sea. Built on smuggled secrets and timeless tales, Rye has nooks and crannies to explore and distant views across Romney Marsh to ponder.

One of the best preserved medieval towns in England, Rye is home to the enchanting cobbled Mermaid Street, the impressive Norman church of St Mary’s, a rich selection of  specialist shops and a thriving fishing fleet. The famous Mermaid Inn was once the haunt of notorious smugglers, the Hawkhurst Gang. Camber Castle, built by Henry VIII is located in the dramatic Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Rye was once surrounded on three sides by the sea and its maritime heritage dates back to Norman times. To defend it against frequent attacks from the French, Rye became an ‘antient town’ of the powerful Cinque Ports Confederation. Visit the Rye Museum which has sites at East Street and the Ypres Tower, the second oldest building in Rye open to the public, built in the early 14th century and part of the town's defensive walls. 

Take time to discover its architectural treasures and narrow passageways. Climb the tower of St Mary’s Parish Church for fine views to  Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and the beautiful hilltop town of Winchelsea, with its maze of medieval wine cellars.

Rye has always been a magnet for writers and artists. Lamb House, a National Trust property, was once the home of Henry James and later E.F.Benson, creator of the Mapp and Lucia books.  The artists Paul Nash, Edward Burra and Captain Pugwash creator, John Ryan all lived in Rye. Today a wealth of art and photography galleries thrives in the town.

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What's Nearby

  1. Sometimes called the "cathedral of East Sussex", the Parish Church of Rye, dedicated to…

    0.04 miles away
  2. Early Georgian house and walled garden, home of writer Henry James and later of E F…

    0.1 miles away
  3. A brand new, state-of-the-art 2-screen cinema, café-bar and function venue has opened its…

    0.16 miles away
  1. Many displays on smuggling, military, police, coastal and maritime history and with…

    0.16 miles away
  2. Magic, Monsters and Mystery are all here in this unique immerse interactive family…

    0.17 miles away
  3. Not just a model, but a complete sound and light show that brings the history of Rye…

    0.18 miles away
  4. 3 East Street site - it now houses exhibitions from Rye's history including its unique…

    0.2 miles away
  5. Camber Castle was one link in the chain of forts built along the south coast by Henry…

    0.99 miles away
  6. Large coastal nature reserve with a vast array of wildlife. Network of footpaths leading…

    1.26 miles away
  7. This stunning stretch of sandy beach is home to the only sand dune system in East Sussex.…

    1.63 miles away
  8. A small local museum with exhibits on the ancient town of Winchelsea, the Cinque Ports…

    2.02 miles away
  9. Ebikes and pedal cycle hire in Camber Sands. Camber sits on the National Cycle route…

    2.69 miles away
  10. Kitesurfing, kite buggy and paddle boarding courses. British Kitesports accredited school…

    2.69 miles away
  11. A family run, single wine estate producing sparkling wines. The vineyard sits on a bed of…

    2.72 miles away
  12. The largest organic vineyard in the UK, Oxney is 17 meters above sea level in a warm and…

    4.68 miles away
  13. Mallydams Wood looks after thousands of wildlife casaulties each year therefore, because…

    5.99 miles away
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