The Rye Area
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.
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.
Near Rye lie Camber Sands, the only sand dune system in East Sussex and renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and safe bathing. Conditions are ideal for windsurfing, powerboating trips, sailing and the ever popular kitesurfing.
Throughout the year, Rye offers a number of festivals for you to enjoy such as the internationally renowned “Scallop Week” in February, the Maritime festival, Rye Raft race and the international Jazz festival, all in August, the Rye Arts Festival in the second half of September, Wild Boar Week in late October, the spectacular Bonfire Parade in November and the Rye Christmas Festival which begins in early December.
With a spectacular combination of coast and countryside that’s scattered with relics and ruins from the past, this area is the kind of place where you don’t just learn about history, you live it. Known world-wide for its heritage, 1066 Country offers visitors a rich historical experience.
The thriving market town of Battle is home to the very spot where King Harold fell during the fateful conflict. The Edwardian seaside resort of Bexhill-on-Sea is the birthplace of British motor racing. Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet can be seen in Hastings and you can also enjoy the picturesque Old Town. Pevensey was the landing point for both the Romans and the Normans.
Rye is a maritime maze of Medieval and Georgian buildings.
If you want to get away from it all, explore 1066 Country’s beautiful countryside with its dramatic coastline, ancient forests, fairytale castles, rich and varied wildlife and cosy country pubs.
Rye Digital Kino
This new facility opened in January 2015. There are 2 screens and a café and bar. This is within very close range of the cottage.
Rye Heritage Centre
A perfect way to discover Rye.
The Rye Heritage Centre and Information Centre provides an ideal introduction to the town bringing together the story of Rye set within the famous Rye Town Model sound and light show. Historic and Ghost Audio Walking Tours are available for hire, with guided ghost tours available on selected dates during the winter months.
The Heritage Centre is host to a fantastic working collection of Old Pier amusement machines, and has a variety of gifts, books and maps.
Rye Town Model
Not just a model, a complete sound and light show that brings the history of Rye alive!
Rye Walking Tours
Personal handsets that take you on a historical or ghostly tour of Rye. Guided tours available on selected dates.
The Old Pier Amusements
Experience the novelty of playing on these rare and beautiful old seaside Pier machines.
The Gift Shop
Visit the gift shop and take a look at a wide selection of gifts, cards and books that are all sure to remind you of your trip to Rye.
Visit the Chapel Down Vineyard near Tenterden
You can buy a tour of the vineyard or buy food in the wine and food store.
The beautiful home of England’s leading premium wine producer, The Chapel Down Winery is situated in the Garden of England near the pretty Wealden town of Tenterden.
Designed and built by local artisans, using the materials used in the winemaking process and set in landscaped grounds, including over 22 acres of vineyards, the winery gives English wine a home to be proud of.
The Wine and Food Store is open to visitors 7 days a week throughout the year from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Visitors are free to stroll in the grounds including the beautiful old Herb Garden (which is licensed for civil wedding ceremonies) and the vineyards. Vineyard maps and trails are also available to collect in store.
Chapel Down has a variety of tasting and tour experiences. You can buy a tour of the vineyard
There is a walking map which takes you on a circular walk from the winery through some beautiful local countryside and back again. The walk is approximately 3.5 miles long and should take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
Contact Chapel Down on 01580 766111 for more details
There are many good family pubs and restaurants in the area. Why not try the Ferry Inn, Stone-in-Oxney? www.oxneyferry.com or their sister restaurant, the Oxney Gourmet Pie and Burger Bar www.oxneygourmetpieandburgerbar.co.uk.
Nearest Travel Links
- Airport: 1 hour 23 minutes from Gatwick: 99 km
- Railway: Rye station: 0.1 km
- Ferry: Channel Tunnel (Folkestone): 32 km
Journey by train from London to Ashford International is now a high speed service which takes 38 minutes.
Ashford International gives easy access to mainland Europe via Eurostar.