Rye is a small Sussex town (population in 2011: 4,773) that’s big on history.
There are plenty of tales of smuggling, secret passageways, French invasions (as the crow flies it’s actually closer to Calais than London), murderous gangs…and more recently of 25 tonnes of pigeon poo having to be scraped off the remaining Landgate.
I was in town for a press trip, to the nearby Gallivant Hotel and Gusbourne vineyard, and while waiting to catch the train back to St Pancras we had time for a quick wander. (Update: I’ve since returned for a real exploratory expedition, check out my post about day-tripping from London to Rye.)
There’s so much incredible architecture and the cute cobbled streets are teeming with independent shops and cafés (plus some amazing-looking secondhand and vintage shops). It’s heaven-on-sea.
Nearby places to visit
We stayed at the Gallivant, a friendly ‘restaurant with rooms’ in Camber Sands; this beautifully bleak stretch of coast just a 5-minute drive from the centre of Rye.
Post-breakfast we headed out for a windswept stroll. The beach was full of people walking their dogs and riding their horses—can you imagine a more idyllic start to a weekend? Nope.
After all that calorie-burning we headed over the Kent border to the vineyards of Gusbourne to sample a considerable amount of delicious English wine, then our little press trip team welcomed a sobering, autumnal lunch in Warehorne’s the Woolpack. This 16th century inn also let rooms, though a car would be recommended.
Sussex, I’ll definitely see you soon!