Rye is a visitor’s paradise.
It is now one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England. So not surprisingly, it offers a unique and rich experience steeped in history.
With a maritime history dating back to Norman times, Rye was the most powerful town of the Cinque Ports, which were created to provide a unified defence against attacks from the French.
Built within a walled Citadel, and amongst its cobbled stoned streets, it has a range of amazing buildings of impressive architectural heritage – from medieval (14th/15th centuries) to later 18th Century and Georgian times.
Among Rye’s many architectural treasures, are Camber Castle (built by Henry VIII), the Norman Parish Church of St Mary’s and the early 14th Century Ypres Tower.
And in the very heart of Rye’s Citadel, in Mermaid Street, lies the renowned 15th Century Mermaid Inn, once the haunt of notorious smugglers including the Hawkhurst Gang.
Rye has always been a haven for writers and artists: The writers - the celebrated Henry James (who lived in Lamb House, now a National Trust Property), and E F Benson (writer of the Mapp & Lucia Books) both lived in Rye. And the artists Paul Nash, Edward Burra and John Ryan (the creator of Captain Pugwash) also made Rye their home.
Amidst its narrow streets, Rye offers a rich choice of traditional teashops, restaurants and pubs, and a host of really interesting specialist shops selling books, antiques and up-to-date fashion, in its smart boutiques. With something for every taste, there is even a wealth of art and photography galleries.
Throughout the year, Rye offers many interesting Festivals:
‘Scallop Week’ (February), Maritime, Rye Raft and Jazz Festivals (August), Rye Arts Festival (September), Wild Boar Week (October), Bonfire Parade (November) and Rye Christmas Festival (December).
Within a few miles of the cottage, you will find the Rye Nature Reserve and the ancient medieval hilltop town of Winchelsea (a fellow Cinque Port).
While Camber Sands, renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, glorious beaches and safe bathing, is only minutes away.
Also nearby, there are even more historical attractions to explore (including the 1066 Country) – Bodiam Castle, Battle Abbey and Sissinghurst Castle & Gardens. Just see our links below.
Without doubt, Rye is the perfect base for a rich and historical experience.