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If you’re looking to escape from the city for a day or two, Rye is the perfect weekend getaway. Located in East Sussex, only 2 hours drive from London, and only 15 miles from Hastings, this beautiful, medieval town will definitely help you unwind and recharge your batteries in preparation for the week ahead.
I like visiting Rye every now and then. This little East Sussex Town is nothing like your typical coastal location. Rye is full of independent shops, cafes and restaurant. All hidden in the narrow cobbled streets. Most of the shops are selling local art and crafts. Despite the size, there is plenty to do here. Every time I visit I discover something new. Here is a list of all my favourite things to do when visiting Rye.
10 things that make Rye the perfect weekend getaway
Ypres Tower- other known as Rye Castle, was built around the 14th Century. It was originally built as a part of the town defence wall. The Ypres tower is the second oldest building in Rye that is open to the public. From 1430 the tower was used as a private residence by John de Ypres – hence the name. In 1494 it was changed into prison for smugglers. Unfortunately, the top of the castle was closed to the public, but even from the first floor, we had amazing views of the harbour. As part of our visit, we saw a display of old police uniforms, old cells and played with the swords. We also listened to audio presentations telling us how the prison used to operated. We also visited the Women’s Tower, located in the Castle garden. The ticket costs only £4.00 per Adult || www.ryemuseum.co.uk
St Marys Parish Church– built in the 12th century, this is the oldest building in Rye still open to the public. We discovered the church of by chance when we walked around the streets. I saw it from the outside a few times before but never actually went inside. Despite the small size, the church is full of character. My favourite part was walking up to the top of the bell tower. The view of Rye and the surrounding area is absolutely stunning from there. Absolutely worth climbing up the ladders and squeezing through the narrow corridors. The St Mary’s Church is free to enter, but going up the bell tower costs £4.00 || www.ryeparishchurch.org.uk
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve– instead of your typical pier with 2p machines Rye has a beautiful Harbour. You could easily spend the entire day just walking around discovering different routes, looking at the animals and their habitats. You can also take a little bit of a long walk all the way to Camber Castle, which I am yet to discover myself || www.wildrye.info
Rye Heritage Centre– this is the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about Rye’s history through a replica model of the town, sound and lights effects. If you prefer learning the history out in the field, you can book Rye walking tour. For a little bit more excitement I will recommend renting out the audio tour that takes you on a ghost hunt around Rye. Imagine how much fun you can have, walking around medieval town listening to ghost stories 😉 || www.ryeheritage.co.uk
Lamb House– The Lamb House finally reopened after undergoing a 3-year renovation. Thanks to this, visitors can discover even more parts of the house. In the past, the Lamb House was home to writers such as E F Benson and Henry James. If you like reading, you are more than welcome to sit in one of the rooms and enjoy one of the books written by the previous owners. You can also visit the beautiful gardens where you can enjoy nice afternoon tea and cake in the garden tea room. From outside, the house doesn’t look that big, but you can easily spend a few hours there learning the history and talking to very knowledgeable and friendly staff || www.nationaltrust.org
Rye Landgate– You cannot miss The Landgate when discovering Rye. Part of the original defence wall these 14th Century towers are unfortunately closed to the public. But even looking at the Gate from outside can give you the feel of how the town used to look.
Discover the streets– I really enjoy walking around, looking at the quirky old buildings and looking out for unusual street names. With names like ” Mermaid Street”, “Deadman’s Lane” or “Love Lane” to name the few you can have a lot of fun trying to find the weirdest ones. Or, if you fancy a challenge, here is the list of all the street names you can find in Rye. How many of them can you tick off the list?
Have a drink…or two– Ok, the main reason why Rye is the perfect weekend getaway is for the pubs and restaurant. Not sure about you, but nothing relaxes me more than sitting in a lovely independent restaurant, having a nice meal and a few glasses of vino. Rye is full of little cafes, bars and restaurants. Some hidden away in the narrow cobbled streets. If you enjoy sitting outside and watching the world go by while having a drink, I highly recommend the Waterworks micropub located on Tower Street. The fact that this little pub has only 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor speaks for itself.
Attend Festival– There is always lots going on in Rye, during the year. From scallops festival in February to Art Festival in September packed with exhibitions from local artists. For the entire event, calendar visit www.ryeeastsussex.co.uk
Go shopping– I looove walking around shops in Rye. They all sell unique products you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Even if you are not planning on buying anything its still great fun to walk around. Even my husband doesn’t mind a little Rye window shopping, where normally the thought of walking around the shops he has every excuse under the sun ready – and more.
Rye is the perfect weekend getaway for everyone. Despite the town not being very big, I think you can have so much fun there as a family, but also as a couple on a romantic, chilled escape. If you are looking to discover other destinations close to London, check out my guide to Brighton.
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