Once a residence of smugglers, writers, artists and more, you may find yourself imagining yourself as an 11th-century pirate. It’s just a quick journey from London’s St. Pancras (by way of Ashford International railway station) and is the perfect short getaway (click here to read about another day trip from London). You may recognize one of its world-famous cobbled streets, Mermaid Street, where you will find the Mermaid Inn. You won’t want to miss the medieval buildings and the hilly passageways.
Related: My 3 Day Guide to the Cotswolds
Arriving on the 9:37 train from St. Pancras, we made our way down Rye’s high street to drop off our luggage at our home for the evening, The Rye Lodge Hotel. As the summer months are the towns busiest time, our room wasn’t ready so we made our way to Fletcher’s Tea House to escape the rain and fill our bellies with afternoon tea and a crab sandwich. Just around the corner, you will find St. Mary’s church (visit Ypres Tower for views over Rye) and Simon the Pieman (go for some jam and scones).
Making our way past the back of St. Mary’s Church we stumbled upon Lamb House and unintentionally came upon Mermaid Street and the Mermaid Inn built in the 11th century. Our final stop before checking in was The Rye Castle Museum where you will learn all about Rye’s history and browse its many historic artifacts. The volunteers who work there are very friendly and knowledgeable.
Related: A Guide to A Day Out in St Albans
Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a swim and sauna in the ‘Venetian Pool’ before heading out to dinner for some Fish and Chips. There are plenty of fish and chips and tea rooms on the high street. Our favourite was The Catcher in the Rye because the head cook Christos cooks your meal fresh when you order, using very fresh oil and batter, and never refreezes the fish stock. You can really taste the freshness. It was a pleasure speaking to Christos during our meal, as he is so friendly and humorous. He even talked us through his cooking process.
We ended our evening enjoying a drink or two at the Mermaid Inn next to the giant fireplace in the bar.
On Day #2 we took advantage of our complimentary breakfast at our hotel, checked out and decided to explore more of the high street shops and reveled in the afternoon tea at Cobbles. This was my favorite afternoon tea as the tea was fresh, loose leaves. It included a sandwich, scones and a generous slice of cake for £10 (!). The weather was much better on the second day and we thought about heading to Rye Nature Reserve but decided to relax at the hotel until it was time to take our train back to London. Sonny enjoyed his white hot chocolate from Knoop’s Cafe, which sells the best hot chocolate and milkshakes in Rye, and is based just across the street from the hotel.
Related: A Weekend Travel Guide to Ramsgate
Brunch/Afternoon Tea Options:
Simon and the Pieman
The George in the Rye
St. Mary’s Church
The church is open daily 9 am – 6 pm (4 pm in winter). Admission is £4
Open 7 days a week March 30 – October 31: 10:30 – 5:00
The Rye Castle Museum
10.30 until 17.00.
Catcher in the Rye
George in the Rye
The Mermaid Inn
If you have time I would go to Camber Sands during the day
High Street Shops and wander around town
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Rye Harbour Nature
The number 312 bus will take you from the town centre to the nature reserve at Rye Harbour (purchase a bus pass online when booking your ticket to get a discount)
Bike ride from Rye to Lydd (ryehire.co.uk)
Sedlescombe , Gusborne, Carr Taylor and Chapel Down Vineyards