We recently traveled to the historic and charming town of Rye for a weekend getaway from the city. Rye, is a well-preserved medieval town in East Sussex and is one of England’s best kept secrets. Away from the big crowds Rye offers a perfect weekend getaway whilst still being able to keep safe and maintain distance in the current covid climate.
History and Information: Rye is a small town with a long history that can be traced back to the first millennium CE, when the town was a small fishing village on the water. The town grew into a prominent trading port, and in 1205 was placed under French rule. The English took back control of the region in 1247 under the rule of King Henry III. Rye continued to thrive as a port town. In the 18th-century, smugglers were an important part of the city’s life, and a series of tunnels still remains beneath the city which were used by the smugglers and pirates. Today, Rye is known for its bohemian character and its rich literary tradition.
Rye is situated on a hill overlooking the River Rother and Romney marsh. The physical location means this town has had lots of action over the years including invasions, smuggling, flooding and shipwrecks!
Getting There: Rye is easily accessible by both road and rail. It is about an 1 hour and 50 minute drive from London and just over an hour on south eastern trains from London Bridge Station.
Accomodation: There are lots of accomodation options available in Rye including five star hotels, Air BnBs and quirky places to stay including the Rye windmill.
We actually ended up staying in a beautiful glamping site not too far from the town of Rye called Wheatfields. Wheatfields offers a secluded glamping location, which meant we were easily and safely able to social distance. I would highly recommend looking into Wheatfields if you are looking to glamp close to Rye or Camber. For more information included availability and prices check out their website – https://wheatfieldsglamping.com/
Food: There are a range of different food options in and around Rye including fancy restaurants, cute cafes and cosy coffee shops. There are also lots of vintage little tea rooms and old fashioned sweet shops.
Things to do: There is lots to do and see in the cute little town of Rye. A wander around Rye’s streets and lanes is the first thing you should do. Walking around the ancient, cobbled streets of Rye will make you feel like you have gone back in time. The rows of quaint walkways with historic buildings are a joy to explore. Especially Mermaid Street, which has been voted one of the most picturesque streets in Britain, with The Mermaid Inn originally dating back to 1156.
Most of the shops in the town center are independent with an array of antique stores, gift shops and art galleries to explore.
There are a number of historic sites to see in Rye including The Rye Castle Museum and Ypres Tower. This is a grade 1 listed building that offers far reaching views of the town of Rye. The Women’s Tower, which lies down a small staircase in the garden, acted as the country’s first prison for women.
You can also visit near by Camber Castle and enjoy a guided tour around this historic castle built by Henry VII.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is one of Britain’s most important conservation sites, a coastal landscape of outstanding geological, biological, cultural and heritage value. A large coastal nature reserve with shingle beaches, sandy shores at low tide, grassland, saltmarsh and reedbeds bordering lakes and pools hosting a vast array of wildlife.
Winchelsea Beach and Camber Sands Beach are both a short drive from Rye. Winchelsea Beach is predominantly shingle, whilst Camber Sands is home to a beautiful sand dune system.
Other notable sites include the Parish Church of St. Mary, Rye, also known as the Cathedral of East Sussex, as well as Lamb House, home to American author Henry James who wrote three of his novels whilst living in Rye.
There are a number of activities to do in Rye from pottery to kit surfing depending on your interests and hobbies. A number of events also take place in Rye across the year including the Rye Arts Festival and Rye Farmers Market.
Final Thoughts: Rye offers a great weekend getaway away from the crowds, allowing you to easily and safely distance and explore a cute English town during these strange covid times. If your looking for a safe trip away from London then Rye is a great option.