With quaint medieval and Georgian houses lining winding cobbled streets, Rye is one of the most complete medieval towns remaining in England today. A renowned centre for antiques and art galleries, you will find historic buildings, such as Rye Castle and Lamb House, open to visitors. Climb to the top of St Mary’s spire for spectacular views over the town and estuary beyond. Shopping in Rye is a delight! Rye has retained many small family owned businesses, and so you will find unique gifts and fashions here as well as many specialist shops unique to the town.
Rye has an exceptional choice of good cafes and restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. Light refreshments can be taken in oak-beamed cafes or ancient inns, beside a roaring fire in the winter. Restaurants in Rye serve many local dishes including Romney Marsh lamb, and fish freshly caught by the fleet of little fishing boats which are moored on the river. A town for all seasons, there is always plenty to see and do in Rye!
No town in England captures the atmosphere of medieval England more than Rye with its cobbled streets and picturesque Tudor and Elizabethan period houses which have been lovingly preserved over the centuries. Rye is the perfect place for a peaceful and relaxing stay – a totally different world from the noise, bustle and stress of modern life in the cities.
Ancient Rye, crowned by its 12th Century Parish Church of St Mary’s which is reputed to be one of the finest examples of a medieval church square, in the days when the church was the social centre of the town and played the part of Town Hall, Civic Centre, Social Security Office, etc., all rolled into one.
Rye, in ancient days, was once entirely surrounded by sea, its only link with the mainland at high tide was the Land Gate, one of the finest relics in the south of England, which still stands to this day only a few yards from Rye Lodge Hotel. Although, now some way from the coast, Rye is not completely landlocked. The fishing fleet moors on the river Rother estuary just below Rye Lodge and fresh fish from the boats each morning ensures that the famous Rye Bay Plaice is always on the menu at one of the many fine local restaurants. Rye is a paradise of medieval and Georgian houses lining quiet cobbled streets, including the world famous Mermaid Street with the famous Mermaid Inn (rebuilt in 1420) home of the smugglers of times past and the infamous Hawkhurst Gang.
Rye is, and has been for many years, a haven for artists and writers. Henry James, E.F. Benson, G.K. Chesterton, H.G. Wells, all have links with the town. Many artists capture the charm of Rye in oils or water colours and these paintings are on show at the many art galleries in the town.
Rye is also famous for its pottery and there are still working potteries within the town. Pottery from Rye is exported throughout the world.
Rye Castle with its 13th Century Ypres Tower was at one time the town’s prison but now houses the town’s museum and visitors can spend a fascinating hour or so looking at relics of the past. In contrast the modern, recently built Heritage Centre by the river on Strand Quay houses the Town Model which shows the town as it was a century or more ago. There are sound and light shows about the history of the town for visitors to watch and the Heritage Centre also houses the Tourist Information Centre.
Many thanks to Clive Sawyer Photography for letting us use some of his copyrighted photogaraphs.